By NBF News

The Fashola administration in Lagos has embarked on massive rehabilitation of public schools right from the onset. This was with its belief that a good and conducive learning environment will build men and women with knowledge and skills that would make them economically productive and self-reliant.

Before the advent of the new democratic rule 11 years ago, the state of public schools in Lagos, like everywhere else in the country, was very deplorable.

Three government bodies are at the forefront of the wave of change. They are the state's Ministry of Education, SUBEB (Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board) and SCRPS (Special Committee for Rehabilitation of Public Schools).

This has resulted in the construction of new classroom blocks with a total of 960 classrooms while a total of 400 classrooms have been rehabilitated in various schools across the state under SCRPS alone.

Learning materials including textbooks, desks, chairs and tables have been distributed to pupils across the state. The state government has also constructed model blocks in some secondary schools in an effort to kick-start a revolutionized approach to learning in public schools. Examples of the new classroom blocks can be found at Agidingbi Grammar School, Birch Freeman High School and Gaskiya Secondary School.

In each school, there is a newly-constructed block of four floors made up of 20 classrooms equipped with white magnetic boards and other teaching aid facilities that will host one thousand students. There are also four state-of-the-art laboratories for physics, chemistry, biology and information technology (IT). There are also modern toilet facilities, student's library, Principal's office and staff rooms, and 240 seater school hall (auditorium).  The IT laboratory has space for 50 students.

The government hopes to revolutionize learning in schools by establishing an information technology platform.

The governor realized the value of partnering the largest software company in the world, Microsoft, and the value that real would bring to Lagos State.

The Microsoft IT Academy will be implemented in all three pilot schools and provide the world class Microsoft official curriculum along with many other free features that this partnership will bring.

Deux Project Limited, in partnership with Microsoft and its local support group, is providing laptops with Microsoft academy software and a training package for the Agidingbi junior and senior secondary school.  Dr Tunji Olowolafe, MD of Deux Project Limited wholeheartedly supports this initiative.

Speaking on the collaboration, Ken Spann, Development Platform Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, said 'The Microsoft IT Academy programme offers an affordable solution to deliver high quality affordable ICT education created just for schools.  The programme includes curricular that can be used in the classroom to supplement students' individual learning needs'.

The Microsoft IT Academy program will be of strategic importance in revolutionizing learning in Lagos because of its profile. 'It is a program designed for accredited academic institutions worldwide. The program provides educators with tools they need to effectively train students on Microsoft technologies, prepare students for the global economy, and then create a skilled community.

'The program is particularly useful in our environment where training resources are scarce.  The students will benefit from the curricular, courseware and online learning the program offers. The schools and teachers would benefit as well from the available curricular that can be used in the classroom or to supplement students' individual learning needs. Deux Project Limited will be responsible for the overall management of the new IT Academy.  The organisation will work closely with Microsoft to ensure that this Academy is ready and operational by ensuring that all hardware and software requirements are met and that the schools' teachers are fully ICT trained.'

According to Dr. Walter Olatunde, Project Director, Deux Project Limited, 'We are proud to partner Microsoft on this laudable objective.  We will ensure that both students and staff get access to the best technology available.

The Microsoft IT Academy will provide over 175 eLearning courses to students wanting to advance their software knowledge. Microsoft will provide Free email and collaboration tools as part of the Microsoft IT Academy.