Speaking on Monday, Nov. 13, during a special retreat of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the challenges facing the Education sector in Nigeria themed: “Education in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects”, the President expressed his administration’s commitment to revitalizing the nation’s education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive.
The president decried a situation where teachers were not different from their students in terms of learning, noting that the state of Nigeria’s education sector called for a serious concern given that 13.2 million children were out of school.
He stated that the problem was no longer a secret “that the quality of education in Nigeria requires greater attention and improvement.”
“We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future,” Buhari said.
Describing the Presidential Summit on Education which held at the Old Banquet Hall of the State House as highly significant, Buhari said Nigeria cannot progress beyond the level and standard of her education, pointing out that “today, it is those who acquire the most qualitative education, equipped with requisite skills and training, and empowered with practical knowhow that are leading the rest.”
He noted that one of the primary roles of education was to build and sustain individual and society’s development.
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“It renews and improves the economic, social, political and cultural aspects of any nation. Education upgrades the living standard of citizens and enables people to become better and more productive citizens. It is a human right that creates a safe, healthy and prosperous society. It changes the visions and perspectives of individuals, enhances critical decisions and improves democracy. Indeed education is paramount and necessary requirement for all-round development,” Buhari said.
According to the President, Nigeria’s participation in all relevant international education fora together with his administration’s investment in education and collaboration with development partners was an indication of the high level of commitment towards ensuring that every capable Nigerian receives good quality education.
He attributed the numerous challenges being faced in education and all other sectors to “a result of historical abuses, mindless impunity and corruption.”
The President stated that the effect of decades of neglect which the education sector has suffered can be clearly seen in the estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials.
Stressing that his administration was determined to turnaround the sector for the better, Buhari said:
“We are already making appreciable progress in this respect. This summit must therefore, among other things, sharpen our strategies for addressing the challenges of basic and secondary education, teacher training and professional development; technical and vocational education.”
He therefore, charged participants at the summit to work to enhance quality in, and access to, higher education and other challenges in the sector that will debar us from attaining the SDGs and be among the top 20 economies in the world.
“It is my expectation that at the end of this summit, we shall come up with feasible, implementable but far-reaching action plans for the ministerial strategic plan that would make education play the pivotal role as the engine that drives national prosperity and development,” he said.
While acknowledging that there are numerous other competing demands and responsibilities from different sectors of the economy, the President however assured that his administration was committed to confronting and tackling the challenges in the education sector.
“This will be part of our deliberate policy of revitalizing education provisioning and capacity building.
“We must get it right in this country. To get it right means setting our education sector on the right path. No nation can achieve economic, social, political and cultural prosperity without a sound and functional education system.
“We should also bear in mind that the security and stability of the country hinges, to a large extent, on its ability to provide functional education to its citizens.