By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
AS year 2010 rolls in tomorrow, the managers of the nationâ€™s education sector will be doing Nigerians a whole lot of good by making a new year resolution of taking the sector to an unprecedented higher level in 2010.
These managers of the education sector include the Minister of Education, Chief Executive Officers of parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) State Governors, Commissioners of Education in all the states of the federation, heads of schools at all levels as well as Chief Executives of examination bodies like the West African Examinations Board, National Examination Council and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.
As public tertiary institutions draw a significant part of their funds from the Federal and state governments, these proprietors need to provide adequate and sustainable funding. In view of the enormous importance of education for national development, education must continue to be funded heavily by public funds through budgetary and non-budgetary provisions.
The release of adequate funds to tertiary institutions should be used to effectively remedy deficiencies in programmes and facilities, to advance research, create conducive living and learning conditions for students, and to reverse the drain brain that has deprived the nation of a vital causal agency in national development.
Vice-Chancellors, rectors and provosts should, more than ever before, drive their institutions to generate funds without compromising the goals and integrity of these educational entities, making increased efforts in involving the private sector, Alumni, international development partners as well as sourcing funds through endowments.
The 36 state governors must be interested in making adequate budgetary allocation to education. The state of decay of primary and secondary schools in many states of the federation is appalling. School buildings remain derelict, pupils and students learn under leaking roofs. Classrooms are without desks and chairs. Many schools have no toilet. Teachers live in abject poverty occasioned by irregular payment of meagre salaries.
These are areas that need the urgent intervention of state governments, and the Federal Government in case of Unity Schools, instead of squandering the state resources on white-elephant projects. It is sad that over the years, government has failed to meet the 26 per cent budgetary allocation to education as prescribed by UNESCO.
The parastatals under the FME should redouble their efforts in the implementation of the Roadmap for Nigerian Education sector which has access and equity, standards and quality assurance, technical and vocational education and training as well as funding and resource mobilisation as its focal points.
While examination bodies should put in place strategies for curbing leakages of examination papers, all stakeholders should work towards the reduction or total eradication of examination malpractice as its does an incalculable damage to the standard of the nationâ€™s education.
It is heartwarming that the Minister of State for Education, Hajiya Aishatu Dukku has hinted on the preparedness of the Federal Ministry of Education to review institutional responsibilities for all relevant agencies with a view to redefining their targets, expanding scope of monitoring in order to ensure total coverage of curricular activities in every school.
Above all, bureaucrats who implement government policies need to be sincere and selfless if there is to be an appreciable progress in the efforts to uplift the nationâ€™s educational system.