By Paul Efiong ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari Monday said it is no longer a secret that the quality of education in Nigeria requires greater attention and improvement.
Speaking at special education retreat for the Federal Executive Council on the theme “Education in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects”, the President insisted that the teachers must always be better than the students.
He therefore, thrown his weight behind Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-Rufai, who recently announced that he would relieve 21,780 teachers of their jobs for failing competency test conducted by the state government.
Buhari told his audience while declaring open the summit at the old banquet hall, State House, Abuja:
“To digress a little bit so that you know that I meant what I read.
“Having been an orphan, I still feel that whatever I did in life so far was built by boarding school.
“For nine years I was in boarding school, three in primary and six in secondary school.
“In those days, teachers treat their students or children like their own children. If you did well they will tell you, you did well, if you don’t do well they never spared the rod.
“When I finished my secondary school, I didn’t work for a day, I refused to work for a day, I left home, I refused to work in the local government, and then I joined the army. And the army of that time we went through all we went through up-to the civil war.
“And then I listened to one of the Nigerians I respect, he said after his training here in Nigeria and the United States, he went to his alma mata, his primary school to see what he could contribute. I won’t mention his name but when he went, he couldn’t differentiate between the students, the children and the teachers.
“And what El-Rufai is trying to do now is exactly what that man told me about 10 years ago.
“t is a very very serious situation, when teachers cannot pass their exams that they are supposed to teach the children to pass.
” It is a very tragic situation we are in and this our gathering together to me is one of the most important in this administration.”
President Buhari spoke further, “The significance of this summit is obvious. We cannot progress beyond the level and standard of our education. Today, it is those who acquire the most qualitative education, equipped with requisite skills and training, and empowered with practical knowhow that are leading the rest.
“We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future. This administration is committed to revitalizing our education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the state of education in Nigeria calls for a serious concern and that is why we are all gathered here today.
“That our country is facing numerous challenges in education and all other sectors as a result of historical abuses, mindless impunity and corruption is not news to anyone.”
He assured that his administration was determined to turnaround the education sector for the better, saying “We are already making appreciable progress in this respect.”
Buhari therefore, charged the summit to among other things, “sharpen our strategies for addressing the challenges of basic and secondary education, teacher training and professional development; technical and vocational education.
“The summit must work to enhance quality in, and access to, higher education and other challenges in the sector that will debar us from attaining the SDGs and be among the top 20 economies in the world.”