The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board’s (LASUBEB) EKOEXCEL marks World Book Day by celebrating the incredible milestone of distributing over 300 million learning materials to all 1,013 Lagos State public primary schools under the EKOEXCEL programme with close to a million children benefiting.

World Book and Copyright Day is a celebration to promote the enjoyment of books and reading. Each year, on 23 April, celebrations take place all over the world to recognise the scope of books – a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books.

The theme for World Book Day 2023 is “Indigenous Languages.” The theme is focused on the native languages of a country. Last year saw the start of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-32) and it is a UN priority to uphold and promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism. Indigenous and local languages feature as part of the World Book Capital Network Charter, and the Charter recognizes a less rigid concept of ‘the book’, i.e., acknowledging various forms of literature (including oral traditions). For World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April, Indigenous Languages was the message UNESCO focused on.

In Lagos State public primary schools, access to new and improved content-rich text books, national curriculum focused and those written under the Lagos State Unified Scheme of work have been distributed to all Lagos State public primary schools which has led to pupils becoming more energetic, joyful and being much more eager to go to school and enhance their learning experience.

Social Studies for Primary School, Nigeria Primary English, MAN Primary Mathematics, Civic Education (with Security Education), Modular Christian Religious Studies for Primary Schools Revised, Rope of Allah Islamic Studies for Primary Schools (Lower Basic Education) Revised Edition, Táíwò àti Kéhìndé Ìwé Keta Àpilèse Òtun fún UBE, Agric Science Book, STAN Basic Science and Tech are a few of the multitude of learning materials, which include books in indigenous languages, that have been distributed to help improve learning impact and improve literacy and numeracy skills for pupils in Lagos State public primary schools.

The process of kitting and distributing learning materials to schools starts with accessing the number of active pupils in a specific term and then the total number of classrooms are collated from the EKOEXCEL report server. The EKOEXCEL Spotlight then provides the list of relevant learning materials needed for production which is then sent to the Lagos State Printing Corporation. Production of the learning materials is initiated only after relevant government stakeholders have approved the printing inventory.

After production is completed, the learning materials are then sent to all relevant LGEA’s where they are audited to ensure quality adherence and then head teachers arrange for collection of the learning materials to be cascaded to their respective schools.

Commenting on the significance of the day, LASUBEB’s Executive Chairman, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King said the body would continue to improve pupils’ learning by deploying quality learning materials which have surpassed over 300 million copies since inception of the EKOEXCEL programme.

He explained that it would justify Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s massive investment in education by ensuring that the pupils are literate and numerate.

“In line with this year’s theme, it is very important that our pupils have an understanding of their dialect. This helps them to confidently communicate and relate with people anywhere and respectfully.

“Our local language helps us to communicate our desires, feelings and opinions to other people and this is why it is important that our pupils are also taught in their mother tongue. It benefits the child in diverse ways.

“Furthermore, we produce pupils who can operate confidently and optimally in the 21st-century knowledge-based economy. We agree with what the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said about books being vital vehicles to access, transmit and promote education, science, culture and information worldwide. We will ensure enough reading materials go around to our pupils. as we prepare for a new term,” he said.

At EKOEXCEL, every classroom is equipped with modern materials which further guarantee a rich learning environment for pupils. This makes learning fun and gets pupils more interested in classroom activities.

Pupils are more energetic and enthusiastic about learning. Pupils are eager to come to school and love the high energy cheers provided in a positive learning environment.

Lagos State is building a system that delivers equity in education, removing social and economic limits for children by providing quality education to all public primary schools including disadvantaged children enrolled through the “leave no child behind” campaign of the state.