The Lagos State Government, in preparation for the Y2023/24 Academic Calendar, has assured stakeholders of prioritising harmonised and standardised instructional days of learning for all schools in order to ensure children have the minimum standard of learning days and hours.
The Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, on Thursday, 16 March, 2023.
She noted that it is important for stakeholders to deliberate, harmonise and standardise the school calendar of both public and private schools in the State.
She maintained that the engagement would ensure that a fit for purpose academic calendar is developed whereby students would spend productive instructional hours in the classrooms and also serve as a pre-emptive measure in planning for unforeseen events and circumstances.
Her words: “In as much as the calendar may seem like a very minute detail when it comes to larger issues we have within the education space, the calendar is very important’’.
‘’Over the course of this administration, we as an office have been able in collaboration with our stakeholders to ensure that the calendar is enforced , that there is a greater understanding and that at the end of the day everything concerning the calendar is to support things that occur within schools. This is to ensure that children have the minimum standard of learning days as well as hours and most importantly standardisation across the board not just in public schools but private schools’’.
Seriki-Ayeni further noted that the mandate of the OEQA through the harmonised academic calendar is to ensure that the best interest of all children in the state are well protected while the calendar would ensure that schools are held accountable to the same standards. In addition, it would entrenched the flexibility that schools may need, when they have some circumstances beyond their control, to ensure the safety of students, teachers, schools as well as provide the best learning outcomes for the pupils.
She commended the stakeholders for their compliance to the Y2022/23 academic calendar noting that it has been the most compliant year and noted that there has been better communication between OEQA and the schools.
She therefore, encouraged participants to have an open mind and trust government on its various policies noting that in the past there have been cases that have led to citizens not trusting government but that the stakeholders engagement is an avenue for trust to be earned on the part of stakeholders as well as government as the ultimate aim is to ensure that pupils are in a safe environment for learning.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, OEQA, Mr. Remi Abdul expressed gratitude for the high turn out of participants. He noted that the stakeholders engagement has become a yearly event to chart the course of progress for educational activities in both the public and private schools below the tertiary level in the State. He appreciated the stakeholders’ commitment and resourcefulness in advancing the education sector.
He noted that the meeting will be an interactive and practical session while the first session will focus on the appraisal of the current academic calendar while there will be also be a plenary session and finally an appraisal and recommendation session to round up the stakeholders engagement.
The Director further seek the understanding and commitment of the stakeholders in actualising the mandate of OEQA which is creating a safe environment for pupils to learn and develop.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB), Mr. Wahab Alawiye-King represented by a director in the agency, Mrs Kolade, stated that the harmonised calendar would ensure that everyone is working on the same page while urging participants especially those from the private participants not to see it as a state affair but as a step in the development of the educational sector in the State.
The State Officer, National Examination Council (NECO), Mr. Adebayo Ayinde, commended the State government through OEQA for organising a highly productive and important stakeholders engagement on the harmonised school calendar, adding that it shows how futuristic and important the state government is taking the issue of education. He further advised other state government ministries of education to emulate such laudable initiative.