Global research findings have consistently revealed that no other activity guarantees individuals the opportunities for social and economic mobility like education. The importance of education as the most important vehicle for transformation of individuals and societies cannot be overemphasised.
It is against this backdrop that Stakeholders at the 3rd Lagos Education Summit have issued a call for speedy deployment of global best practices in all aspects of education to ensure sustained competition.
Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education, in her keynote address at the two-day event recently disclosed that the importance of education as the most important vehicle for transformation of individuals and societies has universal acceptance.
Ezekwesili opines that no other activity guarantees individuals the opportunities for social and economic mobility like education adding that the necessity for education in natural resource rich countries like Nigeria has never been more topical.
According to her, “The history of the development of education in Nigeria shows that it has moved from being seen as a mostly social process that builds responsible and informed citizens to being seen as a process that also primarily prepares them for the world of work to contribute to the national economy.”
The former minister, in tracing the challenges that have over the year stalled the potential growth of Nigeria’s education system revealed among other things the weak quality assurance mechanisms despite a plethora of inspection services at all levels of the system; inappropriate teacher training and development at both pre‐service and in‐service levels that will lead to effective system of staff deployment and the failure of secondary and tertiary education to prepare students for the world of work and consequently leads to a failure to contribute to national regeneration.
“It has become clearer through research that for education to help rapidly in promoting economic well-being of larger number of citizens of any country, there must be a deliberate focus on the role of educational quality and relevance,” she said.
Ezekwesili, in proffering the way forward in achieving best practice in Nigeria’s educational system, maintains that to make the content education ever more relevant to the needs of the market, partnership between government and the private sector in developing the programmes of skills-based education is key as this will yield impressive results as it has done in several countries.
At the end of the education summit the communiqué released recommended among other things that the state should set goals for making teachers accountable for the progress of each of the learners under their care; the Ministry of Education through its appropriate agencies must design students’ assessments to generate useful sectioning data to address issues relating to poor performance; decentralisation of authority and funding to empower school heads and teachers to take prompt decisions on school matters.
Other recommendations are that to ensure student-centeredness, schools should avail students with opportunities to drive innovativeness and creativity for the benefit of their schools and their future engagements; to enhance standards, an independent agency should be established to monitor compliance with curriculum implementation and assessment.
In the same vein, it urged the deepening of a maintenance culture in the school system by developing a manual on guidelines for both staff and students; provision of well equipped security personnel and perimeter fencing for the protection of lives and properties in schools.