50 — Vanguard, THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018 •From left: Regional Sales Director, North-East, Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd, NBC, Mr. Abubakar Mahmud; Engagement and Employer Branding Manager, NBC, Mrs. Ruth Egbe; Director of Career Services, American University of Nigeria, AUN, Mrs. Grace Nwokoma and Associate Dean of Student Affairs, AUN, Mr. Bello Abdullahi during AUN's Career Fair in Abuja. EDUCATION POLICY REVIEW: Lagos shares attributes with Finland — OKEBUKOLA •Good policy is nothing if not implemented —Stakeholders By Dayo Adesulu APPARENTLY looking at the education policy, it seems stakeholders’ clamour for a review is paying off as Lagos State Government is reviewing its 30-year-old policy on education. The state’s policy on education was last reviewed in 1988 under the military administration of Navy Captain Mike Okhai Akhigbe. In line with global best practices, the Lagos State Government recently invited students, teachers, parents, headteachers, staff of basic, secondary and higher education institutions, administrators, private sector, media houses and other stakeholdres to take a final look at the revised draft policy with a view to validating and taking collective ownership of the revised policy. Professor Peter Okebukola who spoke in Lagos during the Stakeholders' Engagement Forum on the Review of Lagos State Policy on Education said that having gone through the review policy, the roles of every stakeholder were clearly specified in the policy, adding that there were no overlaps and ambiguity. According to him, there is high internal consistency in the document and synergy, stressing that it could serve as a model for other states and even a template for the Federal Government at the next revision of the National Policy on Education. Having been impressed by the reviewed policy, Okebukola who is president of UNESCO in Africa said he was looking forward to a formal launch of the policy, and promised to share the document within UNESCO global community. Intensive scrutiny and analysis He said: "When I received the first draft of the Policy in December last year, I subjected it to intensive scrutiny and analysis. In my view, Lagos State should not just have a policy on Education for show, but being a centre of excellence, its policy on education should reflect excellence. After reviewing the policy with what we have in the top three educational systems in the world - Finland, South Korea and Singapore, the Lagos State Policy on Education is no pushover. "Let me put the educational policy of Finland side by side that of the Lagos State Education Policy. The Finnish policy aims at providing equal opportunities for all citizens to high-quality education and training. The Lagos State Education Policy does the same. The key words in Finland education policy are quality, efficiency, equity and internationalisation. The policy is built on the principles of life-long learning and free education. Education is seen as a key to competitiveness and wellbeing of the society. The Lagos State Education Policy shares the same attributes. "Let us make a comparison with the education policy of South Korea. On September 23, 2015, the Ministry of Education in South Korea adopted the National Guidelines of the 2015 Revised Policy. The new national curriculum from the policy will be fully implemented by 2020, and the key objective is to cultivate a ‘creative and integrative learner.’ While South Korea’s previous education system had been more focused on delivering of standardised knowledge and rote learning, the new vision seeks to promote flexibility and creativity on how the students address the new challenges of the 21st Century. Similar philosophy undergirds the Lagos State Policy on Education." On education policy of Singapore, Okebukola pointed out that Singapore was an extraordinary success story. He said: "In less than 50 years, it has gone from an impoverished island with no natural resources and a population, majority of whom were illiterate, to a country of 4.7 million people with living standards that match those of the most highly developed industrial nations. The education policy aims at the development of the kind of world-class workforce that would be required to fulfill the very ambitious economic goals set for the nation. The Lagos State Policy on Education reflects similar thinking." While highlighting some distinguishing features in the policy, he maintained that the reviewed policy was both contemporary and futuristic in orientation, noting that it has provisions for contemporary issues as well as future directions of education in Lagos State. The UNESCO president in Africa who noted that the policy was comprehensive and detailed, disclosed that the policy covers all the angles relating to input, process, output and The policy is built on the principles of life-long learning and free education outcomes. It is well aligned with the National Policy on Education in terms of structure and framework. According to him, the reviewed policy has three parts, viz: "The first part provides an overview of educational development in Lagos State. The second part is on specific policies for different levels of education - basic, senior secondary, technical and vocational and higher. Part three makes policy provisions for educational governance." Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Adebule, in her keynote address, commended stakeholders for availing the government of their different opinions on the policy review, stressing that the process of the review started with Needs Analysis, which included issues that triggered the review as well as policy gaps. According to her, the second step was the policy contact, which she discribed as an outreach to the experts and known stakeholders by the ministry. She identified the third stage as the research and drafting process where the State Government engaged experts in the field at a three-day retreat between December 14 and 16, 2017. Robust review The stakeholders’ consultation is the fourth level of the engagement for review and update of the 30- year Education Policy, she explained. In the stakeholders' reactions, one of the participants, Dr. Wasiu Gabadin said the implementation of the policy was the key issue. He lamented that the country has good policies, but that the issue rested with implemenation of those policies. On his part, Femi Ogunkoya, who represented private school owners said the state government should issue primary school leaving certificates to pupils to ensure that underage pupils do not gain admission into JSI. Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs. Adebunmi Adekanye, in her welcome address explained the importance of the meeting, adding that it was to enable a robust review of the document to ensure the emergence of an enduring policy. She promised that the document will still go through a second stage of drafting where all contributions from the consultative forum and other inputs that might come in form of written documents, will be considered. The permanent secretary opined that the document was still open to suggestions, adding that though the draft could not be released to everyone, experts and stakeholders were at liberty to make further contributions based on their experience on the field.
Vanguard, THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018 — 51 Poor economy hasn't helped our educational system — OSIPITAN, SAN LEGAL luminary, Taiwo Osipitan is a Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria. For over 34 years as a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, he has combined lecturing with active legal practice. In this interview, he takes a walk down memory lane with Vanguard, talking about various issues. Excerpts: By Dayo Adesulu HOW do you combine being a law lecturer and practitioner? It has been exciting and also very challenging. As a lawyer, you need to appear in court to handle some law cases and you must also be back in the classroom to lecture. As a lecturer, you must have the discipline to sit down to read and write. The experience in the classroom is being deployed to the courtroom and that of the courtroom is being used in the classroom. There have been complaints that education in Nigeria is not what it used to be. Do you subscribe to that? What in your opinion, is the cause? There is a general decline in education. I believe the economy has not helped the Nigerian education system. There is also an upsurge in the commercialisation of education in Nigeria. Adequate remuneration The economic inflation in the country made teachers nationwide not to give in their best to teaching. Teachers are not adequately remunerated, thus they have not been putting their best into teaching. Not many people who are teaching nowadays have love of teaching in their hearts. Lack of good materials to teach the students and dedication on the part of the teachers on account of the hardship in the country, contribute to the decline in educational standards. We also have instances of people setting up primary and secondary schools for only commercial purposes and not for the love of teaching. What was education like when you were growing up? I went to mission schools. I attended All Saints Primary School, Yaba and from there, I went to St Jude’s Primary School, Ebute Metta, Lagos. I then proceeded to Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo Town in Oyo State. These schools assisted in shaping my careers and my person. Some core values of education were deposited in me in those schools. I am an indigene of Ogun State but my father attended a school in Oyo Town. Of course, University of Lagos as the best university in Nigeria shaped my life. Tell us about your parents and their contribution towards your education? I lost my mother at a very young age, that was when I was 10 years. Before her death, I can say that she was very caring. This year, my father will be 94 years old. When my mother died, my father began to play the role of a mother and father. Did you ever have difficulty paying your fees at any time? I came from a very balanced family and background. My father, a lawyer, is blessed. I am a lawyer and my four children are lawyers. So, we are comfortable. My father is an extremely brilliant man. So, I have no regret in life. You said that your four There is a general decline in education, I believe the economy has not helped the Nigerian education system children are all lawyers, did you influence their decisions? I only influenced one of them who was studying International Relations at Covenant University. One day, I went to his school and discovered that all they taught was what I would have covered as a lecturer at the University of Lagos within two weeks. So after then, I redirected him to study Law in the University of Lagos. Who among your friends at school can you still remember and how many of them are still alive? •Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, SAN I still have so many of them from my secondary school days. Many of them are alive — both in Nigeria and abroad. We have a platform where we chat and discuss. Myself and members of my class of 1980- 86, are still well bonded. More are alive than those who have died. At your age sir, what are the things you wish you would have achieved that you never did? At my age, I am a fulfilled Over 700 Nigerians enrolled in our varsities — BELARUS ENVOY By Gabriel Olawale COUNSELOR in the Belarusian Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Aleksandr Lukashevich, has said that due to high quality of education with little financial implication, Nigerians have now begun to turn attention to the Republic of Belarus. Lukashevich who spoke at the second Annual General Meeting of the Alumni Association of Belarusian Institutions of Learning, Nigeria, held in Lagos, said that no fewer than 700 Nigerian students were given placements in Belarusian universities during 2017/2018 academic year. He said the country's relationship with Nigeria in area of education dated to 1965 and the choices of most Nigerians in their universities are medicine, engineering, person. I am a contented person. I do not have any regrets except about my mother who we thought would have lived longer but passed on. There is nothing that I wanted from God that He has not done for me. How did you gain admission into the University of Lagos? By God’s grace, it was through hardwork. I had my Cambridge result and also A level result. I had a late admission into the University of information technology and agriculture. “Our education is of high standard and cheaper than what is obtained in most European countries. In 2017 graduating year, 48 Nigerian students successfully completed their programmes and six of them received highest honour in the country." Lukashevich disclosed that his country was about signing a Memorandum of Understanding between its Ministry of Education and Nigeria’s Ministry of Education which will strengthen the ties between both countries. The President of the Alumni Association of Belarusniki in Nigeria, Mr. Muktar Usman in his remark urged the Republic of Belarus to seize the opportunity of the establishment of the association in Nigeria to seek means of benefiting from the huge investment potentials in education, commerce and trade. Lagos. What does the University of Lagos’ Academic distinguished Professor’s award mean to you? I feel honoured and I dedicate the award to the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. Your autobiography revealed a lot about your achievements. How did you achieve all these? I believe that in whatever you are doing, you require the grace of God and His blessing. I do my work. I teach my students. I also have destiny helpers who believe in me. Of course, Heavens will only help those who help themselves. I have been able to stay focused, preparing for my lectures and also writing my scholarly papers. So, I believe all I have achieved in life have been made possible by dint of hard work and the grace of God upon my life. I started my formal education at Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo and later enrolled for a two-year A level programme after my GCE; obtained my Bachelor's of Law and Letters, LL.B (Hons) between 1977 and 1980 from the University of Lagos, Akoka and attended Nigerian Law School in 1981 where I distinguished myself by winning the Justice Somolu Memorial Prize for the best student in civil procedure; obtained a Master's of Law degree, with Distinction from the London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England in 1982 and a Professor of Public Law in October 1998; conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2002 and have since my appointment in 1983 as then Lecturer II at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, lectured for over 34 years. The Belarusniki is a nonpolitical, non-religious and nonethnic association of graduates who studied in the Republic of Belarus. Usman said that the development would go a long way in creating not just job opportunities, but also open more avenues for wealth creation for both countries. He said: "As professionals in various persuasions in Nigeria and in the diaspora, we, the members of Belaruniski wish to promote our economic, sociocultural and business ties between our country and the Republic of Belarus. We are looking at some exchange programmes between Nigeria and Belarus, whereby we find means of attracting some Belarusian students to come and study various courses in universities across Nigeria and vice versa. We can also do exchange programmes with some of their professors as well.”