FG Tasks NESG to Review Education Policy

FG Tasks NESG to Review 45-year-old Education Policy - Ademola Adeyemo and James Emejo President Goodluck Jonathan •  To spe...

FG Tasks NESG to Review 45-year-old Education Policy

- Ademola Adeyemo and James Emejo
060512F3.Goodluck-Jonathan.jpg - 060512F3.Goodluck-Jonathan.jpg

President Goodluck Jonathan
•  To spend N288.7bn on basic education in five years

President Goodluck Jonathan has challenged the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), to review the nation’s 45-year-old policy foundation of Nigeria’s education sector to meet current realities.
Jonathan said more than 40 years after, the policy foundation was ripe for review to determine its relevance and fine tune its adaptability to national objectives, in this 21st century.”
Speaking in Abuja at the opening of the 20th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES #20) themed:"Transforming Education through Partnerships for Global Competitiveness," he said government believed the quality of education could be significantly improved through effective partnership with the private sector, adding that so far government's policy direction on education was on the right path.
He said there was need for a kind of partnership between employers and education system, which would engenders job creation.
Represented by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who participated in a presidential policy dialogue alongside other eminent panelists, he said education must be well funded to restore dignity and boost teachers' commitment to their jobs.
Jonathan, who described the discussions as "open and honest" noted that access and quality were indispensable if education must be reformed.
He said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would consider and implement recommendations arising from the summit.
Jonathan said the education sector remained key to achieving his administration's transformation agenda.
He said government would continue to provide the political will needed to transform the sector to achieve its objectives.
He added that government was focusing on the reform of critical infrastructure including power to provide jobs for Nigerians.
President Jonathan's reassurance came on a day the supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, disclosed that the federal government had invested about N288.7 billion in basic education between 2009 and 2013.
Notwithstanding, he said there still existed gaps between extant programmes of tertiary institutions and the requirements in the  workplace as well as an epileptic academic calendar occasioned by industrial strike by staff unions among a heap of challenges.
Meanwhile, the capacity of local governments to adequately administer basic education was also debated with Managing Director and Chief Executive, Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Alex Oti, demanding that the responsibility of managing basic education at the grassroots level be removed from the local government authorities and given to the states.
He based his suggestion on the fact that the local government were often deprived of the funding needed to make basic education a success and that states should be better placed financially to handle that aspect.
But Sambo, who though agreed that the local governments had not done enough to improve basic education, said it would not be ideal to completely take away the responsibility from the local authorities since the states also had their own peculiar challenges.
Instead, he argued that states and their local governments should form a partnership to fund and manage basic education, adding that a legislative framework was required to alter the current arrangement.
The World Bank Vice-President, Human Development, Dr. Elizabeth King, who also participated in the presidential policy dialogue platform, said government must measure results from education policy initiatives as well as ensure that local governments are accountable for their contributions to the sector by monitoring and measuring performance.
She said there needed to be a change in the way education is currently viewed in the country, stressing that confidence needed to be instilled while technology should not be sidelined. King said human resource remained most important renewable asset.
Vice-President, International Partnerships, ACCC, Mr. Paul Brennan said government needed not to reinvent the wheels but benchmark performance against global standards and embrace international partnership.
The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Dutse, Prof. Jubril Amin called for greater autonomy of the university system while the administrator of New Horizons College, Minna, Mrs. Maryam Lemu said proposals by presidential task team on education reform should be implemented as a way of solve the deficit in the education system.
She also said efforts should be made to return values and disciple into the education system.
Meanwhile, Wike said of the total investment, about N144.6 billion was administered as UBE matching grants while about N142 billion was used to fund activities of 21 Federal Colleges of Education.
He said an additional N1 billion was spent on inclusive education including Literacy by Radio, Advocacy and Mobilisation, Revitalisation of Adult and Youth literacy projects as well as International development Partners' counterpart funding.
He said the sum of about N1 billion was also used to development of academic curriculum between 2011 and 2013.
According to him, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, also got N268.484 billion which allocated to the universities of which N233.3 billion had been accessed while the balance of N35.154 billion remained.
For the polytechnics, he said N129.33 billion was allocated out of which N116.99 billion had been accessed while the balance of N12.3 billion was yet to be tapped into.
Wike said the sum of N124.38 billion was allocated for colleges of education out of which N106.2 billion had been accessed while N18.14 billion was yet to be accessed by the institutions.
In addition to the funds released through TETfund, the minister said a total of N94.129 billion had been released to Federal Universities through the National University Commission for capital, direct teaching and laboratory cost, and teaching and research equipment.
For secondary education,Wike said a total sum of N39.695bn had been invested in Federal Unity Colleges between 2009 and 2013.


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