Stakeholders seek increased government, private funding for education sector
Stakeholders in the education sector have urged the government at both state and federal levels to vote more resources and attention to address and transform the worrisome state of the education sector in the country.
They made the call, yesterday, at the maiden edition of the Lagos Education Fair organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) with the theme: “Transforming Education: Access to Qualitative Tertiary Education.”
The President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, said the importance of a transformed education sector to the nation’s economic growth and development cannot be over-emphasised.
The Chamber’s president pointed out that the regular rifts between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as well as the frequency of strikes by the union, call for more funding and attention to the terms and conditions of the teaching profession in Nigeria.
Olawale-Cole urged the government at both state and federal levels to vote for more resources and attention to education.
He reiterated that public-private partnership remains the best option for tackling national issues on funding, including the prevailing challenges of the nation’s education sector.
He said adequate access to reliable and affordable education is the catalyst for productivity enhancement, industrialisation and revenue optimisation to make the economy globally competitive.
The chamber president said the focus of the fair is to reposition the education sector in Nigeria by bringing together investors, operators, regulatory agencies, services providers, and other stakeholders in the education sector to deepen the conversation on the worrisome state of education in the country.
The keynote speaker, Vice Chancellor, Anchor University, Ayobo, Lagos, Prof. Sam Oye Bandele, in his address titled: “Enhancing Access to Qualitative Tertiary Education,” said quality education is the bedrock for transforming the education sector.
He called for restructuring of the tertiary institutions as well as orientation of the lecturers and students, noting that quality education must ensure equity, equality and equivalence, as it improves standard of living in the society
While commenting on the impact of technology in the education sector, Bandele said, technology will not replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers will transform the sector.
The Chairman, Education Sectoral Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs. Modupe Onabanjo, said a well-educated citizen is the foundation of social equity, cohesion and successful participation in the global knowledge economy.
She said as a result, most countries have set goals to increase the share of the population with higher education and broaden access to higher education for individuals that are under-represented because of socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, disability or location.
Onabanjo, however, urged the tertiary institutions to call for and participate in a multi-stakeholder dialogue with government and competent bodies to develop policies and secure adequate financial support for the pursuit of the access and success agenda.
Onabanjo also urged the government to create a policy environment that is conducive to increase public and private sector funding in support of equitable access of potential and enrolled learners with financial need. She further urged the government to consider the educational system in a holistic manner, developing coherent policies and strategies that build effective links with prior levels of education and allow for flexible and seamless pathways for entry to and exit from higher education for all learners.
On her part, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, said there is need to focus on imparting knowledge into the students in the classrooms because the issues with the country’s education sector is more than funding and structure of the institutions.
She noted that Nigeria has actually spent more on education than so many countries in sub Saharan Africa added together, with very little to show for.
“All of us are concerned with the quality of tertiary education and increasingly, it is becoming worrisome. While we are thinking about ASUU and other issues, we need to think about what is happening in the classrooms.
“We should think outside the building. We must think on what will make our graduates of quality that will fit into the labour market. We are graduating people who are already hopeless in their thinking and unhappy about everything around and who are therefore not able to contribute to the society,” she said.