LAGOS STATE, January 26, 2012 -- For the past two years, junior and senior public school students throughout Lagos State have been showing marked improvement in school, with more students passing core subjects and college entrance exams than ever before.
The Lagos Eko Secondary Education Project (LESEP), a partnership between the Lagos State government and the World Bank, is credited with the recent surge in students’ high academic performance. With the primary goal of improving the quality of junior and senior school education, the project supports more than 500,000 public school students and 7,000 teachers and school administrators in 637 schools.
Since its beginning in 2009, the project has aided in 12,000 teachers being trained in leadership and core subjects such as English, math and science, and students in targeted schools are already starting to show an improvement in learning.
“I used to be a ‘C’ student but after the introduction of the Eko project, our teachers got trainings and everything changed,” said Akpa Chigozie, a student of Vetland Senior Secondary School. “I am now comfortably an ‘A’ student.”
The success of the project has also restored some confidence in the public school system. Motivated teachers and improved learning environments have inspired some parents, such as Agboola Olabisi, to re-enroll or keep their children in public schools.
Olabisi, who is also a member of the School Based Management Committee, said she noticed a significant change after the Eko project was implemented.
“I was contemplating taking two of my children from public schools to a private school until I soon noticed a dramatic improvement in their performance which I found out was due to Eko project intervention,” she said.
The Lagos Eko Project’s most notable achievement to date is the success in improving student performance on the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the college entrance exams taken by senior secondary school students. In 2008, the pass rate for English was 46 percent. In 2011, the pass rate improved to 60 percent. In biology, the pass rate improved from 33 percent to 65 percent, and for the first time, some schools have had 100 percent of their students pass the WASSCE’s.
Using the project-administered standardized tests (conducted by the Lagos State Examinations Board) in English, math and science, overall improvements were noted in an overwhelming majority of schools. The average passing grade for junior secondary schools rose from 19.5 percent in 2009, to 34.8 percent in 2011 in English, from18.5 percent to 28.4 percent in math, and from 20.3 percent to 36.2 percent in science.
Not only has also received “highly satisfactory” marks from World Bank reviewers, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, visited several schools and was moved by what she found.
“I am highly impressed by what I have seen in the Eko project, and really look forward to this kind of success being emulated and replicated by other states in Nigeria,” Marie-Nelly said.
As a result of the successful management approach of the project, the Lagos State government will begin funding school districts directly, as opposed to the previous practice of disbursements being funneled to schools through the Ministry of Education.