President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gave this charge at the opening ceremony of the 20th Nigeria Economic Summit, with the theme “Transforming Education through Partnership for Global Competitiveness,” which held on Tuesday in Abuja.
The President, who spoke through, Vice President Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo, said “more than forty years after, this policy foundation is ripe for review, to determine its relevance and fine tune its adaptability to national objectives, in this 21st Century.”
“It is my hope that this Summit will take up this challenge; by applying itself rigorously to the design of an ideal education system that will satisfy our national needs and aspirations.”
President Jonathan, stressed that his administration holds education in high premium, emphasising that education was key to accelerating national transformation and development, saying “education has changed the destiny of nations, big and small and we are determined to change our story for the very best”.
Accordingly, he said the government had identified access, quality and equity as the main strategic goals of Nigerian education, stressing that government had introduced several initiatives to achieve these goals, such as girl and boy-child education, the Almajiri System, teacher training and retraining, increased funding and other far reaching policy reforms at all levels of the education system.
President Jonathan, called for more partnership between the three tiers of government, the private sector and international development partners in designing credible sectoral accountability frameworks that will impact positively on the sector. “There is an urgent need to develop human capital, by investing and improving the skills of our people to facilitate the actualisation of our national objectives,” he stated.
The President urged stakeholders in the education sector to come up with practical solutions to surmount challenges of acquiring accurate statistics, especially at the basic and secondary levels particularly on school enrolment and other education indices. He said “It is necessary that we get the numbers right to aid successful planning and decision-making.”
In his remarks the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike stated that the Transformation Agenda of the President Jonathan administration, places premium on education as an instrument par excellence for human capital development and socio-economic emancipation, adding that to this end the Federal Ministry of Education had developed a Road Map aimed at repositioning the sector.
He noted that the Road Map addresses issues relating to access and equity, such as low enrolment, retention, and transition, as well as low carrying capacity of tertiary education institutions.
High point of the event was a plenary session on Presidential Policy Dialogue, with Vice President Sambo standing in for President Jonathan, with such other panellists like, Amb. Maryam Katagum, Professor PAI Obanya, Dr. Elizabeth King; Mrs. Maryam Lemu, Prof Jibrila Amin and Mr. Paul Brennan.