By Gbenga Olarinoye
OSOGBOâ€”Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayatu Rufaiâ€™I has declared that there was need to take critical review of free education policy in the country, saying that the policy should be discarded.
The Minister in her keynote address at the 25th annual conference of the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, AVCNU, hosted by the Osun State University, Osogbo campus yesterday stated that the clamour for free education should be reviewed.
Professor Rufai who spoke on â€œThe new National Education road map: Towards reinventing the higher education sector,” said the truth was that education has never been free since the bill has had to be picked by some quarters.
Represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Professor Julius Okogie, the Minister noted that â€œrecent experiences have clearly shown that with the teeming population of Nigerian youths whose thirst for higher education has not been satisfied the continued clamour for free education should undergo a critical review.â€
Nigeria needs sound Education
For the attainment of Vision 20: 2020 target of the Federal Government, Professor Rufai noted that this vision may become an herculean task except there was a sound educational base for Nigerian citizens.
Her words: â€œMany countries of the world derive so much revenue from the already built human capital that is paraded by them. Such huge human capital does not just spring up overnight. They are usually, products of serious planning and execution of plans.
â€œAs Nigerians, we should jettison the defeatist attitude of impossibility and cloth ourselves with the optimistic attitude that development are attainable.
â€œIn the light of this challenge, serious efforts should be deployed towards ensuring that all stakeholders in the education sector: government agencies, administrators of tertiary institutions, lecturers, students, parents, corporate bodies and the society at large are pulled into the train of the success of the sector.
In his contribution, the state Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola said the Nigerian University system and indeed the tertiary education sector is currently being confronted with several challenges such as the relevance of curriculum and output of these institutions to national development challenges.
Prince Oyinlola who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Kazeem Adio, stressed that it was imperative without any further delay for the Nigerian Universities to respond collectively and individually to these challenges.
The Vice- Chancellor of UNIOSUN, Professor Sola Akinrinade disclosed that it was the intention of the management of the institution to develop it into a veritable platform for the evolution of ideas that can positively impact upon the development of its environment.