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Odugbemi tasks Buhari on educational, societal transformation

By Ujunwa Atueyi
09 April 2015   |   12:46 am
Vice Chancellor, Ondo State University of Science & Technology (OSUSTECH) Okitipupa, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi, has charged the incoming administration of President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), to cautiously tackle challenges bedeviling the country’s education system as well as make conscious efforts to address other societal challenges.
Prof. Tolu Odugbemi

Prof. Tolu Odugbemi

Vice Chancellor, Ondo State University of Science & Technology (OSUSTECH) Okitipupa, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi, has charged the incoming administration of President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), to cautiously tackle challenges bedeviling the country’s education system as well as make conscious efforts to address other societal challenges.

While also urging Nigerians to desist from paying homage or special solidarity visits to elected officers, he said such visits were unnecessary distraction for good governance.

In a congratulatory statement to Buhari, a copy of which was made available to The Guardian, Odugbemi congratulated Buhari, his vice-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for the successful conduct of the March 28th polls.

He remarked that God has indeed given Nigerians “a rare opportunity to rebuild the country to the dream of all and now the time for teamwork and divine guidance.”

He informed the incoming government that all issues raised about the sorry state of the nation’s education system were unattended to, while the clamour for good governance was yet to be achieved. According to him, “Our education system has failed us in the sense that many graduates, including experts in agriculture are looking for white collar jobs.

The decay is everywhere as evident in dilapidated schools buildings, many without roofs, walls, doors and windows. No books and no laboratory equipment even in tertiary institutions. “Across the country, pupils attending public primary schools are being subjected to formal instruction in dehumanising circumstances.

What is the value of education if products of the education system do not impact positively on the society and environment? Education is meant to serve as a tool to improve our towns, local government areas, states, Nigeria and even our continent, Africa. Honestly, we have not moved forward so far.”

Noting that the foundation of any viable education system was the primary school level, he stressed that successful nations appreciated this fact and go to considerable lengths to build their primary schools as the launch pad for human capital development.

Odugbemi further emphasised that the sector was marred by poor funding, ineptitude and sheer irresponsibility, urging the incoming administration to ensure that these factors were adequately addressed.

His words, “The challenges in the sector are numerous, there is impunity at all levels of governance; our youths are under-employed or unemployed and this constitutes imminent threat to peace in our various communities; societal indiscipline is a huge factor; even the funds for execution of necessary projects are usually taken to be ‘for sharing.’ Deceit, insincerity and abuse of office are rampant and harassment of ‘those not playing ball’ is the order of the day. “Nigeria is at a cross road.

Instead of our present educational system helping to propel us forward in development, we face a gloomy picture of decay because of wrong ideas and teachings that made ‘self’ instead of the ‘society’ as a centre of development.

Some supervisory bodies set up to monitor growth and development of education in our schools are generally uninformed about the duties and responsibilities attached to their offices. He continued, “Education is a tool for development if properly handled from childhood to adulthood through various systems.

We should pay attention to the implementation of good ideas if they are to be useful for positive change in Nigeria. Character building must accompany any form of learning for products of such institutions to be relevant to societal development.”