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COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF A ONE DAY CITIZENS FORUM ON COVID-19, SAFE

SCHOOL REOPENING, SUSTAINABLE QUALITY & INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR GIRLS AND
OTHER MARGINALIZED CHILDREN ORGANIZED BY HDI IN COLLABORATION WITH ACTIONAID
NIGERIA ON THE 24TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2020 IN LAGOS
PREAMBLE:

The Human Development Initiatives (HDI) in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria with the
support of Norad organized a one-day Education Stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos State to
articulate issues that may affect persons with disabilities, girls and other marginalized children
in the school reopening plan of Lagos State; and to come up with strategies for supporting a
sustainable free, quality, equitable, inclusive and resilient publicly funded education for all
children.

This meeting held on the 24th of September, 2020 in a conference room at R&A City Hotels,
Ikeja Lagos, and had in attendance a Director from Ministry of Education (MoE), Teachers
Service Commission (TESCOM), a Board member of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education
Board (LSUBEB), representatives from Education Districts (1, 3 & 5), the State Officer of the
Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), the former Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons
with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Civil Society Organizations such as CSACEFA, the President of Deaf
Teachers Association of Nigeria (DTAN), the Chairman of the Association of Sign Language
Interpreters of Nigeria, media, and the Chairman of School-Based Management Committee
(SBMC) from Kosofe.

At the meeting, while the Lagos State Government was widely commended for its outstanding
performance in COVID-19 response especially in the education by leveraging on existing radio
platforms to support children to learn while at home as well as its ongoing efforts in safe school
reopening; however, salient generic issues were raised for the attention of the Lagos State
Government as it concerns sustaining quality of education to be better prepared for future
pandemic and be more responsive to the need of girls and children with disabilities. The
meeting revealed the following among others:

1. Concern over sustainability of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools
and compliance to COVID-19 safety measures and systems put in place by the Lagos
State Government for school reopening;
2. Inadequate data quality to plan and respond to educational emergencies in timely and
efficient manner, especially in supporting the learning needs of children with disabilities,
girls, other poor and marginalized children during pandemic. These children struggled to
partake in e-learning activities during the COVID-19 pandemic;
3. Weak data gathering system for tracking Out of School Children during/after Covid-19,
especially children with disabilities;
4. Weak structure (system and community) for sustaining quality of education;
5. Weak community involvement in education governance evident in the late and
inadequate engagement with critical stakeholders in the public education sector which
excluded parents of children in public schools, recognized associations of persons with
disabilities, and civil society organizations working in the sector during critical planning
for school reopening.
6. Inconsistency between budget and inclusive education policy of Lagos State.
7. Inadequate professional teachers to run inclusive education programme is a setback to
implementation of inclusive education policy in Lagos State;
8. Weak M&E framework to track the outcomes of teachers trained with public funds.
9. The number of subject teachers in public schools is still grossly inadequate especially in
the rural and hard-to-reach areas. This is despite the recent 3,000 teachers’ recruitment
exercise by the Lagos State Government;
10. Concerns about the gaps exposed by COVID-19 in the Lagos State Education Sector plan
and the need to revisit and review the Lagos State Inclusive Education Policy in line with
the current trends;
11. The use of tax certificate as a requirement for enrollment of children to school is
contributing to the number of out-of-school children and will worsen children school
return rate during this period.
Furthermore, issues raised in the past stakeholders meetings were also brought forward for the
Lagos State Government attention because of their importance to building a resilient education
system:
1. The Education Sector is still underfunded despite the increased allocation in the 2020
Lagos State Appropriation Act.
2. Infrastructure and resources required for ICT enhanced learning are virtually non-
existent;
3. Awareness on the Lagos State Inclusive Education Policy is low even among key
stakeholders;
4. The number and quality of Public Schools in the state is still Inadequate, which compel
many parents to enroll their children in substandard private schools;
5. The proliferation of special centres disguising as private schools further lowers the
standard and quality of school outputs and contributes to mass out-flow of students
from the public schools especially at SS 2 in order to enroll and write external
examinations in those ‘special centres’;
6. Prevalence of child sexual abuse within and outside schools is a threat, especially to girl
child education and requires more stringent punitive and preventive measures.
7. Delay in payment of retirement benefits for teachers raises apprehension about
retirement among teachers and school managers, which consequently limits their
capacity to perform their roles conscientiously and effectively while in service requires
more efforts from the Lagos State Government.
8. Teachers posted to locations from place of residence, rural or hard-to-reach areas need
adequate provisions that will enable them live closer and comfortably in their various
places of primary assignment;
9. The menace of teenage pregnancies especially in border areas is a serious challenge to
girl child education.
Therefore, it was recommended that,

 The Lagos State Government should ensure regular supply of WASH facilities in schools;
fortify its monitoring system to enforce COVID-19 protocols compliance in all schools in
the State including all private schools; conduct integrity test of school structures; and
build/equip healing bays in schools with qualified health officers manning the unit.
 The Ministry of Education should ensure proactive, adequate and efficient collection of
accurate data, conduct quarterly and periodic audit of data; build collaboration with
private sectors and ICT service providers to support government in data gathering,
analysis and disaggregation.
 The Ministry of Education should ensure the use of accurate data in planning and
budget implementation; improve ease of access to data for public involvement in school
improvement drive; and strengthen community structures to support education quality
assurance and data quality.
 The increase in the budgetary allocation to the education sector in the 2020
Appropriation Act in Lagos State is commendable; however, it should be backed up with
adequate releases of funds to MDAs and schools. There is need to progressively review
education budget to sustain the desired impact and appropriately respond to the new
emerging education trends.
 The Lagos State Government should ensure strict application of education policy in the drafting
of education budget; widen stakeholders’ participation including association of persons with
disabilities and recognized network of Civil Society Organizations in the education sector in
developing education budget and tracking its implementation.
 The Lagos State Government should increase the number of Institutions offering special
Education courses and provide special support for the study of Special Education
courses starting with the State-Owned Tertiary Institutions, particularly Colleges of
Education.
 Training and retraining of special need teachers should be prioritized and teaching aids
should be made available in all existing inclusive schools.
 The Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Education should develop
performance indicators for every teachers training programme and ensure to evaluation
teachers’ performance after such training to boot teaching and learning outcomes;
while ensuring value for tax payers’ money.
 The Lagos State Government should enforce compliance to TRCN Act in recruitment of
teachers in both public and private schools as part of efforts to standardize the teaching
profession.
 The curriculum in Higher Institutions be overhauled and rejigged to follow the global
best practice. Cooperative teaching manual should be developed and introduced into
the curriculum as well as into teaching practice.
 Special incentives for special need teachers should be introduced to attract skilled
professionals and drive the process of achieving full inclusive education system in Lagos
State. These special incentives can include but not limited to prioritizing teachers with
certified training in special education in teachers’ recruitment and higher remuneration,
in addition to other social welfare supports.
 The Lagos State Government should ensure community involvement in school
governance; create/strengthen existing platforms for gathering community feedback on
public education through periodical townhall meetings, use of google form and other
feedback gathering tools.
 There is need for the Lagos State Government to rethink the policy demanding that
parents tax clearance/certificate before their children are enrolled into public schools.
Government should explore alternative means for parents to comply with their tax
obligations such that it does not affect the education right of their children;
 Effective mechanism to track the implementation of education policies by stakeholders.
 The Lagos State Ministry of Education should create more inclusive platforms for
stakeholders’ involvement in the planning, implementation and monitoring of education
budget, policies and programmes. For instance, government should Institutionalize
School Based Management Committees and Parents’ Forum to be actively involved in
planning and monitoring of education budget, policies and service delivery. This will
enrich education programmes, service delivery and education outcomes.

Other recommendations brought forward from the past stakeholders meetings are emphasized
as reminders to the Lagos State Government including the State Universal Basic Education
Board to:

 Work with relevant examination bodies and institutions to strengthen systems that will
eliminate the trends of special centers in the State;
 Set and enforce minimum standards for private schools and conduct of examinations in
the State;
 Support and strengthen initiatives that promote a Safe Space for girls within the school
in Lagos State; increase awareness and provide adequate information on how to report
inappropriate behaviours especially violence against children and sexual abuse;
 Appreciate and strengthen guidance and counseling units in schools through
recruitments and training of professional counselors;
 Review communication policy guiding information sharing by school managers and
supervisory agencies of government in a way that promote easy access to data and
information.