LAGOS STATE, April 10, 2014 – The quality of education has improved significantly in hundreds of public junior and secondary schools with the support of the Lagos Eko Secondary Education Project. The project’s success has led to its extension to help sustain the strong results, and expand it to other schools.
“The Lagos Eko project has built a critical pathway for students from low-income backgrounds to gain access to good-quality secondary education, showing that where there is a will, there is a way,” said Olatunde Adekola, World Bank task team leader for the project. “This project displays innovative features, including school grants which allow school principals to address their specific learning needs, greater accountability through the involvement of main stakeholders in key school management decisions and public private partnership in vocational training.’’
The project was initiated in 2009 with a goal of improving the quality of education in 40% of the targeted schools. Since then, 7,998 principals and district administrators have been through leadership training, exceeding the target of 1,076. With 1,426 trainees for district-level staff exceeded the target of 693. A new method of teacher of training was also implemented, where more than 25,000 teachers were trained also exceeded original targets. The project has helped 90% of schools achieve its targets and continues to excel, according to project-administered standardized student tests.
For example, the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), a standardized test used in West Africa, shows English pass grades improved from 68.29% in 2011 to 84% in 2012 in Lagos State. In mathematics, pass grades improved from 47% to 81.35%, while the pass grades for biology improved from 65% to 67%. Some schools attained a 100% pass rate in the 2012 WASSCE examinations and in various subjects. Furthermore, the analysis of results from the 2013 West African Examinations Council (WAEC) external standardized exams for Junior Secondary School are expected to show improved passing marks in all the three subject areas.
“Before the intervention of the Lagos Eko project, our students generally had a very minimal interest in science subject such as Biology and mathematics but since the commencement of the project, the interest and performance in these subjects have improved significantly” said Mr. Ashaka Jacob, Principal, Lagos Junior Model College, Badagry.
Successes have also been recorded in the distribution of school grants, with 100% of all secondary schools receiving their grants within the stipulated period, including 11 schools with facilities to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Ten thousand principals and teachers have been trained with the grants. This seamless grants distribution was made possible through the bank electronic transfer (e-disbursement) system to school accounts.
The project was originally slated to end December 2013 after five years, but after exceeding set targets in most areas, it will continue with an additional $42.30 million in financing. This will allow the project to extend development grants to the original beneficiary schools until 2015, track the performance of beneficiary students, and continue professional development activities for teachers and school management.