Human Development Initiatives (HDI), a non-profit organisation which advocates accountability in the use of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) funds in Lagos State, with the support of Mac Arthur Foundation, has trained members of Parents Forum (PF) and Education Officers from 11 Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) to monior UBE projects.
Speaking on: “Community awareness and participation in school programme: roles and responsibilities of SBMCs” on the second of the two-day training last Wednesday, Executive Director of HDI, Mrs Olufunso Owasanoye urged the parents to be actively involved in their wards’ schools and monitor their progress.
Owasanoye said: “As parents you have to be conversant with UBE, actively involved and supportive of the school where you have registered your child. Actively attend school meetings, learn about your child’s attitude to learning and identify factors contributing to educational problems.
“It is important you monitor UBE projects across beneficiary schools in the state. Ensure there is proper utilisation of resources earmarked for development and support the government because it cannot promote education alone.”
She advised them to promptly report any anomaly to the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) or the HDI.
HDI Programme officer, Mr Johnson Ibidapo, noted that the two-day training was targeted at strengthening the capacity of School-based Management Committees (SBMC) and other stakeholders towards moving the education sector forward.
He said: “The training which started on Tuesday was targeted towards enhancing the capacity of different stakeholders in Lagos State. We started with the SBMC members and LGEA Social Mobilisation Staff, while today we have members of the Parents Forum and selected Education staff from 11 LGAs of the state.”
The participants received training on Conflict Management, Resource Organisation, use of technology, community-led efforts and how to engage the government in the development of education in the state.
Speaking on “Public Schools renovation advocacy:citizen-led efforts”, Ibidapo bemoaned the unconducive learning environment and infrastructural deficiencies of some schools in the state.
He said schools that lack basic facilities were not fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) which supports quality education for all.
He said: “When your children are sitting on the floor of the classroom or learning in a dilapidated building as we saw in some schools, then it is against the SDG number 4. It is essential to look into that.”
He decried the shoddy execution of contracts which results in collapsed building of schools, hence, he urged parents to closely monitor building projects.
“Lack of proper monitoring results in poor execution of infrastructural projects. Parents should also monitor those working on building sites. If you notice any irregularity, notify the necessary authorities,” he said.
He assured that the HDI would continue to work with SUBEB to ensure the state government prioritises the renovation of dilapidated public school structures.
While encouraging them to make their complaints known, he said: “We at HDI have developed a mobile application ‘Voice Out’ which can be used to report cases of corruption, child trafficking and also to monitor UBE projects.”
Director Social Mobilisation, Lagos SUBEB, Alhaja Adebodun Dosunmu called for the active participation of stakeholders and urged them to contribute their quota towards the progress of education as the government alone cannot solve the problems affecting the sector.