A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A TWO-DAY ROUNDTABLE MEETING ON SUSTAINABLE FINANCING OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION IN LAGOS STATE
The Human Development Initiatives (HDI) in collaboration with Actionaid with the support of Norad, organized a 2-day stakeholders round table on Sustainable Financing for the Teaching Profession in Lagos State. This event which was held on 16th and 17th September, 2019 at Starfire Hotel, GRA Ikeja Lagos, aimed to advocate for increased support that would enhance the quality of teachers’ education/trainig, social welfare;recruitment and retention of passionate professional teachers in Lagos state public schools. The round table also afforded participants the opportunity to reflect on issues of national interest of ensuring quality, inclusive, equitable and free public education for all children especially girls and the marginalised, with regards to the teaching profession as plans are underway to commemorate the October 5, 2019 edition of the World Teachers’ Day in Lagos, which has been scheduled to hold on October 7, 2019 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Participants were drawn from the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Lagos State’s relevant ministries (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Civil Society Organisations such as Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), Tax Justice Network, School Based Management Committees (SBMC), Parents’ Forum (PF), Education Districts (1, 3 and 5), and Media organisations.
ISSUES At the end of the two days’ reflection and conversation on the subject of the event, the Stakeholders observed and agreed as follows, that: 1. The present curriculum is obsolete.
2. There is low teacher-pupil ratio partly occasioned by uneven distribution of teachers.
3. Entry criteria to acquiring teaching qualification is too low to attract the best brains into the teaching profession.
4. The present condition of service of teacher in the public education system cannot attract and retain professional teachers.
5. The existing education policies in Lagos State are ineffectively implemented.
6. There is stagnation in recruitment of professional teachers in Lagos State.
7. Education with regards to infrastructure, training of teachers and instructional materials is underfunded.
8. The Ministry of Education is unable to sustain past impactful donor interventions such as ESPIN, Eko Project, COMPASS, among others.
9. The Lagos State education budget is too low to appropriately respond to the needs of the public schools in the State.
10. There is no clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for training conducted in the past for teachers in Lagos State and system that ensure value for the money spent.
11. There is unnecessary political interference in teachers’ recruitment, deployment and duty post appointments which impact negatively on the quality of teachers in the system.
12. Social welfare packages for teachers and education officers such as health insurance, housing scheme among others are non-existent and retirement benefits are often delayed.
13. Supervision and mentoring of teachers especially in hard-to-reach areas are inadequate.
14. The processes that produce the education in Lagos State is not inclusive enough.
15. Existing SBMC policy in Lagos State is yet to be implemented.
16. There are no clear cut roles, responsibilities and guidelines governing the activities of Parents Forum in Lagos State.
17. Lack of synergy between SBMC and PF activities disrupts development initiatives in public schools in Lagos State.
18. Moral decadence in the public education system (cultism, drug abuse, sexual harassment, examination malpractice, absenteeism by teachers and leakage of exam questions) threatens the vision and mission of the Lagos State Government for education.
The stakeholders carefully considered the issues raised above and jointly resolved as follows that:
1. There is the need to overhaul the education curriculum and make it responsive to contemporary learning needs. In doing so, relevant key stakeholders should be consulted in the curriculum review process.
2. The Lagos State Government incentivize the teaching profession to make it attractive.
3. The Lagos State Government in collaboration with the Ministry of education Institutionalize the blueprints of successful past interventions such as Lagos Eko Projects, ESSPIN, COMPASS, etc
4. The Lagos State Government should widen sources of funding for education and encourage Corporate Sector investment as well as voluntary support.
5. The Lagos State Government should provide all basic social welfare packages for teachers and education officers to attract professional teachers into the public education sector.
6. The national examination bodies and relevant institutions review upward the criteria for admission into education institutions (Universities and Colleges of Education) to attract best brains into the teaching profession.
7. The Lagos State Government eliminate political interference in teachers’ recruitment processes and make it more transparent and inclusive.
8. The Ministry of Education working with other relevant institutions should improve training and retraining of teachers and develop efficient KPIs to monitor teachers’ training performance.
9. The Ministry of Education in collaboration with the other agencies of government should strengthen succession strategy that will sustain the supply of professional teachers into the public school system.
10. The Lagos State Government should strengthen the Quality Assurance department of the Ministry of Education to regularly and effectively supervise, monitor education service delivery and school interventions.
11. The Ministry of Education should ensure inclusive participation of all education stakeholders in the education budget process, particularly the involvement of students, parents, teachers, SBMC, CSOs,
12. The Lagos state Government should strengthen the existing punitive mechanisms in the education sector to checkmate inappropriate behaviours of students, teachers and parents.
13. The Lagos state Government should strengthen internal mechanisms in the public school systems to effectively prevent inappropriate bevaviours in Lagos schools.
14. The Lagos State Government should appropriately review the old Parent Teacher Association guidelines to guide the new Parent Forum effectively.
15. The newly reviewed SBMC Policy in Lagos State be fully implemented.
16. The Lagos State Government should harmonize and institutionalize the activities of SBMC and PF in Lagos to support quality assurance of education service and infrastructure delivery.
17. The Lagos State Government should make education policies easily accessible and strengthen their implementation.
18. The Ministry of Education should encourage parents’ participation in the education of their children.
This Communique is endorsed by all stakeholders represented. community leaders, etc.