Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday identified training methods for reading and writing as well as the quality of teacher education as the bane of education.
Osinbajo said this in his address to the Annual Education Conference with the theme“Learning Opportunities for All – The Critical Role of Teachers’’, in Abuja.
He recommended investment in technology and new methods of teaching that could accelerate teaching, reading and writing as the best way to address the challenges.
“There are available methods today that can accelerate teaching, reading and writing.
“But the reason that they are not available in the public schools is because we are not investing enough; not just in technology but in new methods and ensuring that those children in public schools have access to some of the better methods of reading and writing.
“It is my respectful view that it is the responsibility of those of us who are educationists to think through the solutions for delivering relevant education with the very little resources available.’’
The vice president, however, said there was hope because the use of appropriate technology could close the education gap between the children of the rich and the poor.
“I strongly believe that the fastest way to bridge the gap between those who can afford the quality of education and those who cannot is technology.
“Technology also provides the means to leapfrog the huge knowledge gap created daily between the hemispheric North and South.
“Fortunately, technology is becoming cheaper and more intuitive.
“It is, therefore, quite clear that teacher education itself must radically change; teacher training must be technology-driven.
“I also think that a teacher must be trained in a much wider curriculum.
“A teacher must be trained in employability skills, project management, financial management and entrepreneurial skills and technology skills even programming for those who are interested.
“Training this new generation of young people is a new challenge.
“Today, we are training individuals who must learn to multi-task and compete in the global society.
“The best jobs will require complex skill; the good news is that this type of training is available and can be made much cheaper and more available.’’
The vice president expressed the hope that the conference would provide the platform for participants to engage in vigorous debate on some of the important issues affecting the future of education in the country.
According to him, the future of the country depends on education, adding that a lot of issues needed to be resolved, including the ideological underpinning of Education for All.
“Education is a tool of empowerment; the lack or inadequacy of it can also disempower; so, education can create or deepen inequality in the society.
He said such could create a well-educated few with access to best opportunities and others who are simply not qualified enough to take advantage of the best opportunities.
He also noted the huge disparity between the quality of public education at primary and secondary levels and what obtained in private schools in the country, adding that it should be stopped.
According to him, there is segregation in Nigerian schools based on the income and the standard of education of parents.
He said it was important to engage in technology in public schools to bring the quality to the standard in private schools.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, in his speech, said that the ministry was interested in ensuring that the teaching profession was not a dumping ground for unqualified people.
Adamu said that the low quality of entrance into the profession would be addressed while training institutions would be made to match the demand and supply.
He also said efforts were being made to improve the welfare and incentives for teachers as well as ensure adequate professional development for them.
He said quality education was a right of the citizens, adding that children in disadvantaged and conflict zones must be captured in the provision of quality and inclusive education for all.
In his lead paper on the conference theme, Prof. Kwame Akyeampong of University of Sussex, United Kingdom, said that Nigeria had a wide gap to fill in the global education map.
Akyeampong, however, added that the country had increasing learning opportunities while teachers should close the wide gaps for the development of the country.
He noted that 38 percent of Nigerian school children were not learning the basics in education, which in turn, affected the quality of professionals and teachers in the society.
He underscored the need to produce teachers who could bridge the cultural and religious gaps in the country and advised the administration to improve the learning opportunities for the less privileged.
The don further recommended the adoption of a three-part strategy of improving the quality of teaching as well as developing coherent, systematic approach to managing teachers effectively.
He also suggested the training of teachers who could help to rebuild education services in emergencies.