Nigeria’s 2015 general elections as the new talking point, has attracted global attention with great admiration for the efforts and resilience of the citizens.
Soon after the election produced General MuhamaduBuhari as the next president, several people and groups have been setting agenda for the incoming administration.
Expectedly though, the populace anticipates that governance would be given a new face and new policies would be brought to the front burner for consideration. So, it is posited that the education sector, being one of the pivots of purposeful government, should not be relegated.
In respect to this, the Daily Times went to town to garner opinions of Nigerians and the stakeholders,in setting what they termed as, education agenda for the incoming administration.
The calls for further improvement is imminent, going by the huge investment of the current government in the education sector, which is seen as unprecedentedas recently declared by the minister of education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau that, the government has increased the allocation from 234 Billion Naira in 2010 to 495 Billion Naira in 2014.
Dr. Amos Adeniyi, a private education consultant in Ibadan, Oyo State, believes that the sector as a bedrock of development must as a matter of fact be the major focus during the next administration.
He said: ”Education sector must be greatly prioritised and focused in the next administration, because if this sector is not put at the front burner, then the nation will greatly improve”.
Adeniyi further highlighted that the incoming government must be clear on the policies it wants to entrench at primary and secondary levels. Most essentially, Buhari must bring all stakeholders together to a roundtable to galvanise ideas on the way forward.
To a renownedprivate school proprietor, Chief AkinotuAlade, advancing qualitative teacher education in Nigeria is paramount.
According to Alade, if there are good teachers at the Basic levels of schools, like the Primary and Secondary, the foundation will be solid enough for further educational development.
His words: “The dearth of good teachers in Nigeria’shas been the major problems of our education system. For us to produce good products in the sector, the quality of our teachers must not be joked with”.
Also for the budgetary improvement for the education sector, the incoming government has been advised to ensure the compliancewith the United National Educational, Scientific and cultural organization UNESCO policy, which stipulates that 35 percent,of the total budgetbe allocated to education. To the experts, if this is strictly followed, the sector will not suffer in salient areas like research, infrastructural development, tools and requisite trainings for educational administrators.
Lending his voice in this respect was a former Oyo State legislator, Hon. Job Akande, who said that “the need to jack up the budgetary allocation for the sector is essential. By this, everything that concerns the education sector shall then be handled thoroughly and expeditiously”.
Among other suggestions for the incoming Buhari government are to encourage state governments to establish more tertiary institutions and upgrade existing ones, the need to improve the conditions of service and working environment to attract and retain the best academics, encouraging self-reliance through internal funding and financial stability, and most importantly, there must be anentrenchment of a very robust labour government relationship in our institutions with a spirited effort at resolving all outstanding labour related issues.