Nigeria can become strong emerging economy through education – Prof Adamolekun
By Dayo Johnson, Akure
A former World Bank consultant, Prof. Ladipo Adamolekun has said that it is only through quality education that Nigeria can become a strong emerging economy as it holds the key to unlock progress in all spheres of development – social, political, economic, and technological.
Prof. Adamolekun said this while delivering the 2012/2013 Distinguished Lecture of Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Ikeji Arakeji in Osun State.
The former Dean of the Faculty of Administration at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife and a former Lead Public Sector Management specialist at the World Bank spoke on The Education Sector in Crisis: Evidence, Causes and Possible Remedies.
He listed three major causes of the crisis in the education sector to include over-centralisation; implementation failure and de-emphasis on the value of education and decline of the teaching profession.
According to him; “Over-centralisation is, without question, a major cause of the crisis in the education sector and its origin is unarguably the intervention of the military in the governance of the country.
“The fact that military rule lasted for almost three decades (one of the longest in Sub-Saharan Africa) and was extended by a former military ruler and strong believer in centralisation who served as the first civilian president from 1999 to 2007, has resulted in the entrenchment of over-centralisation in a constitutional federal system.”
Adamolekun said that implementation failure can be due to either weak capacity to implement or the lack of political will to drive implementation.
He noted that “the UPE in Western Nigeria was successfully implemented because of the combination of a political leadership team with the will to drive its implementation and a competent civil service (also reputed as incorruptible) to execute the policy and deliver results on the ground in respect of both UPE and other aspects of educational development.
“In contrast to the Western Nigerian experience, the UPE introduced at the national level in 1976 failed because there was no sustained political will to drive it. Throughout the civilian interregnum of 1979-1983 and the return of the military for extended rule, the policy was abandoned.
“The successor, UBE, that was launched in 2004 has achieved rather limited results. Muddled political responsibility for UBE has been a major constraint and centralised implementation (for example, contracts for purchase of textbooks for students in all 36 states are awarded in Abuja) has hindered federal-state collaboration that is essential for effective implementation.”
He regretted that “all the oversight missions of the National Assembly in respect of the different sectors, including education, are tales of corrupt practices without a single MDA being made to account for implementation failure: teams of senators and representatives strut the land and return to Abuja with additional millions to their obscene self-allocated salaries.”
According to him; “NASS committees would rather descend on educational institutions for the usual extra earnings than organise a public hearing on how best to fix the 6-3-3-4 education system that is widely acknowledged as not being properly implemented.”