By Charles Ogwo
Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Lagos State, has made a clarion call to all technical education stakeholders to gear up for a radical overhaul of the sub-sector both in teaching approach and in learning.
Adefisayo, who made the call during her first working visit to Lagos State Technical and Vocational Board (LASTVEB) at its head office on Wednesday, said there must be a fresh approach to teaching and learning of technical education if tangible achievements must be realized.
“Many teachers of technical curriculum do not know what good teaching is all about. And we cannot afford to be using the same old approach to teaching and learning and expect a change. This is madness,” she said.
During the visit Adefisayo had a closed-door discussion with met with the management and board members of LASTVEB, all Directors, Principals of the five Technical Colleges in Lagos State and their Vice-Principals.
She explained that she was at LASTVEB to brainstorm with the stakeholders on how to get things done better and smarter in the education sector, especially technical education in Lagos State.
“I’m here on a working visit and not necessarily an official visit. I’m here so that we can jaw-jaw on how to position ourselves to attract partners. We need partnership if we must move the sector forward as expected,” she said.
Adefisayo advocated that the technical trainers should learn to be proactive and holistic teachers. This, she said, they can do by embracing personal development programmes that will enrich them on modalities of being effective and efficient teachers.
She encouraged the teachers of technical education in Lagos State to avail themselves to the training programmes of the British Council in Nigeria which is geared towards Instructional Leadership.
The Commissioner said this will inculcate in the teachers the needed creative orientation in curriculum and teaching approach.
“ As teachers you should always bear in mind that you will not be there for eternity, hence, you need to leave marks of footsteps on the sand of your college for others to learn from your good works,” she emphasized.
Speaking further on how teachers, especially the principals of the colleges can be result –oriented, Adefisoye, who herself, was a former principal, urged them to imbibe the attitude of taking time to visit classrooms and departments within their jurisdictions to be able to know what is happening around them; and possibly proffer the needed solutions if within their reach.
“Time is gone when principals just sit in one place and grow ‘pot-bellies’, it is time to make the needed changes by being change agents ourselves”, she said.
Mrs. Aderonke Azeez, the Executive Secretary of LASTVEB, in her presentation appreciated the Honourable Commissioner and her team for the visit as she outlined the board’s area of priority; stating that LASTVEB remains the main technical education providers in Lagos State. She said the sub-sector has 480 staff with 8,000 students.
“We prepare children for occupation, tertiary institution and entrepreneurship. Ensuring that nobody goes away from our institutions doing nothing”, she said.
Reiterating the achievements of the board under her leadership, Azeez said the students of the technical schools have performed well in their certificate examinations.
“In the academic year 2019, the board had 1,500 students enrolled for their certificate examinations and recorded an excellent result of 1,385 students pass which amounts to 92.3% pass rate,” she said.
Azeez also stated that the board is committed to getting unemployed graduates positively engaged and empowered to be the best they can be through the Graduate Vocational Employability Skill Training Programme (GV-ESTP), which has been in operation since April 2012.
She explained that the programme is aimed at getting the unemployed youths out of the streets and nurturing them to become very useful to themselves and society by helping them learn and set –up their own businesses.
“We aim at making them become employers of labour rather than seeking for employment,” she said.
Azeez went further to roll out the board’s work plan which she said entails ensuring that each Technical College in the state is noted for at least one special field of specialization , which is in line with the demographical needs of the communities around the institution.
While stressing on the objectives of the work plan, she said “we will use our work plan to measure our performance.”
“For instance, Government Technical College, Epe, will be made to venture into Marine Engineering, being a coastal area, while Government Technical College, Ikotun, will be made to specialize on Power and others similar ones,” she said.
Azeez also reiterated the board’s plan to build new blocks in the present schools and new schools to increase students’ enrolment.
She said the board has plans to make the sector more efficient and result-oriented as it is poised to improve quality of teachers and learning across the five technical colleges while reducing the present teacher / student ratio and training and retraining of the teachers.
The Executive Secretary seized the opportunity of the visit of the Commissioner to solicit for help from the state government and the ministry, especially, in making funds available to the board and in its plan to increase student enrolment. She pleaded for the provision of tools, equipments and building of new structures to enable the schools train the students better.
Likewise, she appealed for the cooperation of the private sector, especially in the areas of students’ industrial work experience scheme.
Adefisayo, in her response to the presentations by the Executive Secretary, applauded the board for its good works as she showered a lot of praises on Azeez for her resourcefulness.
“It took me such a long time to visit the board because I know the board is in good hand. And she has proven me right by her articulate presentations and administrative approach,” she said.
However, she encouraged the board to take some more proactive steps to reposition the sub-sector in the eyes of the public.
“Make a lot of noise about technical and vocational education benefits to the society. Let the public know what you are doing,” advised.
Adefisayo counseled the board to include ‘City and Guide’ Examinations as part of examinations option for students to take; emphasizing its international image.
Besides, she advocated for an all inclusive school approach which will see the board introducing technical education with comprehensive education and giving the students the right of choice.
“With this kind of approach to education, students will be more grounded in their discipline. It is high time we began to think outside the box,” she said.
Mr. Moses Ogunleye, the Head, Public Relations Unit (LASTVEB), who welcomed the Commissioner and her entourage inside the conference hall of the board, said the stakeholders were delighted to have her for the visit.