‘Improved education sector crucial to Nigeria’s knowledge economy quest’
Former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, has called for improved funding of the education sector to engender economic growth. He also charged Nigerians to hold governments accountable.
Besides, Obi stressed the need for the electorate to vote rightly at the forthcoming general elections.The former governor, who spoke at Innovation in Governance session, at the just concluded 2018 Social Media Week Lagos at the weekend, believed that Nigerian youths were key to getting the nation out of the doldrums in her quest to achieving a knowledge-based economy.
Admitting that there was a leadership challenge in the country, he, however, stressed the need for leaders to exhibit capacity and commitment.According to him, the only way a system could change was by innovation. He noted that dynamism was about harnessing resources of the country, especially in the 21st Century knowledge-based economy, advising government to properly fund the education sector to achieve the objective.
His words: “Nigeria is blessed with talented people who need leadership. We need to deal with the economy first before anything can work. People need to be at work, infrastructure must be in place.
“Over 34 million people are either under or unemployed in Nigeria. Over four millions lost their jobs last year. There are about 10 million school children out of school. We need to reverse these trends if Nigeria’s knowledge economy must be realised.” On the match towards a knowledge economy, Obi stated the education sector must be revamped for headway.
According to the former banker, the likes of China, which had same orientation with the nation on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) objectives, took the advice and implemented all same adding: “Today, over 95 per cent development in China was revolutionalised by learning. Nigeria, on the other hand, which got same orientation about the MDGs, never acted on it. You can see what has become the lot of the country, nothing to show for it.“That has been the tradition here. We need serious revolution in order not to be left behind,” he added.
According to Obi, the Universal Basic Education Commissions (UBECs) must be reenergised to play a pivotal role, noting: “Countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda have universal basic education. Nigeria’s budget to education is so small, only about $1.5 billion, while South Africa budgets $15 billion, so how do we measure up?“There should be computers and connectivity in our schools if we must drive innovation, compete globally and improve the future of education in Nigeria.”
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