Improve Investment in Human Capital, Education, Finland Ambassador Tells FG

Ogechukwu Obi
The federal government has been urged to increase its investment in education and in different aspects of human capital development. The Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Jyrki Pulkkinen said it is imperative as the desired development is attainable when quality education is made accessible to all citizens.

Speaking at the 11th edition of TOSSE in Lagos with the theme ‘Future of Education in Africa’, Pulkkinen said governments must take cognizance of four factors that make education truly transformational such as accessibility, quality of education, relevance and teachers’ training.“Education requires new methodology especially if you have too many children to be educated; new education methods have to be applied from time to time. Also, education must be relevant such that it can be trusted to provide young people with the needed skills for them to survive.

“More importantly, teachers must be highly educated because they are not only facilitating learning, but also developing education. That is why in Finland we insist on having masters and scientific education for our teachers because they can actually be active transformation leaders in education.

Pulkkinen added: “Education is basically dependent on the level of education of the teacher. So the country should focus on how to train capable teachers for the future. Education model differs, in the UK and many other countries for example, teachers are trained to follow the curriculum but in Finland, that is not how we think education can be developed.

“For us, it is the teacher who prepares the curriculum, the teacher is a master of the curriculum as well as the keeper. Education should be seen as an investment. It is important that government invests more in education because without resources, there is no education, not even the four points can work without resources.”

Also, the keynote speaker, Prof. Bankole Sodipo called for an increase in the country’s education budget, as well as constitutional amendment that will make education a right. While stressing that education should not be left in the hand of government alone, he urged Nigerians to imbibe the culture of giving back to their alma mater.

“If you want to compete and have the kind of skills that will attract foreign investors; if you want to have a future, then the government needs to increase funding for education.
“If education is a right and it is well articulated, then the state and federal governments will know that they are not doing us a favour.” Also calling for alternative funding for the education sector, the Professor of Law said people should imbibe the culture of giving back to the system that made them.

In her remarks, the convener of TOSSE, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde reiterated the importance of the annual event, saying, “our desire is to be the rallying point for everything about education in Africa. To be a platform for key stakeholders concerned about the sector to meet and deliberate on issues.

“However, the question is how can we use education to build a new generation of Africans? If we are to do this effectively, what would be the key drivers? Improvement in the quality of our teachers; better managed private and public educational institutions and the integration of technology,” Ogunde said.

She also called on the government to take proactive steps to improve the education sector. “We expect the government to ensure continuous training for educators. This will enable everyone keep up with a fast-changing world; seek creative ways of solving problems within the sector; don’t politicize the education sector. Let us ensure we put competent people in charge of the ministry, among others.”

The Director General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs. Ronke Soyombo, who commended TOSSE for improving the learning experience among teachers, stated that teacher education and empowerment that align with global practices cannot be overemphasised in the development of education in Nigeria.

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