Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that his government â€œwill henceforth deal decisively with any university council in the country that fails to deal with reported cases of sexual harassment on their campusâ€.
He has also said that in order to demonstrate federal governmentâ€™s commitment to the development of the nationâ€™s human capital, he has directed the National Economic Council (NEC) to convene a special session on Thursday, June 28 to interact with the Minister of Education and his team on the principal challenges facing the education sector.
He said the council is expected to receive briefings on issues such as out of school children, basic and secondary education, tertiary education, skill development and entrepreneurship as well as the thorny issue of funding and the judicious utilisation of the funds.
The president, who was represented at the 29th and 30th combined convocation ceremony of the University of Jos by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abdulrashid Adamu Abubakar, also said that the meeting will also review and harmonise the mechanisms for partnership between the federal and state governments for more effective formulation and implementation of educational policies and programmes to ensure the success of the reform agenda of the government.
He explained that the overall objective of the proposed meeting on education is to underscore his administrationâ€™s determination to transform the countryâ€™s vast human resources into assets and agents of sound economic growth and development, adding that Nigerian universities in particular must be prepared to play a major role in the nationâ€™s desire to create a safer and more prosperous country.
He said: â€œTo play any major role in Nigeriaâ€™s social, economic, political and cultural transformation, however, all universities in the country must demonstrate commitment to the core values of honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability and rule of law.
â€œThey must promote the culture of tolerance, accommodation and respect for other peopleâ€™s cultures, religions and ways of life. They must stamp out all forms of academic and financial corruption, social vices including the worrying spate of sexual harassment which has continued to tarnish the cherished reputation of our nationâ€™s citadels of learning.â€
He noted that Nigeria is living in an age of knowledge where education or human capital holds the key to successes as a people and as a nation.
Buhari stressed that only education, particularly the type of quality education produced in good universities, can instigate rapid social, economic, scientific and technological changes needed to guarantee the countryâ€™s march to the future with pride and confidence.
He believes that education remains the most potent weapon for injecting hope in the youth and the governmentâ€™s ability to negotiate a better quality of life for the people.
â€œWe need to change the way we do things in Nigeria. We need to change our attitude towards education if we desire genuine change and progress in our country. We need to change before it is too late. Nigeriaâ€™s challenges are multiplying by the day. Tackling these challenges would require different but fresh perspectives anchored on innovative approaches to education delivery throughout the country.
â€œIt is imperative, therefore for universities in this country to take the lead in opening our minds to the emerging scenarios and equipping ourselves to meet the challenges posed by these challenges. We cannot afford to be strangers in the new world being shaped by education and technological advancement,â€ he said.