A Professor of Economics, Perekunah Bright Eregha, has advised the Federal Government to invest adequately in education and make funding of the sector a priority.
Eregha, a senior lecturer at Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Epe, made the call in a paper delivered at the 10th anniversary of Inspiring Nigeria’s Vanguard of Exceptionally Noble Talents (INVENT) in Lagos.
He pointed out that without education, the country goes nowhere.
He said: “A country cannot grow beyond its human resources, and if there is anywhere fund should be allocated the more, it should be in education.”
Eregha said more priority should be given to public education, with a specific focus on youths, noting that if government sufficiently funds the sector, every youth will be in school and society will be much better for it.
“Skills demand has changed. It is not about being medical doctors or working in oil companies. The world has moved from that to data science. Data sciences are the next crude oil of the world. We are talking about machine learning and artificial intelligence. Some of the data science companies are doing very well, while most of the oil companies are struggling and closing down. It tells Nigerians that the world has changed and in Nigeria currently, we have youth unemployment that is more than 50 per cent. Generally, unemployment in Nigeria is about 33.5 per cent.
“Therefore, people need to shift their focus to skills that are in high demand than the general things we used to do before. I am very happy some youths are tapping into data science opportunities. Just with their laptops, I mean those who are not into Internet fraud, companies in developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom are employing them. Some youths don’t have university degrees but acquired the right skills and with it, they are making good dollars in less than two to three hours job,”he added.
Principal facilitator, Invent Youth Leadership Initiative, Mr. Elijah Olupona, noted that the event is to prepare youths and secondary school students for future challenges.
We started in 2012 and it has been 10 years of empowering and equipping the next generation of visionaries and transformative leaders for Nigeria. We needed to equip the next generation to know that leadership rest on their shoulders.
“So, we are not building career leaders, but we believe every vacuum of the society is a career and we need to fill it.
“The only people that can step up the game are our youths and that is why we are doing this. We can build homegrown individuals across sectors that would help fix manpower requirements in Nigeria,” he said.
Olupona noted that in the past years, over 5,000 students had participated in the leadership summit, while about 1.500 students have been trained on mentorship.
The Tide gathered that the summit started in 2012, was attended by secondary school students from Lagos State. The project is a mentorship programme, which focuses on knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing. The project is a two-phase initiative.
Education: UNICEF Raises Fresh Concern Over Learning Crisis In Nigeria
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised a fresh concern over the learning crisis Nigeria is currently grappling with, urging stakeholders, particularly the government at all levels to, as a matter of priority, take stronger actions and commitments towards addressing the challenge.
The global agency noted that the crisis, particularly at the basic education level is stalling meaningful development in the country and globally by extension.
The Education Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, Yetunde Oluwatosin, raised the concern at a two-day media dialogue organised by UNICEF Nigeria in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency, Lagos State, and the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board, recently.
The workshop with newsmen from print, broadcast and online media from the South-West region as participants, has “Turning the Tide on Nigeria’s Learning Crisis” as its theme.
Making a presentation and quoting from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), Oluwatosin disclosed that 73 per cent of Nigeria’s children, aged 10 years below, with the majority in the North and from the poorest families and in rural communities, were struggling to read or comprehend simple text, while an alarming nine out of every 10 children (90%) in sub-Saharan Africa generally were also confronting with learning difficulty.
She also noted that while only one out of 14 children between ages seven and 14 years could demonstrate fundamental skills, only 25 per cent have numeracy skills capable of solving simple mathematical problems.
Oluwatosin equally pointed out that although up to 73 per cent of Nigeria’s youths were literate, only seven per cent possessed the necessary ICT skills required for the digital economy while just eight per cent of children from the poorest families attend school compared to 78 per cent of their peers from the richest homes.
She said all these conditions, among others, are widening the inequality gaps between the children from the poorest homes and those from the richest families and also between those living in urban and rural communities.
She therefore recommended that the trend would need to be reversed otherwise it would be difficult to lift many children and young adults in the country out of extreme poverty and also out of criminal activities.
She, however, attributed the crises to a number of factors including limited infrastructure, inadequate funding, gender parity, shortage of qualified teachers, poor delivery system, and insufficient learning data and materials, among others.
She emphasised UNICEF’s efforts in filling the gap in a way it can including provision of learning materials for over 1.8 million children between 2018 and 2022 and further plans to reach another 4.8 million children primarily in the North, by 2027.
NUT Reacts To Threat By RSG On Penalisation Of Public Schools Principals, Head Teachers
Threat by the Commissioner, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Prof Chinedu Mmom to sack Head Teachers and Principals who contravene government policies on free education has generated more reactions.
Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Rivers State, Mr Collins Echikpu has said the principals in public schools are facing challenges that are drastically affecting the smooth running of the school administration due to lack of payment of impress by the ministry.
Echikpu clarified that some of the levies collected from parents through their wards in these public schools were used in the day to day running of the school activities.
The NUT chairman called on the state government to implement the promotion of teachers, so as to improve their efficiency and effective service delivery.
“We expect the state government to do the needful by implementing the promotion of teachers so as to encourage them to efficiently and effectively discharge their duties as expected”, Collins said.
Meanwhile, some Head Teachers in the public schools in Rivers State are calling for proper management of teachers in the state.
Some of the Head Teachers who spoke during a meeting with the Commissioner for Education in Rivers State, said lack of proper management of teachers in the public schools is responsible for the challenges facing the education sector in the state.
RSG Set To Penalise Public Schools Extorting Students
Rivers State Ministry of Education has warned principals in public schools against extortion of fees from parents whose wards are in the public schools in the state.
Commissioner for Education in Rivers State, Professor Chinedu Mmom issued the warning during a meeting with Principals of public schools held in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Mmom regretted that despite efforts by the current administration to provide education at zero cost for students in the state, some principals in the public schools have devised ways to extort money from parents.
“Despite efforts by the current administration, some of the public schools are still bent on frustrating efforts put in by this administration to achieve zero extortion and free education in the state,” he said.
He cautioned school principals against sabotaging the efforts of government as anyone caught would face the full wrath of the law.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
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