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Why Nigeria’s development index keeps falling, by NUC ex-boss

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Former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okogie, has said Nigeria’s Human Development Index keeps nose-diving because government had failed to address the primary and secondary education system.

Speaking as guest lecturer at the fourth convocation of Salem University, Lokoja, Kogi State yesterday, he stated that it is given that any serious nation should know that education was a great agent of change.

According to him, “countries that have effectively addressed the problems in the primary and secondary education system are leaders in the indices for measuring economic development and wellbeing of their people,” adding that they are used to present matrices for ranking.

Okogie pointed out that nations like Finland, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Mauritius were ranking tops because they had addressed pressing issues relating to their education systems.

He observed that in these countries, education remained free and compulsory at the basic and post-basic levels, stating that parents risk jail terms in the event of non-registration of their wards.

The NUC ex-chief executive regretted that education no longer guarantees a brighter future in Nigeria, submitting that the primary and secondary schools, which form the foundation of good education, were in a parlous state nationwide.

Okogie noted: “More than 10.2 million children are out of school, the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and teacher quality is poor.”

Worse still, he said only 60 per cent of the teachers in the primary schools were qualified.

More so, the don observed that infrastructure were in a deplorable state to the extent that pupils study under trees and on bare floors.

Teaching materials, he added, were absent or inadequate while absentee teachers are in the majority, accounting for the poor performances of public schools in recent times.

The professor therefore adduced the proliferation of private primary, secondary schools and universities to the unsavoury development.


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