Pupils of Mawumadoka Children Foundation at Oko-Agbon, whose video of singing the National Anthem in a water-logged area of Makoko, are set to be enrolled in public primary schools for access to basic education.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Ganiu Lawal.
In the statement, the state Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo noted that the case of Mawumadoka Children Foundation has shown the challenges unregistered low-cost schools face in school.
Part of the statement read: “Lagos State Government officials have visited the site of the orphanage and school operated by Mawumadoka Children Foundation at Oko-Agbon, off Iwaya Road, where pupils were shown in a video observing assembly in a water-logged area of Makoko, Lagos Mainland.
“The foundation owners said the viral video was shot by a team from a Church to raise funds for the rebuilding of the orphanage and the small space being used as school premises.
“The kids were asked to pose for the video in the dirty water to attract sympathy so that funds could be raised to rebuild the orphanage.
“However, the orphanage had been demolished by the foundation and sand-filled to pave the way for a proposed new building by the time the team visited.
“Officials of the Church, who were present during the first visit, confirmed that the video was shot in June this year and that the uniforms worn by the pupils were bought from the proprietress of a defunct school near the orphanage.
“According to the Church, the video, which has been criticized as an abuse of the pupils’ innocence, was meant to evoke sympathy from donors.
“There are six public schools in the area, but some parents prefer to send their wards to the orphanage, which incorporated school lessons as the population of the children continued to grow.
“In fact, many of the older children in the community attend Adekunle Primary School and other public schools around the area, but the Foundation retains the younger pupils.
“The Lagos State House of Assembly invited the Mawumadoka Foundation officials and stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education and its agencies, on the issue.
“The meeting resulted in another visit by the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon. Ganiyu Okanlawon Sanni who led members of the committee on a fact-finding mission to the community, alongside the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, the Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Princess Adebowale Aderemi, Executive Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King and other top government officials.
“The six public schools in the area are enough to accommodate all the children.
“As part of the short term measure to ensure the children of the community have access to quality education, the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, LASUBEB, will register pupils within the community into the following six public schools:
“Adekunle Anglican Primary School, Makoko Primary School, Ayetoro African Church Primary School, Fazil Omar Primary School, Ahmadiya Primary School, and Talimu Islamiya Primary School.
“The Ministry, in collaboration with the Office of Civic Engagement, will continue to encourage residents to access quality education in public schools as provided by the State Government.
“However, Commissioner for Education Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo has noted that the Makoko orphanage/school has thrown up once again the challenge posed by unregistered low-cost schools in parts of the State.
“We are doing everything possible through inter-agency collaboration to ease the process of approval and get the schools standardized; it is a cause of action this Government is seriously committed to.
“The State is also working with public and private institutions to support low-cost schools and give them access to resources and funding to improve their schools.
“The Ministry will continue to engage members of the community on the need to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all school-age children in Makoko and other adjoining areas,” the release explained.