Mrs Ronke Soyombo, the Director-General, Office of the Quality Assurance, Lagos State, on Thursday urged unregistered private school owners to get their schools’ approved before the commencement of 2019/2020 academic session.
Soyombo gave the advice in a lecture on Quality and Quantitative Education at the First African Education Conference organised by the Association of Formidable Educational Development (AFED), at the University of Lagos.
She said for a school to operate in the state, it must be registered, approved, secured with conducive learning environment as well as child protection and safeguard facilities.
“September is coming, now is the time for private school owners to start the process of registering and approval of their schools.
“You must get your school secured and protected, because the children must feel safe in the school at all times.
“When was the last time you check your school bus?
“We did not shutdown schools because of teaching and learning, we shut them because of poor environment.
“Schools are very vulnerable this days. We have handled many cases.
“After this conference, go and look back at how vulnerable your school is and make ammends,” she said.
She urged private schools operators to develop the ‘STEM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) approach of learning so that children can develop key skills of the 21st century.
Soyombo listed the four skills of a 21st century to include critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication.
“I must really give kudos to AFED and all its members for putting up this programme today at a time when everybody is coming together to review how lessons are being taught in schools.
“With the particular focus they have given to me, they made me to come and talk on how we can have quality and quantitative education in schools.
“To me, it’s a time and looking at their own anthem in AFED, it shows they are ready for the challenge in education in Nigeria.
“It is high time we all go back to the drawing board that we want to produce those graduates that will fit for today’s employment.
“For us to say we are producing graduates that are fit for today’s employment, that means we need to go back to how we teach, how we deliver lessons and how we take care of everybody in the syatem.
“It’s a time that we are in a 21st century when we should be thinking of how to get rid of drop outs on the streets.
“If our students are going to schools and they are not getting employment, that means we are still not teaching right,” Soyombo said.
She commended the association for its efforts so far, but urged them to do more and improve standard in their schools.
“AFED schools are trying their best but what we want is for everybody to try more, not to sit on our oasis.
“We are going into a new academic year, and we want standard to get better.
“It’s a new government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) government in Lagos have been doing a lot for the past 20 years.
“However, we cannot continue to do things the same way so that we don’t get the same results,” she said.
Also, Mr Orji Kanu, National President of AFED, said the association was committed to providing education for all.
Kanu said the number of out-of-school children was alarming and every concerned citizen must be involved.
He said the association would focus on deepening its presence in the Northern part of the country to actualising the vision in the policy document of the United Nations on SDG four.
According to him, the association convoked the conference to x-ray the avalanche of problems as currently being experienced in Nigeria.
“We urged all government departmental agencies to partner with the association to reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country.
“The association has brought a lot of improvement to members’ schools in the federation where they have allowed collaboration.
“We, therefore, use this opportunity to share this noble idea that had made this possible and call on other administration of various states where this collaboration is lacking to embrace this clear solution for the collective progress of all.
“In the next three years, we shall focus on deepening our presence in the North to actualising the vision in the document of the United Nations SDG 4,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AFED is an association of low fee income schools in Lagos State.