Atiku calls for decentralization of education



Atiku in NsukaFormer Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said that decentralization of Nigeria’s education remains an antidote to the declining fortunes of education in the country.

The former Vice President made the recommendation yesterday, while delivering his keynote address at the rescheduled 2013 16th Annual Conference of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE),hosted by the Department of Mass Communication of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The title of the paper was “Media, youth and Nigeria’s
development challenges.”

According to him, the over centralization of education has killed creativity and hampered scholarship in Nigeria’s education insisting that an important solution to reversing the backward trend is to allow the federating units in Nigeria’s federal system take autonomous control in the development of education.

“We cannot significantly improve education in this country if we continue with the current overly centralized system with suffocating federal control. Federal schools should be handed over to the states in which they are located and the budgetary resources hitherto expended on them transferred to those state governments.

“The federal government should focus on setting up regulatory standards and enforcing those standards. It will be easier for authorities at the UNN to show the officials in Enugu what life at UNN is really like than officials in Abuja. And it will be easier for those officials at Enugu to hold the leaders of UNN accountable. It will also be easier for the students and the
UNN community to demand accountability from their school leaders as they too can easily reach the officials at Enugu,” the former Vice President said.

He noted further that the country’s education curriculum needs also to be diversified and retooled to make it more adaptive to the country’s current economic challenges like unemployment and lack of manufacturing capacity.

“In addition to decentralization and geographical diversification we must also diversify our curriculum and educational programmes. The current one-size-fits-all approach will not help us,” Atiku said.

“It is critical for our educational system to have a healthy mix of academic and vocational training to cater to the diverse needs of our youth and our emerging economy. I will even go further and say that key industry players should have an input into curriculum design so that there’s more synergy between what our schools produce and the human resource needs of
our key employers. This could be in the form of the establishment of specialized schools, with financial and other support from those key and interested private sector players.”


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