Perturbed by the challenges that faced the education sector in 2021, experts and top professionals have set an agenda for the sector, with a view to repositioning it.
They expressed their views in an interview with LEADERSHIP Sunday, urging the government to consider improved funding of the sector and protection of schools in 2022.
The zonal coordinator of the Abuja branch of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Salahu Mohammed Lawal called for more attention towards funding welfare of staff in order to improve the university system, while stressing the need to fulfill promises with the University workers.
“Government should be more proactive by keeping to its promise with university workers most especially ASUU in order to keep the four walls open for teaching – learning and research without distraction.
“Funding and welfare of staff must be paramount towards improving the university system to meet human capital needs of the nation,” he added.
Speaking on the development, the president of Academic Staff Union Polytechnic (ASUP), Anderson Ezeibe said the key challenge in the sector is the inability of the government to adhere to agreements signed with trade unions in the sector.
He said, “These agreements represent clear directions on issues covering policy issues, funding and conditions of service of staff amongst others.
“The inability of the government to respect these agreements have the twin impact of regression as it affects each of the items, as well as avoidable industrial unrest in the sector.
“We expect that the government should give the right priority to education as the sector has the capacity to resolve all other issues of concern in the society,” he said.
On his part, the CEO, Advanced Management Academy, Abuja, Dr Peter Oyeneye said the education sector really needs upscaling given the dynamic nature of the global environment in which we now operate.
He said to compete on a global level, Nigeria will need to upscale the sector by placing more emphasis on teachers’ training. “Many teachers lack training and therefore can measure up to today’s teaching requirements.”
According to him, “Staff monitoring is also important. Truancy and lack of commitment among staff must be addressed. Employment of a large number of staff is not the same as commitment and productivity. Many schools lack the required teaching facilities and other teaching aids.
“There should be a deliberate plan to work out a synergy between the education sector and the industry. The education sector should adjust its curricula to industry needs.
“Also, the issue of bullying must be addressed frontally so that interested students can live in school in peace and be focused. Cultism must also be addressed. We cannot be campaigning against cultism and every corner of our camp is covered with darkness.”
Oyeneye added that besides National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), there should be other open universities, public and private, while saying interested universities should be encouraged to run distance/open learning schools to fix the challenge of students’ admission.
He noted, “Inspection at all levels of education is very crucial because what gets monitored gets done.”
Similarly, Comrade Oyelere Samson, the state secretary of NUT, Ogun State wing, said emphasis should be placed on ensuring the safety of schools from attacks.
“I think for next year we hope as proposed by the state house of assembly that there will be more budgetary provision for the basis of education in the state.
“The appointment of qualified and satisfied teachers to fill the vacant posts in both primary and secondary school. We are also looking at areas where the government will localise the provision of security for our schools as the police structure is already overwhelmed and our schools are not well secured.
“We are also considering that the government should honour all legitimate bargaining agreements with the unions in the state, strengthen the quality assurance department to make supervision of our schools fervent, and appoint guardians and counselors in our schools to assist students and teachers in managing stress and psychological issues that are affecting education negatively.”
Adding, he said, “However, to have a strong and dependable education system in the state is the responsibility of all the stakeholders Teachers, Parents, Students, alumni bodies, the host communities , government inclusive . All hands must be on deck to achieve the 4th Sustainable Development Goal.
“All must be ready to give their best in the interest of the future leaders.”