Hold Govt Accountable for Policy Implementation, Okebukola Tells Nigerians

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Funmi Ogundare

The Chairman of Council, Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State, and former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola has called on Nigerians to hold the government accountable to implement policy that can rank well on the global league table.

He said such policy implementation must go with a high degree of ideality and a monitoring team or committee must be put in place that would ensure that the government provides funding or resources to back it up.

Okebukola, who was the guest speaker at a stakeholders’ engagement forum on the review of the Lagos State Policy on Education, organised by the state Ministry of Education, expressed concern that government only makes policy statements that are hardly implemented because nobody is policing their implementation.

In his paper, ‘Education Policy Review: The Journey So Far’, he said: “We have very good policy in different sectors but implementing the policy is our challenge and the reason is that we don’t have a monitoring and implementation mechanism embedded in the policy.

“Everyone must be accountable. There must an implementation committee that will be monitoring how well it is being delivered. At the end of the year, a report can be written to government, they should be able to identify what the challenges are in the implementation with a view to fine tune the policy and put more resources in place so that year in year out, we can see the implementation of that policy.”

He revealed that the NUC is coming out with a National Policy on Open Educational Resources triggered by the Executive Secretary, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, adding that an implementation mechanism has been built in to monitor and reported upon every year.

“The policy will be sent to the Joint Consultative Committee on Education (JCCE) this week after which it will come to NCE. What they have done is to avoid the pitfalls in education, health, agric sectors among others.”

Okebukola, who is also the Director of the UNESCO Institute for African Culture and International Understanding, argued that the National Policy on Education (NPE) cannot stand side by side with that of the NUC, adding, “Lagos State has a good policy on education, but it does not have the best ranking in terms of performance of students in SSCE, NECO and WAEC on account of implantation. I will assume that our policy on science and technology is very good but we don’t rank well on the global league table.

“The reason is that we don’t have adequate resources to teach sciences in our laboratories and provide teachers with knowledge and skills through training and workshops. So that is the gap that we see and until we are able to badge that gap between what the policy prescribes and practices, we will continue to get distortion in performance.” He stressed the need for the NPE to be reviewed holistically.

The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Adebule said the government realised the need to review the education policy, which was last reviewed in 1998 to re-align it with current realities and best practices.

“The new policy will seek to inculcate appropriate knowledge, attitudes, values and skills for individual, state and national development. A review committee was constituted in January 2016 to provide a functional framework for the delivery of effective, efficient and access to inclusive education.

“We will appreciate your continued collaboration and cooperation to achieve our collective aim of making education very effective and efficient for the benefit of our dear state.”

Adebule, who also oversees the state ministry of education, said the ministry would justify the huge investment on education by the Ambode-led administration.

Some of the stakeholders suggested that the status of teacher be spelt out in the document as the key driver of quality education. They also suggested that the rights and privileges of private school owners be specified in the document to allow them key fully into the policy implementation.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Adebunmi Adekanye, said the state government’s commitment towards raising the standard of education prompted the policy review.