Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai
By Damilola Oyedele
The Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai, has appealed to member-states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to back the Pan African University in Ibadan for a smooth take off.
Rufai made this appeal Saturday at the conference of ECOWAS Ministers of Education in Abuja where she added that the Pan African University is necessary given the fact that Africa lags behind at the higher education sub-sector.
The minister said support for the institution, which she said was the only African university zoned to the West Africa sub-region, could be in the form of enrolment of students, popularisation of the school, technical and financial aid.
“I, therefore, wish to use this singular opportunity to specially solicit the support, cooperation and collaboration of all ECOWAS member states in ensuring the smooth take-off and viability of the West African hub of the Pan African University, the Institute for Life and Earth Sciences, Ibadan,” Rufai said.
Rufai, who is the Chair of the Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF), added that the critical position of the education sector in the development of the continent must be acknowledged. She described education as an invaluable means of developing human resources and imparting appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes.
“Education is the basis for developing innovation, science and technology. Education is the tool with which we as Africans can harness our rich resources, industrialise, participate in the global knowledge economy and take our rightful position in the global community.
“This is to the extent that the sub-region has been carrying out programmes and activities geared towards achieving the goals of the Second Decade of Education Action Plan (2006-2015), especially in relation to Education Management Information System (EMIS), Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Education for Peace, Promotion of Girls’ Education, Promotion of e-learning and use of Information Communications Technology (ICT) to improve access to quality education, as well as promotion of African languages in schools,” Rufai stated.