President Muhammadu Buhari has affirmed that the prosperity of every nation depends on the functional education operational within it. This is as he assured of an improved education sector.
He said this on Monday during his opening remarks at a special retreat of the Federal Executive Council on the challenges facing the Education sector in Nigeria themed: “Education in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects”. The event held at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
In his words, “No nation can achieve economic, social, political and cultural prosperity without a sound and functional education system.”
Buhari congratulated the Minister of Education “and the entire education family for setting the stage for this national conversation aimed at refocusing the education sector not only to overcome the numerous challenges, but also to strengthen the Ministerial Strategic Plan.”
Noting that the significance of the summit is obvious, Buhari added that it is those who acquire the most qualitative education, equipped with requisite skills and training, and empowered with practical know-how that are leading others.
He continued: “We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future. This administration is committed to revitalizing our education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive.
Roles of Education
Buhari noted that education is pivotal to individual and societal development, thus leading to improvement in all other areas.
“One of the primary roles of education is to build and sustain individual and society’s development. 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.
“Nigeria’s participation in all relevant international education fora together with our investment in education and collaboration with development partners is an indication of high level of commitment towards ensuring that every capable Nigerian receives good quality education.
“These efforts are justifiable only to the extent that schooling is effective in promoting the realization of national objectives, attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Education For All (EFA) by 2030.
“These targets are, happily, in harmony with the manifesto and the CHANGE agenda of our Party, the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“It is also in agreement with my campaign promises during the 2015 elections exercise and in pursuit of the yearnings and aspirations of the generality of Nigerian citizens.
Problems bedeviling education in Nigeria
The President did not hesitate to acknowledge the problems bedeviling education in Nigeria.
“That our country is facing numerous challenges in education and all other sectors as a result of historical abuses, mindless impunity and corruption is not news to anyone” he said.
“With an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, to mention some of the challenges, we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered,” he continued.
“We are determined to turnaround the sector for the better. 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.
“The summit must 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,” the Nigerian leader added.
Dignitaries present at the summit include Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, members of the Federal Executive Council and different heads of departments and agencies, academics, and other stakeholders within the education sector.