When the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i noted before a global audience that all stakeholders must show genuine commitment for the education sector to make the desired progress, the reasonable assumption is that a rational media should be the primary respondent to the call. Unfortunately however, a section of the Nigerian media, that are on the fringes of course, did not see itself as a stakeholder within the context of the Minister’s patriotic call.
This section of the media that at all times prefers to operate on the fringes, in complete disregard for decorum and professionalism, recently embarrassed itself by going to town with unsubstantiated reports against the education ministry.
As usual, publishers of that junk threw away caution and staked all known norms of the noble profession to feed its negligible readership lies and trash.
But for the need for maintaining decent records, those of us on the rational divide would not have bothered to respond to the trash those publishers churn out as news.
But as observed by a former Nigerian leader, if a fool is allowed to continue being foolish publicly, he would mistake that foolishness for a virtue.
Every discerning Nigerian would rather see achievement than fault the strides recorded in the educational sector since the Prof took over.
This is a woman who inherited a 4-Point Agenda Education Roadmap document from her predecessor in office and quickly expanded same to 6-Points to accommodate issues of Teachers’ Education and Development as well as Strengthening the Institutional Management of Education, which she considers critical but were not part of the original Agenda in the Education Roadmap.
Under her guidance, the Ministry has within a very short time, developed a 4-year Strategy Plan based on the six critical focal areas in the Agenda namely: Access and Equity, Standard and Quality Assurance, Teacher Education and Development as well as Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
Other areas involve strengthening the Institutional Management of Education and Funding, Partnership and Utilization.
This may be far too technical for those junk publishers to comprehend; they perhaps may understand what their more professional colleagues have to say by way of objective independent assessments of the strides made by Professor Ruqayyatu as education minister.
The Nation newspaper: “Though the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai, joined the cabinet shortly after the then President Goodluck Jonathan became a substantive President, she was one of the few new ministers who hit the ground running. Immediately she resumed at the Federal Ministry of Education, she ensured that everybody was kept busy on how to improve the sector. Most of the parastatals under the ministry have been engaged in several developmental activities which, according to sources, were left unattended to before the arrival of the woman who many describe as hardworking. Her latest achievement is the recent public
presentation of the nation’s education data survey and the launch of the Digest of Education Statistics for the period, 2006 to 2010 which gingered President Goodluck Jonathan to assure Nigerians of increase in budgetary allocation to the sector.”
This is proved by records of the progressive increase in Annual Budgetary Allocations to the sector in the last three years which has enabled the Ministry to address critical issues of infrastructure, manpower development and staff welfare while strategic funding interventions by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), STEP-B Project and other interventions by International Partners have further strengthened the system.
Another online assessment on www.nigerianin America.com, stated unequivocally that: “When Minister Rufai took over the ministry roughly, she quickly identified four areas of focus: (1) access and equity, (2) standards and quality assurance, (3) technical and vocational education and teacher training, and (4) funding and resource utilization as part of her plan to reform the education sector. Professor Rufai has strategically aligned herself with state commissioners of
education and selected board members of the National Universities Commission (NUC), particularly Chris Okojie and others in the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to re-conceptualize the tertiary education or higher education. The strategy is now paying dividend as fidelity in compliance and rigor in action returns to the federal ministry of education.