Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu recently breaks the record set by his predecessors as he appointed Mrs Folashde Adefisayo, a Principal Consultant/CEO at Leading Learning Limited as substantive Commissioner of Education to oversee and manage the sector in the state.
In the last 12 years, education in the state had been superintended in the office of Deputy Governors.
It would be recalled that Mr Babatunde Fashola, a two-term governor of the state from 2007 to 2015 had Sarah Adebisi Sosan managed the sector from 2007 to 2011, while Mrs Adejoke Orelope Adefulire took the baton from 2011 to 2015.
Besides, the immediate past governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode sustained the trend as his Deputy; Dr Idiat Adebule was in charge of the state Ministry of Education for another four years.
Folashde Adefisayo, an advocate of the development of student values, teacher quality, instruction, integration with ICT, and sports was a former Executive Director and CEO of the Corona Schools Trust Council.
She was educated at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Reacting to the development, Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) Lagos State Chapter, Comrade Adesina Adedoyin lauded the governor for the appointment, saying the Commissioner would bring her wealth of experience and management skill in the management of the education industry to bare in the public sector.
“It is a beautiful idea to have a substantive Commissioner to manage education in Lagos State. She has met us and we have discussed challenges facing the state and presented a position paper to her. Some of the issues we raised are not completely new to her. She has started well and I believe she is a good listener.”
Reacting to appointment of a Deputy Governor to superintend over the education ministry, Professor Chidi Ebere Onyia, former Faculty of the California State University, Dominguez Hills, California, United States of America (USA) emphasized the need to build strong institutions.
“The decision by some state governments to have the deputy governor superintend over the education ministry is not the problem rather the lack of accountability and courage to insist on basic reforms because of political reasons and compromised civil servants.
“State governments with Commissioners of Education also have the same problems because of institutional governance gaps.
However, he observed that having the reporting line and decision process at the deputy governor’s office may present challenges in speed and quality.
Prof Onyia added, Building strong institutions should be an important aspect of our national governance expectations. The reporting line for each line ministry is critical however the major issues lie on the fundamental processes built into our accountability framework.
Displeased with the old order, Comrade Taiwo Hassan-Soweto, National Coordinator of Education Rights Campaign (ERC) described it as “unnecessary and hyper-bureaucratic’ adding that it is not actually the fundamental causative factor for the myriad of problems plaguing public education in Lagos State.
“The state government criminal policy of underfunding public education and seconding its responsibility to mushroom private schools and their profit-hunting proprietors should be held responsible for this horrendous loss of human lives.
“Otherwise it could be wrongly averred that states which allow their ministry of education to function independently have great and thriving public education systems.
“Poor supervision, lax regulatory framework and the occasional mishaps and horrendous cost in human lives are the defining features of any society that submits the fate of its people to the profit interest of a few,” he said.