Stakeholders have proposed the need for government recognition to further boost public-private partnership (PPP) in the promotion of the education sector. They made this known while speaking at the 2017 BusinessDay Nigeria Education Summit in Lagos on Tuesday.
Under the theme “Realigning Education with Market Demand: The Role of Private Sector as Catalyst”, the summit attracted key players from the government, private sector, advocacy groups and academia.
Speaking with EduCeleb.com at the sidelines of the summit, the General Manager, External Relations at Nigeria LNG, Mr. Kudo Eresia-Eke noted the need for government to reciprocate the goodwill extended by corporate organisations to the education sector in order to encourage more organisations in supporting the sector.
“The reason why corporate organisations get into education is because they want goodwill. If the government celebrates organisations that go out of their way and put their money in education, many more of them would come,” he said.
“Government needs to encourage those who are supporting education already. So, when others see that government is encouraging and acknowledging them, more would key into the sector. The more that come, the better for Nigeria,” he added.
Eresia-Eke clarified that the encouragement required of government from current corporate players in the education sector is not necessarily monetary but recognition.
In his words, “Just a mention would do. Let the Minister of Education or the Minister of Information come up just once a year to say that ‘These are the exemplary contributors to education. They have shown that they want Nigeria to grow and this is how they have done it.’ Don’t you think that would encourage more others to join in supporting education?”
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Publisher of BusinessDay Nigeria, Mr Frank Aigbogun said the summit was looking at converting challenges in the education sector, to opportunities for investments”.
According to Aigbogun “What we seek today is to galvanize interest, creating a catalyst for the kind of PPP that is required for positioning education as a bedrock for development in the country”.
Aigbogun stressed that the objective of the BusinessDay Education summit is to Secure and strengthen PPP frameworks that can strengthen strategic investments in the sector.
He emphasised that education is the best investment that a nation can make to tackle poverty, exclusion and inequality. The renowned Publisher noted that quality education mattered for the 43 million population in Nigeria under 10 years and the 18million unemployed and under-employed youth.
Tripartite model for developing Nigeria’s education sector
Meanwhile, the keynote speaker at the event Professor Pai Obanya proposed a tripartite model for developing Nigeria’s education sector, between the government, industry and civil society.
Obanya, who is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Ibadan noted that Nigeria must move from scratching the surface approach, to a pragmatic step in the education sector, decrying the fact that the nation has an examination system, not an effective education system.
The scholar identified six areas the country has to address to the root level, in advancing the education sector. They include policy environment, access and quality, quality and relevance, management and efficiency, teaching and relevance, and resourcing.
He warned that the skills mismatch was fuelling unemployability in the country, which requires a National review of the curriculum in Tertiary education that fits with the 21st century market realities.
On the way forward Obanya suggested a new philosophy in the education sector, the breaking of the talk-to-action jinx in policy making, a national smart city initiative driving education, good politics for good education and the integration of the education policy in the economic planning of the nation.
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki who was represented by Senator Tijjani Kaura( the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND) reassured stakeholders that the 8th National Assembly remained committed to legislations, that will support PPP models in transforming the landscape of education in Nigeria.
The one day event featured an education fair as well as the launch of the “Lagos School Guide”, a book put together by the BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit.