Former Commissioner of Education, in Kogi State, Hon. Rosemary Ojochenemi Osikoya, Nollywood actress, Ms. Kate Henshaw, Education Reform Expert, Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, Child Rights Advocate who is the Executive Director of GIFTAC Empowerment Foundation, Miss. Gift Enwere and Lawmaker in Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Debo Ogundoyin over the weekend called on governments at all levels to urgently address the decaying manifestations in Nigeria’s education system, using 21st century technology.
They advocated for the introduction and deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools in Nigerian schools for the sustenance of quality education for national development.
In her opening remarks, in the well-attended webinar conference, Enwere, who is the convener of the meeting said it was to proffer solution to the challenges confronting the nation’s educational sector especially at the primary level as according to her, the development of Nigeria can only be dependent on the quality and functionality of its proactive educational policy.
She urged stakeholders to swing into action to bring about the desired change and reform that will move Nigeria forward from where it presently is.
She said: “Education is the bedrock for the sustainability of national development. Therefore, the quality of education received by every Nigerian child is guaranteed by the ability of different stakeholders in education to embrace the task of achieving quality education by making future projections that require insight to the past, present and the future.
She advocated that the future forecasts should meet the demands of the 21st century which is technologically driven that will advance a nation in all ramifications.
In her remark, Henshaw, called for accessibility and equal opportunities for both the boy and girl child with discrimination, so that they can in turn give back to the society.
She urged parents to have a change of mind set regarding the girl child, stressing that equal educational opportunities for both gender will resolve some fundamental problems besetting the country.
She recalled an experience in Makoko area of Lagos State, of a man who sells fish but with the assistance of his daughter who put it online and he was able to access a wider range of customers.
According to Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, the heart of a nation is in the quality of its education. While decrying the falling standard of the country’s education, she said the country cannot advance with a solid educational foundation.
Mba-Uzoukwu said: “Until we look forward we cannot advance. Performance in schools is not close to where it ought to be. We need to fix this situation. The future of education is digital and we need to include technology to the educational space.
“We have to make a wholesale commitment to technology and is the fastest way of taking equitable education to a faster range of people”
She urged the government to consider access to gadgets not just textbooks as such adequate provision of gadgets to children and teachers, adding though that the government cannot replace teachers with gadgets.
Technology, according to her, implies learning without walls and gives room for a larger means of learning, which has become the current digital literacy traction in the developed world.
If Nigeria must compete with her counterparts in development, she said, the country must look at how to adapt to the 21st century through technology.
She said: “We must address the overwhelming nature of where we are. We cannot totally rebuild the 19th century model and we cannot separate ourselves from the 21st century. Embrace the new than emphasizing the old.”
In his contribution, Ogundoyin, a lawmaker, called for competent and well trained teachers to help in the entrenchment of quality of education in the country.
Ogundoyin, called for increased budgetary allocation in the educational sector for teachers, to build more infrastructures while at the same time renovating dilapidated equipment.
As part of government policy, he said Oyo state government has free education is free, stressing that there is no need making it free when it’s not quality driven.
He said: “The state gives 7 free textbooks to each student which improves the quality of education given which actually made people withdraw from private schools to public schools.
“About 5,000 teachers and 2,000 non-teaching staff were employed and underwent CBT tests to encourage familiarity and the use of technology. I think it’s something other states should emulate.”
Hon. Rosemary Ojochenemi Osikoya, said: “Nigeria has a policy on education and it’s the right of children in Nigeria to be educated. It is a fundamental and constitutional right.
“It is a shared responsibility within the three tiers of government to ensure this right is enforced. Access to the school has been an issue as well as the proximity for the children to get to the available schools as well as the quality of learning aids and teachers.
Osikoya, however, acknowledged that there has been a gap between policy, funding and administration to ensure that every child is educated.
According to her, one of the banes of Nigeria’s educational development is implementation, adding: policy has been made, the implementation has been an issue as well as funding to ensure this project