University dons urge stakeholders in education to focus on funding, learning, teaching policy
Some university Dons have urged stakeholders in education sector to focus more attention on funding, learning and teaching policies and assessment to monitor the achievement of the students and teachers in schools.
One of the discussants, Prof. Steve Nwokeocha, the Executive Director, Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA), South Africa, made the call at the Kogi State Education Summit on Monday in Lokoja.
The education summit was organised by Kogi Ministry of Education, Science & Technology, in collaboration with Participation Intiative For Behavioral Change In Development and ActionAid Nigeria (PIBCID-ACTIONAID), as part of activities to mark two years of Gov. Yahaya Bello in office.
Nwokeocha said that there had been no meaningful monitoring assessment of teachers and pupils in terms of learning and teaching in Nigeria except WAEC, stressing the need to focus more attention on that area to reform the education sector.
“Education reform is continous, most of the achievements the students and pupils made in education around the world is based on Students and Teachers Ratio, which has been difficult to achieve in Nigeria.
“Education makes us to be useful in life; I will like to see the sector in Nigeria where we would have a smaller students and teachers’ ratio. We also need a professional standard as a compass for the teachers,” Nwokeocha said.
On his part, Prof Yakubu Ochefu, former Vice Chancellor, Kwararata University, reiterated the need for government and other stakeholders to invest heavily in education, stressing that it was not possible to use foreign aid to develop education system in Nigeria.
According to Ochefu, the necessary funding must be allocated to the sector because countries that have achieved great feat in education are those that have invested heavily in the sector.
“Education needs adequate funding, even if it means shutting down 80 per cent of other variables to strengthen the sector. We must create finance funding for the education sector,” Ochefu said.
Another discussant, Prof. Marietu Tenuche, Dean, School of Post Graduate Studies, Kogi State University, said that there should be a strategic plan for every level of education from primary to tertiary, saying strategic experts were needed to draw up the plan.
She added: “Adequate resources should be generated to achieve those strategic plans. As stakeholders, we must rethink how education should be funded. We advise governments to allocate more fund to education according to UNESCO 26 per cent standard”.
In his remarks, Gov. Yahaya Bello, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Simon Achuba, expressed gratitude to God for making the Administration to successfully spend two years in office in spite all the numerous challenges it faced at the beginning.
Bello restated that ‘education is a learning process’ both former and informer, stressing that every man needs education which has brought light to the existence of man in terms of communication, movement, technology among others.
He reiterated the government commitment to make education a priority among the five thematic areas of the New Direction Blueprint, adding that the government has achieved a lot in terms of infrastructure development in schools across the state.
The governor added that over 1500 state’s civil servants with fake certificates have been shown the way out of the civil service, stressing that the government was mindful of the education of the citizenry.
Earlier, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, said education has been identified to be a critical ingredient in promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the society to addressing developmental issues.
According to her, the world has increased in knowledge and mankind through learning and skills improvement and adaptations have provided solutions to meet the needs.
“The summit aims at reviewing the progress made in education thus far and develop a clear achievable agenda for the next two years in the short term as well as far reaching long term focus with a view to addressing urgent challenges.
“Kogi Government recognizes the important roles of strategic partnerships and collaborations in addressing issues affecting the education sector in the state, as well as the achievement of the set goals in Government Policy Thrust documents of the New Direction Blueprint,” Osikoya said.
The commissioner highlighted the numerous achievements the present administration in education sector which included: school census conducted in 2015/2016, acquired 22 hectares of land for the establishment of Education Resource Centre (ERC), among several others.
Mrs Funmilayo Oyefusi, the Interim Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, said education is one of the basic fundamental human rights that is central to achieving all other rights, saying over 50 million people did not have access to education globally.
“In Nigeria over 10.5 million (Highest in the world) school age children are out of school with Kogi State accounting to 24 per cent of this population.
“ActionAid Nigeria has been in Kogi since 2007 working 2 women, youth and children in 14 communities across the three senatorial districts of the state.
“Our work cut across human security and emergencies, promoting rights of children to education, women economic empowerment and social inclusion.
“We have supported about 14 communities with basic social amenities worth N180 million where they are mostly needed,” Oyefusi said.