Lagos State in south-west Nigeria has introduced Solar energy powered panels in public schools to give the students and their teachers uninterrupted power supply.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday inaugurated the first of the panels installed in Model College, Meiran, promising that 172 of such panel would be installed in different secondary schools across the State in the first phase.
At the school in Meiran, Agbado Oke- Odo Local Council Development Area, the Governor, said it was the State’s answer to the failure of steady public power supply and also part of adaptation in order to respond to current global environmental challenges on reducing carbon dioxide emissions across the world.
He explained that the school would now be powered by renewable energy and that with very reliable maintenance, the unit would serve the College for the next 25 years.
He added that the project would cover all the schools in the State and some critical health facilities.
“We have done the one for the Epe Health Centre last week. We are flagging off today the first one of the 172 schools that are in the first phase.”
The Governor commended the Tutor Generals for their contributions and urged the students to continue to work hard, expressing delight in the progress that has been made since 2007.
He expressed satisfaction with the performance of students who have done well, saying: “Some see it as failure and that is the advertisement that you get but I am proud that from seven per cent we have climbed to 45 percent pass. We got on that ladder and we will get to the top of that ladder and this investment will help us consolidate those gains and now provide reliable internet services that already are existing in your schools”.
Partnership With Google
In her address while conducting the Governor round the facility, the General Manager of Eko Electricity Project, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi, said the facility would give the pupils improved access to the internet.
She added that the facility, which had been provided in conjunction with EKO Project, would serve as an outdoor resource room where all the pupils would be able to have all their textbooks on a tablet and can also go online to check different things and different books.
She explained that through the project, the EKO project had also established a partnership with Google which would allow global students who would have access to all the different projects and all the titles from primary through secondary to tertiary level. she said that the students could always go back to the materials and check on their titles and the different ways things work.
In an interview after the commissioning, Governor Fashola said the new initiative was a planned and organised approach to resuscitating education from its challenges.
“It started in 1999 with rebuilding the schools, rebuilding the classrooms, furniture, books, teacher training welfare, and now the results have improved as a result of it.
“Apart from the fact that the world is moving on and the ability of Nigeria to leapfrog with technology is dependent on technology and electricity and one can buy all of the technology in the world and connect to the internet or the hotspot but what is uppermost is how to get electricity to power it,” Governor Fashola stressed.
He reiterated that while opponents condemned the results in public examinations, the State saw them as progress because for the state it was a journey from seven per cent to 45 per cent pass and one that had increased the people’s confidence in public schools.
He added that over 50 per cent of people now say they prefer their children to attend public schools at primary school while over 60 per cent say that they prefer them in public secondary schools compared to the number available before.
He said the Solar project was about sustaining what the State Government had been able to achieve, adding that credence has been given by the testimonies of the teachers that EKO Project has brought a lot of benefits to the public schools in Lagos.
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Mr Akniwunmi Ambode, who was also at the handing over ceremony, said Lagos had established a tradition of excellence and that his main message was about continuity of that tradition.
He said the people of Lagos do not want to tag along or be subjected to a situation where their leader would come and practice governance of trial and error.
“The state had made tremendous progress in education which would continue,” he said, apparently referring to his chance of taking over from Governor Fashola.
The event was witnessed by members of the State Executive Council including the Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba, Special Adviser on EKO Project, Ms Ronke Azeez and teaching staff of the institution among others.