The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman has hinted that President Bola Tinubu was determined to reduce the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria to the barest minimum.
Mamman who disclosed this in his opening address at the 2021/2022 Nigeria Annual Education Conference (NAEC) held on Monday, September 11, 2023, in Abuja, said the goal was to take an average of 2.5 million children back to school every year.
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 the ground and not the policy declaration. This is where I can tell you we intend to come in. We want to bridge the gaps between policy statements and the actualisation of outcomes.
“This is to give them future training that will enable them to live their lives and make them employers of labour. Everybody deserves to live a life of dignity for the well-being of their family”.
Prof. Mamman added that the theme for the conference, “Implementation of Education 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Nigeria” would always remain relevant until Nigeria achieves 100% of the targets set in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 and beyond to education-related indicators and targets of Agenda 2060 of the African Union.
He said, that as a signatory to the SDG 2030 and AU Agenda 2060, Nigeria must continue to demonstrate its commitment to achieving these goals through leadership and ownership of the implementation process.
The Minister further stated that, “Mr. President is determined among others to initiate a new creative means of funding tertiary education by granting universities the autonomy to explore new sources of financing their activities”.
“It is our plan to give robust attention to the foundations of our education system, that is basic and secondary schools. We will also ensure knowledge and skills are sufficient in all strata of education from basic to university to ensure students can easily be contributors to our economy without having to look for salaried employment.
Speaking on security, the one-time Vice Chancellor of Baze University said, “last week, the media reported the murder of a nursing student Miss Attanda Modupe Debora student of Federal University Oyo-Ekiti, the same week that the safe school events took place.
“This is indeed heartbreaking. The ministry directs the Vice-Chancellor in concerted efforts with the security to uncover the perpetrators of this heinous crime while I reiterate the ministry’s resolve to secure our schools. Our condolences go to the family”.
He concluded by stating that there was a need to make their partnerships and collaboration work for the benefit of various organisations, tiers of government, and most importantly the Nigerian people because education is, and remains the hub of all national developmental efforts.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry Education, Mr. David Adejo informed that, the NAEC would help them share ideas on what was working well and needed strengthening, what was not working well or not working at all to change direction, and most importantly agree on the responsibility of every stakeholder in improving what was working well and addressing identified challenges.
Also, Education Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), James O’Donoghue challenged the Nigerian government to increase funding allocation to education and ensure that the money was spent well. He said that the millions allocated to education were not being used. He therefore called on the government to improve and train the teacher workforce at the foundational level and also ensure learning environments were safe.