On Friday, January 13, Master’s Tutors, the venue of the 1000 free JAMB forms organised by Hon Adewale Temitope Adedeji (ATA), member, Lagos State House of Assembly, Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency 01, was filled to capacity as prospective beneficiaries turned out enmasse for screening.
The Adewale Temitope Adedeji Educational Initiative (ATA-EI) has been a masterstroke and the shinning light of Hon Adewale’s achievements so far.
According to a statement released by ATA Media, 1886 prospective beneficiaries were screened during the two-day exercise and the beneficiaries will be picked solely on merit.
The free JAMB forms initiative started four years ago with 350 beneficiaries. This was followed by three successive editions of 500, 750 and 1000 forms, respectively.
In a nation with about 20 million out-of-school children, according to Statistics from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in September 2022, every effort counts in ensuring children are educated.
Another worrisome statistics is that of the World Bank that posits that Nigeria is experiencing learning poverty. This means that 70 per cent of 10-year-olds cannot understand a simple sentence or perform basic numeracy tasks. With the alarming rate at which teens are being exposed to crime and other vices, Hon Adewale’s focus on education might be the solid foundation needed for a peaceful and prosperous Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government.
The Need For Monitoring, Evaluation And Transparency
An educational development practitioner, Wande Ojo, argued that for the initiative to achieve its goal of ensuring Ifako-Ijaiye becomes the most educated Local Government in Nigeria, measures must be in place for monitoring the progress of the beneficiaries, evaluating the initiative and transparency in the whole process.
“Initiatives like this are welcome. However, as an educationist, I always tell people to focus more on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), while not forgetting to be transparent in the selection process. We shouldn’t forget that most of the students will gain admission and that is another phase for them. Is there is monitoring process or this is just about giving them the JAMB forms? When they get stuck academically, who do they turn to? These are some of the things the organisers should focus on, if they are not yet, to ensure the aim of the initiative is achieved.
“We also need to talk about evaluation. Out of the yearly beneficiaries, how many have been admitted? For those not admitted, what is the way forward? Regular evaluation will be a measurement tool to see what else needs to be done and how.
“Lastly, transparency. This will determine the success or otherwise of the initiative. Politicians will circle like hawks, waiting to hijack the process. The negative about this is that most deserving students will be overlooked for the less deserving ones which will defeat the goal of the initiative. If this is allowed, the initiative will lose its credibility and purpose,” he said.
Looking Beyond The Initiative
With free distribution of 405 units of GCE forms, 28 outstanding students in various higher institutions of learning on scholarships, rehabilitation of public schools in Ifako-Ijaiye and donation of education support materials to students, Hon Adewale might have taken a cue from the eternal words of the late South African president, Nelson Mandela, who said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
The ATA-EI, hopefully, in the not-too-distant-future, will metamorphose into an educational Foundation to be headed by Board of Directors to oversee the day-to-day running of it. This will provide access to more funds through collaborations with local and foreign donor organisations. More funds will mean more opportunities for students in Ifako-Ijaiye. The more the educated population of youths within the Local Government, the higher the chances of peace and development within.
However, with the achievements recorded so far, the words of the Coordinator, ATA-EI, Comrade Hassan Ababio, re-echoes the motive behind the initiative.
He said, “At this pace, Ifako Ijaiye Constituency 01 will be the most educated in Lagos state and Nigeria as a whole as projected by Hon. Adewale Temitope Adedeji.”