Prominent Nigerians have called for increased in funding and innovative ideas for education sector in Nigeria.
They made the call in Lagos at the Wellspring University discourse on ‘The future of education: Driving education through innovation’.
The Chancellor, Ituah Ighodalo, urged federal and state governments to ensure that schools get more attention and allocation.
The Trinity House Church Senior Pastor also advised institutions to add skills acquisition to their curriculum and find out from companies, what they can incorporate in the syllabus.
“I know how many messages for job and account numbers I get. You see young Nigerians selling gala, etc. When I see a young boy dragging cattle from Sokoto to Lagos, I say that could be another Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates.
“These are instances of the government failure. The doctor that attended to Ibidun and I in the UK is one of the most sought after. He is in his 40s, studied medicine at UNN Nsukka, left Nigeria before of the conditions and is doing well today.
“This country is pushing its brains out. I pray that years from now, Nigeria won’t be at the mercy of those that left because of leadership failure. Additionally, universities must begin to innovate. We must raise entrepreneurs, not people who look for jobs”, Ighodalo said.
Lagos Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, complained that some graduates are not fit and advocated education that is experiential, skills-based and community-influenced.
Adefisayo disclosed that the state government announced vacancies for teaching positions and got 100,000 applications for 2,000 slots.
“More than 50,000 were civic education applicants. But we wanted those that can teach sciences, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, geography, Yoruba.
“We asked them to take tests, you’ll be amazed by what many wrote…poor capitals, punctuations, arrangement, clarity of thought. It is not the problem of a particular polytechnic or university, it is general.
“It is a big challenge and we are ready to work with the public. The quality of teachers and learning must improve. In Lagos, we noticed the educational curriculum was inadequate and came up with STEM.
“There is no way we can get out of this situation without adequate funding. Again, we are too exam-focused; we should go beyond lectures and focus on skills development so that after school, graduates can start up something”, she said.
Trustees of Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund), Kashim Ibrahim-Imam expressed confidence that Nigerians will do more exploits with proper funding and investment.
“If you take out Nigerian-born doctors and other medical practitioners in America and Europe, their system will be affected.”
On the neglect of youths, the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain recalled the comment he made decades ago as Social Democratic Party(SDP) Chairman in Borno.
“Whenever our convoy passes through communities, kids run after vehicles. I said then that Nigeria will pay the price for not looking after these kids that should be in school. It’s happening now.”
Ibrahim-Imam said TETFund has made huge impacts since its creation, completing thousands of projects, with more being delivered.
Explaining that the agency was set up to intervene in public polytechnics and institutions, he confirmed the National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC) is focusing on high schools.
Former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi reiterated his passion for innovation and sufficient funding for education and schools.
“This is what I have always been clamouring for. Quality education is missing in Nigeria. Once we invest, the country, the people and the economy will be better”, Obi said.
The PDP 2019 presidential candidate, however, counselled TETFund to extend financing to private universities.
Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Lagos First Lady, was represented by Lagos State University (LASU) Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello.
The speakers and other dignitaries hailed the vision and efforts of Wellspring University Pro-Chancellor, Daniel Isimoya, the council and management.