By EricJames Ochigbo
A Trustee of the Nigerian Academy of Education (NAE) Emeritus Prof. Otonti Nduka has said that Nigeria must prioritise education if the nation hopes to attain its developmental objectives.
In an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday, Nduka said education had been relegated to the background for too long and it had resulted in the problems being witnessed in all sectors and at all levels.
He said that although he was an optimist, he feared that the nation was not ready to address the problems of education now and even in the nearest future.
“I am an optimist but from what has been happening, there has not been much prospect of getting out our problems anytime soon.
“I hope we would get there some day but it is a very long time from now for I have not seen any real move to do so,” he said.
Nduka said that there was no state in Nigeria that was treating its education ministry as a priority.
According to the elder statesman, in the days of the regions, a very high percentage of the budget was allocated to education but ever since the era of oil, education became relegated to the background.
He said that it was unacceptable that only between six to nine per cent of the budget was voted to education and that those appointed to head the education ministry were usually not core educationist.
“Education has not being given the priority it deserves, an educationist rarely mans the education ministry and we have been paying the price,” he added.
In a separate interview, another trustee, Prof. Uduogie Ivowi said that there were good polices but government lacked the political will to implement them.
According to him, there is the Education for All policy of the government yet, there are about 13 millions of children that are out of school.
He said that the narrative is unacceptable and does not speak well of the largest black country in the world.
“We tend to toil with education, teachers salary not being paid, how do you intend to motivate them to teach well.
“If they do not teach well, the outcome will be low and that will affect national development; government has to take education far more seriously than as it is happening now,” he said.
Also, the Media Specialist of NAE, Mr Sylvester Onoja stressed the need to give adequate attention to the girl-child education in the country.
Onoja said that when you train a girl-child, you train a nation and that the future of any nation is dependent on the girl-child.