The Governor of Edo State, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, has said that there is need for strong political will on the part of government at all levels to tackle the rot in the education sector.
The governor who participated in a debate on “Leadership and ownership in Nigerian education” at the 20th Nigerian Economic Summit stated that the educational system required exceptional leadership to enable the sector produce graduates that can compete in the global environment.
Present at the debate are the Chairman Senate Committee on Education, Mr Uche Chukwumerijie; Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Sola David-Borha; Minister of National Planning, Amb Bashir Yuguda, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oye Ibidapo-Obe and the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State Prof. Modupe Adelabu.
Oshiomhole said there is need for government at all levels to show courage in order to tackle the vested interest that is affecting the progress of the education sector.
For instance, he said many graduates that were trained to become teachers never got the opportunity to teach in schools owing to the fact that some of them never had political Godfathers that would assist them to get jobs.
He said, “The quality of Nigeria leadership deteriorated right from the days of the military up to the moment that we got our priorities wrong, we began to see the kind of rot that has characterised our schools.
“The way forward is for us as leaders to go back to the basics and ask ourselves what are we here for?
“How can we continue to live with this paradox of people who are trained to teach and they have no job and those who were never trained to teach are in our classrooms and we don’t have the political will to put them out and bring in the right guys.
“So its all about leadership, its about courage, and its about conviction. So for me, we need a political leadership at all levels to go back to the basic.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group has recommended sustainable structural education reforms that would create a public expenditure tracking system for education output and outcomes.
The group in its recommendation delivered to Vice President Namadi Sambo at the end of the summit also called for a reduction in the number of agencies under the ministry of education.
It also advocated a funding system that would establish a public private partnership framework to increase quantum of private investments in education
The group also called for a review in the conditions of employment for teachers in the areas of wages, career paths, recruitment and selection process.
Declaring the summit close, Sambo said the recommendations of the report when presented to the Federal Executive Council would be given adequate attention.
This, he said, became imperative as the foundation of all successful countries is a function of effective education system.
He said the government is committed to addressing the deficiencies of the Nigerian education sector adding that with the high Gross Domestic Product rate of about seven per cent, the prospect of Nigeria is huge in the immediate future.
He said several policy initiatives are currently being put in place to facilitate access to education in Nigeria.