Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has called on key players in the sector to support the Federal Government’s efforts at advancing learning.
Nwajiuba disclosed this at the maiden edition of Re-ignite public affairs national dialogue series where he was the keynote speaker.
The event, in partnership with Business Day Media was themed, “Nigeria @ 60, Education: Navigating a new normal.”
The Minister, in response to a submission by one of the panelists Uchenna Onwuamaegbu-Ugwu, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education advocate who canvassed for the government to collaborate with key players in the areas of curriculum, skills development and schools adoption, emphasised that his ministry is already working out a framework to bring in private sector players and adopt public schools that are not doing well.
“Essentially we are going to be changing to the STEM curriculum and enhance it. We are going to be responding more to what players in the sector are going to be asking us to do. We are stepping up with private sector players because we have realised that we cannot do it alone. We are bringing everybody on board through public-private partnership (PPP).
For instance, we have a lot of public schools that are not doing well; so instead of building new schools, why can’t we concession some of these schools to those who have the capacity to adopt and manage them very well? Those are the kind of work I want to do. I had proposed this when I was the Chairman of TETFUND”.
“Government does not have all of the funding or the essence but we have regulators; National Assembly is a regulatory agency, the ministries and all of us functioning in the ecosystem will have to step up and participate a bit better and that is why I am here.
Speaking on schools resumption in the face of the COVID-19 new normal, the Minister said, “Government’s priority is to safeguard ourselves, our learners and teachers in navigating the new normal. Most of the things we are doing now are how to carry the learners forward in the new system”.
In the course of his submission, an erudite scholar and former special adviser to the President on policy and programmes monitoring, Prof. Julius O. Ihonvbere, said COVID-19 has provided Nigeria with a good opportunity to develop its infrastructure.
Ihonvbere who is presently the chairman, House of Representatives committee on basic education and services added, “It has exposed the underbelly of the weaknesses of the society and the political class and now we see the relative weaknesses not just in Nigeria but the world and thus a good opportunity for us to rethink and reset.
“It is not too late, it is not impossible, but there has to be the commitment and leadership at the resources and we have to address both the content and context of education.
Executive Director/COO, Re-ignite public affairs, Franklyn Ginger-Eke, said the series is a knowledge-based policy analysis forum for collating refined submissions of public and private sector stakeholders.