Minister of Education, Hajia Ruqayyatu Rufai
President Goodluck Jonathan Friday said that sound education, application of knowledge and policy implementation of early childhood education were key in promoting speedy development in the country.
He said in Port Harcourt, Rivers State while declaring open the third National Conference on Kindergarten Education, that laying proper foundation for early child education was key to stability and development for which the country must get it right.
Jonathan, who spoke through the Minister of Youth Development, Alhaji Inumo Abdul Kadir said, “Education is not a privilege, but an inalienable right of every child, we must make appropriate investments in early childhood education to achieve our lofty goals."
On his part, the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said, he would forward a bill to the Rivers State House of Assembly to make education compulsory at all levels.
Amaechi said, the move would compel parents to send their children to school from their childhood as offenders would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Also, Minister of Education, Hajia Ruqayyatu Rufai identified lack of adequate facilities and lack of qualified manpower as some of the challenges of childhood education, adding that plans had already been concluded by the federal Government to work closely with state governments to establish early childhood schools to achieve set target.
In her welcome speech, wife of the Rivers State Governor, and Founder of ESI, Dame Judith Amaechi said, the initiative is targeted at promoting social justice and called for legislative backing to achieve desired results.
In her lead paper presentation, former World Bank Vice-President, Oby Ezekwesili said, the importance of education in any economy was the vehicle through which societal development can be achieved.
She listed six core areas of development that can enhance the educational system in the country as early childhood education, basic education, secondary education, tertiary education, special education, as well as informal or adult education.
Ezekwesili stressed that early childhood education would address the problems of inequality and societal dislocation, explaining that the review of National Policy on Education was on course.
She urged public and private Sectors, including Non-Governmental Organisations, stakeholders and community leaders to take kindergarten education seriously.