***‘He’s a silent achiever’
***Yet to see one innovation by him —Don
***Difficult to evaluate people without clear goals —CIAPS
By Dayo Adesulu, Tare Youdeowei, Elizabeth Uwandu & Kelechukwu Iruoma
FOLLOWING the actions of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, in 2016, which ranged from having WAEC/GCE exams held twice a year, reducing JAMB cut-off mark, to the scrapping of Post-UTME, stakeholders have disclosed an array of opinions of the minister. While few said it is too early to score him, many are of the opinion that he should be assessed and criticized so he can do more.
Too early to assess: Scoring the minister, the Deputy Director, Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan, Professor Oyesoji Aremu, said: “While one year seems too early a period of assessment for a public officer of the stature of education minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, the fact remains that assessment of his score card in office thus far would provide a basis through which his stay in office would draw some inferences that could spur him to do better.”
According to him, the last one year in office as a minister of education has brought some stability to the sector. He alluded the stability in the sector to his listening ability and his administrative zest through which he carries the stake holders along, and stressed that the minister had also listened to public outcry as regards some unpopular policies of one or two agencies in his ministry.
FG/ASUU agreement: He said: “This singular act, has made members of the public rate the administration of President Muhammad Buhari high. Similarly, the recent policy pronouncement in which Federal universities were directed to face academic core mandates that propelled their establishment, is a welcome development. This would halt the unnecessary drift being experienced by some universities in Nigeria.
“The minister should also be scored high given the reassurance on Federal Government/ASUU 2009 Agreement. While it is not through, the minister should be encouraged to make sure this is driven to a logical conclusion in order to ensure peace in our universities. The above notwithstanding, there is a need for the minister to revisit the policy on UTME and Post-UTME debate. For emphasis, each university should be allowed to determine and regulate its admissions policy in the spirit of university autonomy.”
In his assessment of the education minister, Professor Isaac Albert, Director, Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, said that Mallam Adamu Adamu has not done badly. He, however, pointed out that he was yet to see one of the minister’s innovation in the sector. “He has not performed badly though I am yet to see one innovation by him,” he said.
On his part, the Director, Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS), Professor Anthony Kila, said he found it difficult to evaluate people and offices that do not set out clear goals. He noted, “It is getting more and more mind boggling to evaluate people and offices that do not set out clear goals.”
For Mr Jacob Adeoye of the Department of Public Relations and Advertising, School of Communication, Lagos State University, the education helmsman needs to make his goals clear and speed up the growth process. “I prefer not to use the word performed. He comes off as a quiet person but I hope he will be a silent achiever. I have not seen or read any policy thrust of this government as per education.
No visible plans: ” I have also not seen any plans, whether short, medium or long term, in primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education. If there is any, not much has been done to articulate such and bring it to public domain. I also think he is average, though his impact has not been felt in this sector,” Adeoye said.
It is too early to score the performance of the minister of education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, Dr. Adeyemi, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies, Caleb University, said. However, she stated that the minister has to have the right team to come out with great achievements. “The minister of education should get the right team as he can’t do it alone. When he has the right team to support his vision, he will be able to come up with great programmes and actualise projects.”
Wrong steps: Chukwudi Unah, a 400 level Law student of University of Nigeria, UNN, said: “Though the minister of education should not take all the blame for the failures of the sector, he, however, took some wrong steps towards what he termed repositioning the sector. For instance, the sacking of the 13 vice chancellors without recourse to the laws establishing universities is a serious disregard for the rule of law.
“According to Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, in its recent publication, 44 per cent of Nigerian students who went through public schools would not have learnt how to read a complete sentence on completion of primary education. This has been attributed to poor funding, lack of incentives for teachers and lack of proper check on activities of these public owned schools.
Private public partnership: “The N540.01billion allocated to the education sector in 2017, has not met the UNESCO requirement for the percentage of a country’s budget allocation on education. To address these challenges, the minister will have to seek partnership with the private sector and Non Governmental Organizations to promote a better education system in 2017 and not solely relying on the budget.”
A graduate of UNN, who identified himself as Wilfred Aziegbe said, “The 540bn allocated to education is a sheer display of the Federal governmen’s disdain for the sector. Education, which is the hub on which societal growth and development thrives, has long been relegated. I haven’t been following his policies, but one thing I know is that across several states of the federation, teachers are consistently being owed salaries and some states have even out rightly refused to pay teachers salaries. Oyo State is a case in point.
“Areas of upgrade, if I’ll suggest, are facility upgrade in primary and secondary schools across the federation; improvement in teachers’ welfare scheme (primary and secondary); massive retrenchment of incompetent lecturers from the nation’s tertiary institutions, to mention a few. We, however, cannot talk of a better welfare package as most of our tertiary institutions are filled with lecturers with antiquated ideas, who are not willing to upgrade and update themselves.
Massive overhaul: “A massive overhaul of academic staff of tertiary institution is what I’ll rather advocate and recommend, as well as more disbursements and grants for scientific and media research.”
Igiri Israel, a graduate said of one of the old generation universities said, “so far so good, Mallam Adamu Adamu has not done much even though I think the idea of WAEC-GCE exam being held twice a year is a welcomed one. In development, he still has a lot to do. The idea of scrapping the Post-UTME exam in all tertiary institutions in the country is a bad one.
“This is because it would increase the rate of corruption in the sector. I say this because a majority of students who get good results in their O’level and JAMB exams through malpractice would end up getting admission into tertiary institutions at the expense of those who really worked hard for their grades.
Discouraging hardwork: “The implication is that the intelligent ones would not be given the admission while those who are not ready to work hard to succeed would get admission. This means tertiary institutions would graduate more incompetent graduates than the competent ones. Secondly, the idea of reducing the JAMB cut-off mark for admission into tertiary institutions is not encouraging. This would discourage hardwork on the part of the candidates. Instead of trying to solve many of the challenges facing the educational system, we’re adding more to the existing problems.
“The challenges of insufficient laboratories, exam malpractice, poor/low funding of the sector and inadequate research centres should be tackled. As far as I am concerned, Mr. Adamu has not been impressive. He still has a lot to do if Nigeria is to get to the 26 per cent benchmark set by UNESCO as a yardstick for educational development.”