At the presidential summit on education which held at the Banquet Hall of the State House on Monday, Pres. Muhammadu Buhari delivered his first big speech on education since his election.
The purpose of the summit, according to the president, was “refocusing the education sector not only to overcome the numerous challenges, but also to strengthen the Ministerial Strategic Plan that has already been developed by the ministry.”
No achievement: The biggest takeaway from the speech was that Pres. Buhari did not name a single achievement recorded by his administration in the education sector in over two years.
The closest the president came to highlighting actual work done in the sector was when he said: “This administration is committed to revitalizing our education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive… We are determined to turnaround the sector for the better. We are already making appreciable progress in this respect.”
And that’s where he stopped. Buhari gave no detail on what “appreciable progress” has been made in the sector.
In addition to the President, the big blame for this lack of tangible achievements in the education sector is the Honourable Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who has been unable to come up with a striking vision for the sector and has lacked the drive to implement plans.
Buhari’s speech at the event was however very big on highlighting the fact that the education sector is a mess.
“We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future.”
“The state of education in Nigeria calls for a serious concern and that is why we are all gathered here today. The problem is no longer a secret that the quality of education in Nigeria requires greater attention and improvement.”
Who’s to blame?: “That our country is facing numerous challenges in education and all other sectors as a result of historical abuses, mindless impunity and corruption is not news to anyone.”
“With an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, to mention some of the challenges, we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered.”
One more thing: Buhari said that despite the “other competing demands and responsibilities from different sectors of the economy”, his administration is committed to the education sector. Historically though, the sector under Pres. Buhari has not been one of the prioritized ones.