The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration needs N1 trillion annually over the next four years to fulfil the All Progressive Congress (APC) 13 campaign promises on education, Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu, said on Monday.
The minister said this at the Special Retreat of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the Challenges Facing the Education Sector in Nigeria at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Adamu also spoke on the need to prioritise education in the country, saying that if education is weak or dysfunctional, the society and its development would also be weak and dysfunctional.
“And all change – including our very Change Agenda – begins with education; because it is education that shapes, corrects and restores society. But to be able to restore order to society, education has to be made a national priority. This truism is valid for every society and is of particular relevance for our society which, we all agree, is confronted with a litany of challenges and deficits,” he said.
The minister said civilization is at risk and in great peril when access to proper and quality education is denied, stressing that such “a denial can lead to a number of undesirable consequences, the most pernicious of which are Value erosion and character failure among the youths who are supposed to become leaders of the society.”
“It is also high time we paid attention to teachers and to teaching as a profession. Mass literacy, adult education, distance learning, nomadic education and the rest are all important; but we cannot deliver them without giving respectability and renewed stature to the teacher.
“We must learn to make education attractive to the best brains, makes its study free, its outcome lucrative – and accord it the respect it deserves. That is why we must attract and retain the best brains into the classroom as it is done in many other nation’s of the world.
“I am strongly persuaded that if we offer automatic scholarship to students who take education, and automatic employment and a preferential compensation package to those who take to teaching as a profession, our system will improve tremendously. If we give regulatory agencies the teeth to bite and do their work, mediocre teachers will soon disappear from our classrooms,” he said.
He said there was the need to harmonize the learning and teaching that transpire the country’s tertiary institutions and redefine national goals periodically.
He also stressed the need for the country to return to the national development plan if it truly wants to develop or it would remain one vast landscape of unconnected contracts and disconnected researchers unable to connect their work with national development policies and vision.