In his remarks at the Presidential Summit on Education held at the Old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja on Monday, President Buhari admitted that the state of education in Nigeria calls for a serious concern, adding that the problem was no longer a secret “that the quality of education t in Nigeria requires greater attention and improvement.”
“We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future,” he said.
Describing the summit as highly significant, President Buhari said Nigeria cannot progress beyond the level and standard of her education, pointing out that “today, it is those who acquire the most qualitative education, equipped with requisite skills and training, and empowered with practical knowhow that are leading the rest.”
He noted that one the primary roles of education was to build and sustain individual and society’s development.
“It renews and improves the economic, social, political and cultural aspects of any nation. Education upgrades the living standard of citizens and enables people to become better and more productive citizens. It is a human right that creates a safe, healthy and prosperous society. It changes the visions and perspectives of individuals, enhances critical decisions and improves democracy. Indeed education is paramount and necessary requirement for all-round development,” he said.
He told the gathering that Nigeria’s participation in all relevant international education fora together with his Administration’s investment in education and collaboration with development partners was an indication of high level of commitment towards ensuring that every capable Nigerian receives good quality education.
Attributing the numerous challenges being faced in education and all other sectors to “a result of historical abuses, mindless impunity and corruption,” President Buhari contended that with an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, “we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered.”
Still, he said his Administration was determined to turnaround the sector for the better. “We are already making appreciable progress in this respect. This summit must therefore, among other things, sharpen our strategies for addressing the challenges of basic and secondary education, teacher training and professional development; technical and vocational education.”
He charged participants at the summit to work to enhance quality in, and access to, higher education and other challenges in the sector that will debar us from attaining the SDGs and be among the top 20 economies in the world.
“It is my expectation that at the end of this summit, we shall come up with feasible, implementable but far-reaching action plans for the ministerial strategic plan that would make education play the pivotal role as the engine that drives national prosperity and development,” he said.
While acknowledging that there are numerous other competing demands and responsibilities from different sectors of the economy, the President however assured that his administration was committed to confronting and tackling the challenges in the education sector.
“This will be part of our deliberate policy of revitalizing education provisioning and capacity building,” he said.
With emphasis, President Buhari told the summit, “we must get it right in this country. To get it right means setting our education sector on the right path. No nation can achieve economic, social, political and cultural prosperity without a sound and functional education system. We should also bear in mind that the security and stability of the country hinges, to a large extent, on its ability to provide functional education to its citizens.”