By Omowumi Samuel
The Nigerian government has reiterated its commitment towards revamping the education sector as a matter of priority, and grant Nigerian universities the autonomy to explore new sources of financing their activities and plans.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman disclosed this at the 2021 and 2022 Nigeria Annual Education Conference (NAEC) held in Abuja.
The theme of the conference is tagged: ”Implementation of Education 2030 Agenda for sustainable Development in Nigeria”.
Prof Mamman noted that the theme will remain relevant until the country achieves 100% of the targets set in the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
He also noted that the responsibilities of government was to provide opportunities for Nigerians to be empowered, adding that now is the time to make the policies a reality.
The Education Minister stated that it was expedient for implementation strategies to provide mechanisms for constant monitoring and evaluation of policies, to ensure the SDG goals are actualised.
He said: ””President Tinubu has directed the return of the 10.5 million out-of-school children to school at the expiration of his tenure.
”We still have a long way to go. We are not matching the children in the country with the desired education, and this is because our policies are not producing the values we need.
“What we need is the action on ground and not the policy declaration. This is where I can tell you we intend to come in,” he added.
Prof Tahir Mamman, however, tasked relevant stakeholders to work with the Federal Ministry of Education and agencies as well as state ministries of Education, to identify innovative approach for improved funding and also ensuring inclusive, quality education.
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, David Andrew Adejo, represented by Director of ICT, Mr Abubarkar Isa, revealed that the 2021 and 2022 edition of the conference could not hold because of COVID-19 pandemic, which had its fair share on pupils and students.
He added that NAEC would assist in sharing ideas on improving what is working well and addressing identified challenges.
Also, the Education Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), James O’Donoghue, pledged UK’s commitment to support Nigeria in actualising the 2030 SDG agenda and to ensure every child receive quality education.
O’Donoghue called on the Nigerian government to ensure increased funding for education while ensuring that the money was utilised for the overall education purpose.
The UN suggested to the federal Government to increase its current budgetary allocation to the education sector from seven to 20 per cent in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4—universal, inclusive and equitable basic education for all school-age children by 2030.
For years, Nigeria’s allocation to the education sector has been below the recommended benchmark for developing nations.