Nigeria’s BPE to embark on education sector reform – Official

Posted by Timige, On 11 Jun, 2023 | Updated On 11 Jun, 2023 No Comments »


Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises has said it is ready to embark on an aggressive education reform campaign towards reclaiming the sector’s lost glory and repositioning it for contemporary challenges.

The agency’s Director-General, Alex Okoh, gave the hint recently in Lagos at the opening of the 15th edition of the Total School Support Seminar/Exhibition (TOSSE) organised by a private educational institution- Edumark Consult.

According to Mr Okoh, some challenges confronting the country’s education sector include poor funding, inadequate facilities and infrastructure deficits.

He said the existing facilities, especially at the tertiary level, both public and private, were grossly inadequate, especially when compared to the number of qualified candidates seeking admission every year.

Mr Okoh, who spoke on the theme of the conference, “Transforming Education Across Borders,” said: “Over 1.6 million candidates have consistently been applying for admission in the last seven years, but only between 400,000 to 600,000 were offered admission annually due to the limited spaces in tertiary institutions”.

He said the global COVID-19 pandemic provided a reality check on the level of ICT infrastructure, especially in Nigerian public schools, saying, “Basically all the public schools found it very hard to provide virtual learning capabilities for students.”

Planned reform campaign

According to the BPE chief, Nigeria’s budgetary allocations to the education sector have hovered around 5.9 to 10.7 per cent, and the sector got an average of 7.2 per cent allocation within the last eight years.

He said apart from being insufficient for the desired growth and development of the most populous black nation, surviving the impending crisis of unemployment and its accompanying consequences require creative interventions from the relevant public and private stakeholders.

He said, deriving its power from the Public Enterprises Act of 1999, the BPE will be committed to embarking on an education sector reform programme “to radically transform and develop the sector”.

Highlighting the objectives of the proposed reform, Mr Okoh said it would facilitate the initiation of a sustainable funding model for education at all levels, which he noted will be implemented through appropriate instruments at both the federal and the sub-national levels.

He said the reform would improve education delivery systems at all levels, achieve optimal and equitable access at the different levels of education, and increase the quality of teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions by 10 per cent annually.

Mr Okoh added that the reform would also see to the production of internationally competitive graduates in all skill levels of education and ensure that curricula are relevant to the needs of the nation and modern society.

He concluded that the challenges and opportunities of transforming education across borders in Nigeria and Africa are significant and interrelated by addressing accessibility, teacher quality, educational inequality, and funding challenges.

“We can create an enabling environment for embracing technological advancements, celebrating diversity and offering collaboration as a successful recipe for bridging the gap,” he said.

TOSSE’s impact

The convener of TOSSE and CEO of Edumark Consult, Yinka Ogunde, said her organisation had been dedicated to fostering collaboration and creativity and promoting excellence in education.

“We believe that every student deserves access to quality education and that every educator deserves the tools and resources they need to help their students succeed,” she said.

Mrs Ogunde said education professionals should see themselves not just as people in the classroom but as people that can cause transformation in the lives of their students.

She urged the new government and “whoever is going to lead the education sector to initiate ideas beyond the national budget”.

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Commending the initiative, Mr Okoh reiterated the BPE’s commitment to partnering with key stakeholders to reform Nigeria’s educational system.

Mr Oko said: “With over 7,000 participants each year, this initiative represents 15 years of passionate, committed impactful support of the educational sector by creating a platform for all stakeholders to interact, discuss pertinent issues and devise creative solutions for current challenges in the sector.

“Education is the foundation upon which societies thrive, having an important role in economic and social development, wealth creation, and political stability. That is why we at the BPE are about to embark on the critical mission of partnering with key stakeholders to reform Nigeria’s educational system.”

Also speaking, the immediate past Special Adviser to Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun on Education, Ronke Soyombo, assured that the new administration of President Bola Tinubu would improve the quality of education in Nigeria.

Mrs Soyombo, a former director general of Quality Assurance Unit in the Lagos State Ministry of Education, said the President’s renewed hope manifesto had education as a major pillar.

Source: State Cross River - Premium Time

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