VC wants transformation of sector to reflect current trends
To arrest the decay in the nation’s education sector, vice chancellor, Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan, Prof Ayobami Salami, has called on stakeholders to unite for the transformation of the sector.
Salami who was the guest speaker at the United Nations International youth week underscored the urgent need to revamp the subsisting model of education in the country, characterised by monumental infrastructural deficit, inadequate funding, irrelevant curricular, inadequate staffing, warped orientation of learners, dismal student performance, and the resultant dysfunctional system among other sectorial deficiencies.
Represented by the deputy vice chancellor of the institution, Prof. Adesola Ajayi, the guest speaker said all hands must be on deck to harness the nation’s vast human and capital resources towards achieving educational transformation at local, regional and national levels.
“The consequence of poor education in Nigeria over the years is already evident in extremely high unemployment of educated youths, gross dependence on foreign technology and lack of technical expertise for even simple tasks”.
To fully explore the potentials of our intelligent youth populace, Salami said all stakeholders must agree on curriculum and delivery strategies that would elicit innovation, cooperation and ingenuity in educational spaces that guarantee practicality. “We require government at various levels to provide infrastructure and funding commensurate with the transformation we need in the sector. Our brand of education must deliver development and social progress all over the country in line with our priorities.”
The vice chancellor also called for an all-inclusive strategy that would place education in the country on the right pedestal.“We can no longer ignore the unfortunate statistics showing that Nigeria currently houses over 10 million out-of-school children. Activities of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) at the national level must be complemented by prompt release of counterpart funds by states”, he said.
To ensure maximum productivity from students, Salami pointed out that learning must be technologically driven, participatory, resourceful and adventurous.
According to him, “There is need for top-notch facilities to support active learning in our educational institutions. Closely linked to this is the cardinal issue of welfare of teachers and all other professionals that make up the school system. It is certain that a poorly motivated workforce is unlikely to produce world-class graduates. The only way to attract and retain the brightest brains in the educational system is to remunerate well and ensure that workspaces are functional and comfortable”.
To address the challenge of funding inadequacy, he suggested an innovative funding model that synthesises contributions from both the government and the private sector.“While we must insist that it is right and necessary that government increases its funding of education in the country, it is also wise that we explore additional funding models. What is needed is some measure of creativity and fresh vigour.
“Our teachers must become effective enablers of the new model of education, with emphasis on learner-centeredness, technology, innovation, and social responsiveness. We must find a way of making learning stimulating, enjoyable and attractive for our students, because they hold the key to the kind of future that awaits us.
Given the employability and skills gap crises in the country, the varsity administrator stressed the need to recalibrate our educational system to mainstream technical, vocational and entrepreneurial education,“The reality that should bother every concerned Nigerian is that the subsisting relic of colonial education that only prepared our people mainly for white collar jobs is no longer workable. The cheese has since moved from the traditional station and our educational system must be responsive so as to equip our teeming youths for this challenge”.
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