Nigeria may have celebrated another Democracy Day last week (May 29), but experts are however not satisfied with the slow pace at which policy decisions of government in Nigeria and by extension its policy makers are implemented.
Concerned educationists and stakeholders believe that one distinct avenue to measure the responsiveness or otherwise of any government in the world today, is in its quick implementation of key policy agreement or decisions that will boost the advancement of any sector such policy is formulated for.
Little wonder, nations that want to be reckoned with in terms of technological advancement and academic success strive to position education as a cardinal point of interest in its march towards development.
It is in the face of this steady decline in the overall standard of education across all tiers in the nation therefore that education experts have continued to clamour for initiatives that would promote massive development of the sector that is daily experiencing backwardness.
While many have made a case for substantial funding without the desired result, there are some that consider the idea of proper implementation of educational policies and framework as a viable option for boosting development.
Such consideration in their summation will engineer a transformation in the way things are usually done in this country. It was established that the non-implementation of policies have contributed in no small way to the decay in the education system today.
Experts who bared their minds on the issues were emphatic in their stance that the sooner those in authority begin to implement all the documented policies as it concerns education, the sooner the nation will move closer to becoming an emerging economic model that will deliver sound education policies and management to schools to make them relevant in the comity of nation in this 21st century.
Olatokunbo Somolu, chairman, Board of Trustees for Vision 20:2020 in his address at the 16th Vision 20:2020 Career Workshop in Lagos recently noted that one of the steps needed to move the nation forward is through youth empowerment.
Somolu explained that youth empower as a tool for development is an attitudinal, structural and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives and the lives of other people, youths and adults inclusive.
Somolu said youth empowerment is often addressed as a gateway to intergenerational equity, civic engagement and democracy building. The need to guide and nurture our youth who are the future of our great country Nigeria cannot be over-emphasised.
He further pointed out that empowering of youths is an investment that pays off anytime, anywhere adding that by investing in youths, government corporations, communities, NGOs and individuals can help prepare the youths for the challenges ahead.
According to him, “If they are truly the leaders of tomorrow, then we must continue to invest our time, resources and knowledge in them.”
He asserted that as unemployment continues to grow in our society, poverty level and youth restiveness will continue to rise noting that both the rich and the poor, old and young will continue to bear the brunt of our actions and inactions.
“One way of redressing the problems is through reorienting our youths, providing qualitative education and training in core values. As long as Nigeria is growing apace in terms of jobs for the educated minority through investment in expanding and transforming government agencies, services and the private sector, the growing numbers of graduates could be absorbed.
“Also, by giving incentives for research and writing, replacement of laboratory equipment the situation in the country could be reversed before Nigeria loses an entire generation and more of its skilled labour,” he said.
In his own assessment of the current situation Tunde Oduwole, an educationist, highlighted the treatment the Nigerian education sector constantly receives in terms of budgetary allocation; stating that it has often times resulted in poor policy implementation.
Oduwole expressed sadness at the continued neglect of education by government agences saddled with the responsibility of monitoring standards across all sub-sectors of education. He then urged them to take effective action to maintain and enhance standards, a situation which he asserted has led to tertiary institutions in the country churning out on a yearly basis poorly trained graduates, who cannot compete favourably in the global market.