SSIT member, Mrs. B. A. Aremu (middle) explaining a point to a Head teacher (right), in the background a parent is bringing her child to school for enrolment.
‘If the school improvement strategy of solving problems in our schools continue, a lot will be achieved which will have positive impact on the academic performance of the present and future generation’ says Mrs. Aremu. As a member of the Lagos State School Improvement Team (LASSIT), supported by UKaid through the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), she has the responsibility of training and supporting Primary School Management personnel to improve head teachers’ capacity to lead and develop their own schools into effective schools that will produce successful pupils who are literate and numerate.
Within Mrs Aremu’s first year working with Kusoro Primary School, the Head Teacher now has the capacity to lead and develop the school properly, the class teachers now use child centered teaching methods and the School Based Management Committee of school and community representatives is now functional. Enrolment rates have increased significantly. Mrs. Aremu is happy that pupil enrolment has increased and parents are withdrawing their children from private primary schools to Kusoro Primary School, one of the state primary schools she is supporting.
ESSPIN is partnering with a hundred pilot schools in Lagos state to improve the quality of education in primary and junior secondary schools. Mrs. Aremu knew from her years of teaching experience that Head-Teachers had difficulty balancing their roles as administrators and academics. The lack of in-service support to teachers has been a major factor in poor pupil performance during the nine years of basic education. ESSPIN has helped the State School Improvement Team (SSIT) train over a hundred head teachers and their deputies in the areas of leading and developing their own schools and a comprehensive programme of teacher training is underway.
The SSIT programme has placed three other schools under Mrs. Aremu’s supervision– Ajenifuja Primary School, Ansar-Ud-deen primary school and Araromi Primary School all in Mushin LGA. These schools have benefited from the SSIT training package ESSPIN developed. The schools in turn, have encouraged the community to participate in the development of the schools through the School Based Management Committees.
The SSIT is established and coordinated by the state government and the outcome is expected to be the basis for a state wide practice benefiting a total of 445,000 children in state primary schools as the pilot school improvement programme is rolled out across the state. Many more children currently outside the system also stand to gain as they are attracted to schools offering a better quality of basic education.
‘Looking back to the achievements made so far by the SSIT, Head Teacher and the community at large, there is no doubt that the vision (Millennium Development Goal 2) for learning would be achievable’ Mrs. Aremu adds.
ESSPIN is a partnership between the Nigerian Government and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The six-year programme (2008 – 2014) supports Federal and State governments – Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara and Lagos initially with Enugu added in 2010 – to develop effective planning, financing and delivery systems that will improve the quality of basic education. ESSPIN supports simultaneous action on multiple fronts. Support for schools is accompanied by support for communities, support for State and Local government and support to develop Federal laws, policies and budgets.