President Muhammadu Buhari will participate in the Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021 to 2025 taking place on the 28th and 29th July in the United Kingdom.
The summit brings together Heads of State and Governments as well as officials and youth leaders to provide a platform for partners to chart a way forward toward transforming education systems through the exchange of best practices.
President Buhari’s physical attendance at this GPE summit is a step in the right direction. This summit tasks member countries to commit to more than just funding domestic education budgets by placing greater emphasis on improving learning outcomes and employing new techniques and methodologies which have been proven to yield better results for students.
President Buhari’s physical attendance corroborates his commitment, promises and assurance to give more emphasis to education including the allocation of more resources to the sector under his administration. President Buhari reiterated this promise on Thursday, July 22nd while receiving the proprietress, principal, and students of a private school, Premier Pacesetters School, Daura, at his house, through a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
Based on the success already recorded by two trailblazing state government education projects, EKOEXCEL in Lagos State and EdoBEST in Edo State, a surefire way for President Buhari’s administration to fulfil campaign promises and answer the call to action issued in President Kenyatta’s name ahead of the GPE summit is to place the Federal Government’s executive might behind leveraging technology-supported learning to improve equity in access to education and investing in strengthening the capacities of teachers, recognising the instrumental role that they play in determining learning outcomes. Learning is a science.
To take an analogue approach to education, one not based upon scientific principles, technology and the analysis and utilisation of reliable data is to damage the efficacy of education systems; and limit the progress of the children they are there to serve.
In Lagos State, the EKOEXCEL basic education programme, is a prime example of this new approach to education imagined by the GPE and its Co-Chairs.
Tens of thousands of government teachers have been re-trained and are now supported to teach in a digital and scientific way. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu explains his Government invested in EKOEXCEL in order “to change the learning outcomes from our schools. We believe a solid foundation for our children starts with qualitative primary education.”
Results are excellent. According to the Lagos State education board, EKOEXCEL is dramatically accelerating learning, with children learning two times more maths and three times more in literacy.
EdoBEST basic education programme in Edo State, Nigeria, is delivering transformational change across more than 1,000 public primary schools. It has just celebrated its official third anniversary, having been showered with praise by the World Bank, which calls EdoBEST a great example for other states in Nigeria and even other countries to follow. Edo’s Governor, Godwin Obaseki told CNBC Africa recently that the local political desire to change learning outcomes, in order to drive wider development, had been crucial.
“For a reform process like EdoBEST to be a success, political leaders have to wish to take on this kind of reform; they have to be personally motivated, they have to show commitment. When you show commitment – everybody else will invest. Leadership is key.”
The Federal Government is already taking positive steps aligned with the GPE call to action, towards the actualisation of education transformation in Nigeria, this can be seen in recent activities of the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Study (NIPSS) foremost federal government think tank. The NIPSS was tasked by the federal government to recommend an implementation strategy for basic education in 14 states of Nigeria for presentation to the President and EdoBEST is the model for this presentation.
NIPSS partnered with the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) with a view to formulating policy that will improve basic education in the country. The Leader of Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Study (NIPSS), Rear Admiral Leye Jaiyeola noted that: “EdoBEST has come up as a success story and we want to see what we can pick from EdoBEST that will become a practice for other states of the country, especially how to get things done.
We have seen that EdoBEST is a way of getting things done, they have not just talked but actualised it. So, it is a story we would put together and when we are making our final presentation to Mr President, we would reflect it so that other states would emulate it.”
President Buhari’s presence at the GPE Summit, his mandate, promises and commitments translated into political will and action can not come too early for the critical situation of education in Nigeria. It is vital that the Federal Government takes central leadership in the transformation of learning outcomes for millions of Nigerian children and help give them the quality education they deserve as the future of Nigeria.