By Victor Okoye
Prof. Marcel Ezenwoye, the President, Chartered Institute of Educational Practitioners, UK (CIEPUK) Africa, has called for more funding for the educational sector in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ezenwoye made the remarks during a news conference on Friday in Abuja, ahead of the 2021 investiture awards and conference on education administration in Nigeria.
The conference which is being organised by the Chartered Institute of Educational Practioners UK (CIEPUK) is scheduled to hold on Aug. 26 in Abuja with the theme: ‘Innovative Teaching Strategies.’
Speaking on the state of the educational sector, Ezenwoye noted that the government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari had recorded some achievements which cannot be overemphasised.
“The introduction of national headcount of pupils and personnel in all primary and junior secondary schools is indeed an amazing milestone accomplished by the current administration.
“There is also the implementation of compulsory basic education especially in Bayelsa State as well as the implementation of open distance learning for 25 polytechnics in the country which has been implemented.
“The modification of the United Tertiary Matriculation Examination for candidates seeking admission into higher institutions of learning by introducing a central admission processing system is also worthy of note,” he said.
The don, however, said that despite all the milestones recorded by the government, alot more needed to be done in the education sector.
Ezenwoye noted that the country’s literacy level was still at an all-time low.
“According to UNESCO, the country currently has over 65 million illiterates.
“We have about 10.5 million school aged children who are out of school, making the country one of the highest in the world.
“Only 450,000 of the nomadic school aged children have access to any form of schooling out of an estimated 3.5 million.
“This to a large extent can be ascribed to the problem of low funding for education in the country.
“Unfortunately, only seven per cent was allocated to the education sector in 2011 against a stipulated 15 to 20 per cent as proposed by UNESCO,” he said.
Ezenwoye noted that incessant strikes in the country’s universities and polytechnics at different times had crippled the sector.
He added that the proliferations of unregulated private schools with dismal standards as well as the underemployment of qualified teachers were other factors adversely affecting the growth of the sector.
“Over 40 per cent of Nigerian teachers are not qualified as they do not possess the prescribed minimum qualification for teaching.
“About 50 per cent of Nigerians with post- secondary school qualifications are underemployed or unemployed according to the findings by the National Bureau of Statistics,” he said.
Ezenwoye stressed that the government must improve planning by addressing some of the systemic barriers that hinder the implementation of an effective educational strategy.
He said that the work would be achieved by creating an enabling environment for education, improving the quality of education and increasing demands for education and humanitarian assistance.
He added that the Nigerian government must as a matter of urgency seriously look into the UNICEF’s educational programme that intends to support the government in achieving SDG4 by 2030.
“UNICEF also advocates for education to be priotise and target children who are less likely to receive an education.
“The expected outcome is that all children access and complete quality education within a safe learning environment, gaining the skills and knowledge for lifelong learning,” he said.
NAN also reports that the 2021 Investiture awards and conference will be witnessed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who will conferred with a Distinguished Fellowship Award alongside other dignitaries.