In its annual tradition of focusing on topical issues affecting young people all over the world, the United Nations, this year, has again chosen very apt theme: Transforming Education. This theme focuses on “efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth, including efforts by the youth themselves”. This theme is pursuant of Goal four of UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Many societies are beginning to acknowledge that quality education is the most potent weapon for transforming the world.
Educational transformation is very dear to me; having been active in providing tertiary education for over 30 years. I have also traversed our educational system as a student, a teacher and as an administrator at various levels. As an ardent stakeholder, I can state unequivocally that all hands are required on deck to harness our vast human and capital resources towards achieving educational transformation at local, regional and national levels. We must urgently proffer remedies for the current monumental infrastructural deficit, inadequate funding, irrelevant curricular, inadequate staffing, warped orientation of learners, dismal student performance, and the resultant dysfunctional system among other sectoral deficiencies. The consequences of poor education in Nigeria over the years is already evident in extremely high unemployment of educated youths, gross dependence on foreign technology, and lack of technical expertise for even simple tasks.
The world has become a global network with its attendant opportunities and challenges. Opportunities, because knowledge has become largely democratized, and challenges, because mediocrity no longer have a chance of survival in today’s dynamic competitive world.
To fully explore the potential of our intelligent youth populace, all stakeholders in the educational sector must agree on curriculum and delivery strategies that would elicit innovation, cooperation and ingenuity in educational spaces that guarantee practicality. We require the government at various levels to provide infrastructure and funding commensurate to the urgency and extent of the transformation we need in the educational sector. The government must actualise the tenets of its recently declared State of Emergency in the sector. Our brand of education must deliver development and social progress all over the country in alignment to the nation’s developmental priorities.
Our strategy must be all-inclusive and we must endeavour to engage our people and indeed experienced adults throughout the implementation. We can no longer ignore the unfortunate statistics showing that Nigeria currently houses over 10 million out-of-school children. Activities of the Universal Basic Education Commission at the national level must be complemented by prompt release of counterpart funds by states.