By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
The positive impact which the Roadmap for Nigerian education is expected to have on the sector will soon start manifesting as the National Roadmap Implementation Task Team (NRITT) has swung into action in line with the systematic implementation strategy encapsulated in the Roadmap.
The NRITT is made up of desk officers from parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) and has the duty of monitoring and coordinating the implementation of the Roadmap nationwide. It has a state equivalent, known as State Roadmap Implementation Task Team.
Following the approval of the Roadmap by the Federal Executive Council in July this year as the authentic guide for turning around the nationâ€™s education system, the NRITT under the chairmanship of Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) used every forum to inform all stakeholders the institutional arrangement put in place to ensure a successful implementation.
This advocacy by the National Implementation Task Team on the institutional framework for implementing the Roadmap has to do with clarification of the roles of various entities like the Federal and state governments, Federal and State Ministries of Education, boards of education at local, state and federal levels, local government chairmen as well as international development partners.
This complex task, which the NRITT has successfully carried out, is to ensure role refinement and prevent role conflict.
For the purpose of ensuring that all the parastatals under the FME carry out their statutory mandates within the context of the Roadmap, each of them has Roadmap Desk Office, with well defined functions. The NRITT, according to Prof. Obioma, has also carried out capacity – building programme for the Roadmap Desk officers of the parastatals under the FME, including all the Federal Unity Schools.
This capacity building roundtable has also been extended to Roadmap Desk officers at state level.
The chairman of the NRITT says of the necessity for this roundtable with Desk Officers at the national and state levels. â€œWe have called this roundtable for Roadmap Desk officers to define platforms, to build up their capacity in coordination at the state level, to define instruments of doing that and how to get reports.â€
He continues: â€œRemember that the implementation of the Roadmap is a collective affair. So, we must agree on the instrument of implementing that responsibility and how to get information. To build the capacity of state operators wasnâ€™t a mean task.
â€œWe have done that for 11 states in the country and we are doing it zone by zone. We have two more zones to complete.â€
The National task team for the Roadmap implementation will commence an aggressive communication of how the Roadmap is being implemented and the extent the national and state entities have gone in implementing it as from next year.
The national task team will carry out an assessment of state activities as regards the implementation of the Roadmap when it will also examine their strengths and weakness as well as areas it can assist them in carrying out their responsibilities.
Indeed, paratatals of the FME have been doing a lot to implement specific areas demanded of them by the Roadmap. For instance, the NERDC has set up and furnished six incubation centres, one in each of the geo-political zones where the council will provide training on vocational skills acquisition to out-of-school youths.
It is doing this in response to the need to harp on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), which is one of the four focal points of the Roadmap.
The Vocational Enterprise Institutions and Innovative Enterprise Institutions being coordinated by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), which is meant to engineer local technology, is also a significant aspect of the on-going implementation of the Roadmap.
However, both the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu and the Chief Executive Officers of parastatals of the FME have been using every opportunity at international fora to communicate the ideals of the Roadmap to the international community.
In July this year, the Minister of Educationâ€™s delegation was in Germany for a conference on sustainable development in education. One aspect which the minister and Prof. Obioma participated actively was on the issue of Technical and Vocational Education and Training where they showcased the Roadmap to those countries from across the globe that attended the conference.
This advocacy at the national and international levels will definitely continue in the years to come.