Says need for physical schools dwindling
By Adesina Wahab
Former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Emeritus Professor Peter Okebukola, has said the nation would have to quadruple the current number of teachers in primary and secondary schools by 2050 to be able to cope with the demands of that time.
He also said the number of academic staff in higher institutions would have to be increased thrice, with half of them being for the university system.
Okebukola, who is the first distinguished as well as the first emeritus professor at the Lagos State University, LASU, said this on Tuesday while delivering the keynote address at the seventh international conference of the Faculty of Education of the university.
The theme of the conference is “Empowering education: Building the future.”
Okebukola noted that by the said year, the population of Nigeria is expected to have doubled to about 400 million.
He added that majority of students around the world might no longer have to physically go to school in order to get education by the said year.
Speaking on what the future being planned for would look like, he opined that by making use of the Regression Model, and setting the predicted future at 2050, there would be population explosion, increase in poverty, crime, corruption , high debt burden among others.
He therefore called for concerted efforts at planning ahead and meeting the expectations of the time.
“It is estimated that by 2050, Nigeria will need at least 320,210 doctors, and 781, 353 nurses. Five times the number of pharmacists will be needed. With food production less than a tenth of capacity to address zero hunger, and more than 400 million mouths to feed, we will need to hike production of different personnel in the agriculture sector by factor of ten with greater emphasis on mechanisation and the use of technologies,” he stated.
He submitted that education in the country would have to be strengthened in the areas of access, relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and equity.
“Let me take the opportunity of the theme of the conference “Empowering education: Building the future,” to suggest that in building a great future for the Lagos State University, out Vice Chancellor should empower the Faculty of Education! This suggestion rests on a very simple logic. All human resources which Lagos State and other states in Nigeria will require for building a glorious future will be taught directly or indirectly but teachers from a Faculty of Education of a university in Nigeria or elsewhere in the world,” he added.
In her speech, delivered by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, Prof. Wahab Elias, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mrs Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, said education is for a sustainable future and must not be toyed with.
She reiterated the commitment of her administration to reposition LASU and make it one of the best on the continent.
The Chairperson of the occasion, former Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, urged youths not to see schooling as just a mean to acquire certificates, but to see it as how to navigate life successfully.
The Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Tunde Owolabi, emphasised the need to position education to produce graduates that would be relevant to the needs of the society.