BY OLAYINKA LATONA
FORMER Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili weekend advocated a permanent structural change that would enhance the quality of education and skill development.
Dr Ezekwesili spoke at a Youth Empowerment Summit tagged: “Empowerment for Greatness,” organised by the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, at the church’s Conference Centre, on Kilometre 42, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State.
Attributing the decay in the education sector to anti-intellectualism, Ezekwesili explained that poor governance, continuous military rule, corruption, inability to manage natural resources were responsible for the low level of education in the country, noting that education has to be the business of everybody, as it is an investment rather than just a business.
Speaking on the current state of the sector in comparison to her time as minister, she said that her investigations revealed that the results in the sector were nothing to smile about, emphasizing that the country’s investment had not produced the result commensurate with it.
She therefore stressed the need for good governance in the education sector as well as the need to intensify effort in training and re-training of teachers.
In her words: “The decline in our education sector can be traced to military rule in our country; as military rule became the order of the day then it did not give room for scrutiny and accountability and as a result of that many things that have to do with intellect began to take the back seat. It was less intellectually driven and the academic began to suffer a great assault. We became almost an anti-intellectual country.
“Oil took place of knowledge as bases for greatness in the society. The value for effort and knowledge is no longer regarded, corruption crept into the education system, people did not have flare for learning, believing that once they have somebody in position of authority who can help them there is no need to be educated,” she maintained.
“The teaching profession suddenly lost its prestige and honour. In my own generation, teachers were like God because they were like personification of what you want to become in life. They have dignity and knowledgeable to the extent that we always admired to be like them when we grew up.