By Ajibola Abayomi
On the of 9th December 2019the Cece Yara, Rise Up Advocacy Group met with the Director General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Lagos State Ministry of Education, – Mrs. Biola Seriki-Ayeni, and other officials.
The Executive Director of Cece Yara Foundation Mrs. Grace Ketefe commended the Permanent Secretary and Office of Education Quality Assurance for being pro-active with cases requiring child protection interventions.
While Esther Osunro, the Programs Coordinator with the Cece Yara Foundation on behalf of the Advocacy Group applauded the Lagos State Government for trailing the blaze in implementing child protection policy in schools through its Ministries and Parastatals.
The State’s decisive action through its Executive Order on Safeguarding and Child Protection has been transformational and very laudable, given the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the state with a reported 200% increase in incidence between 2017 and 2018 (punch.ng.com).
She also stated that under the “Harnessing Child Protection in Lagos State Schools Project” the Foundation will work with 50 pilot schools in the Lagos state to ensure that the policy is fully implemented in these pilot schools.
She further stated that more effective measures such as pronouncement by a key decision maker for all schools in Lagos State to fully and effectively implement the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy will go a long way is harnessing child protection in Lagos State schools.
The Director General- Quality Assurance, Ministry of Education who was pleased with the initiative pledgedthe Ministry full support of the project.
She said the office of the Quality Assurance is open and will work with civil society organisations especially the Advocacy Group to review the quality Assurance Checklists for schools to include more proactive indicators to address child protection concerns, she also mentioned that the Office of Education Quality Assurance is working on creating more awareness/ robust campaign about child protection Policy.
She further stated that teachers are mandated by law to report any concerns about children, conduct training for teachers both in private and public school. The Office will ensure that all schools conduct background checks for staffs in child-centred institutions will be reinforced.
The members of the Child Advocacy Group are Grace Ketefe (The Cece Yara Foundation), Olanrewaju Oniyitan (Sustainable Education and Development -SEED), Esther Osunro (The Cece Yara Foundation) Olatunde Edem, (Hope House Counselling),Bukola Lameed (Safety Republic International), Tiltilade Raji (Tech for Nigeria), Blessing Okon (Education Trust Foundation), Temilayo Odufuwa (Teach for Nigeria), Samuel Pender (Foundation for Injured Lights Mission), Oluwatosin Folarin (Cece Yara Foundation), Bunmi Adefisayo (Teach for Nigeria), Victoria Uzoma(Human Development Initiative -HDI), Tonia Emetarom (Women at Risk International Foundation-WARIF).
In conclusion, the DG endorsed this Advocacy group as the “Technical Working Group”,it will hold quarterly meeting with the office of Quality Assurance to strategize, review the program and activities for effective implementation of the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.