“Nigerian Education Must Engender Literacy, Skills, Values” – Kingsley Moghalu

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Renowned Political Economist and former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Kingsley Moghalu says Nigeria needs an educational system which would enhance the quality of its human capital, make it more globally competitive and reinforce its standing in the global community.

To this end, Prof. Moghalu challenged the Federal Government to rejig the nation’s education policy by making it focus on literacy, skills and national values.

He made this known recently at the University of Lagos where he delivered the 5th Arthur Mbanefo Lecture, which held to mark the 94th birthday of Nigerian Diplomat, Sir Arthur Mbanefo.

Speaking on: “Education and National Development: Meeting Nigeria’s Challenge in the 21st Century”, the guest lecturer emphasises the inseparable link between development in any nation and the quality of its education.

He frowned at the leap service accorded education in Nigeria by successive administrations especially at the centre, an ugly trend, which he said, accounts for the high number of out-of-school children, low literacy level, gender disparity especially in access to education, high rate of education incompletion and low education transition.

Prof Moghalu also frowned at the poor budgetary provision for education across all tiers of government in Nigeria, the lackadaisical approach to teachers’/tutors’ recruitment as well as outright non-compliance with notable recommendations from relevant stakeholders/development partners.

He noted that these issues make the Nigerian education system non-compliant with national needs hence “not fit for purpose”.

The former United Nations (UN) official called for a critical re-examination of the core objectives of education in Nigeria.

According to him, the core objectives of education in Nigeria must be anchored on literacy, skills development and inculcation of national ethos and core values.

The Ifekaego of Nnewi Kingdom said, “Nigeria’s 21st-century education policy must reflect a commitment to providing equitable, inclusive and high-quality education that empowers individuals, strengthens communities and drives national development”.

While emphasising the indispensability of standard and purpose-driven education in building a functional society, the former CBN Deputy Governor advocated that the reforms in the Nigerian education system should be hinged on human-centredness and intellectualism, social reconstructionism, national and cultural identity, pragmatism, equity and inclusion.

He also recommended a philosophical reorientation of the teaching profession to drive efficiency, strong commitment to adequate funding as well as stronger emphasis on STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) programmes from all stakeholders.

Earlier in her the remarks as the Chief host of the 5th Arthur Mbanefo Lecture, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, OON, FAS, congratulated the Honouree and Donor of the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC), UNILAG, Chief Arthur Mbanefo on his 94th birthday.

She described the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre as a legacy which came ahead of its time and gave UNILAG a quantum leap above its peers especially in digital research.

Prof. Ogunsola, to the delight of the crème-de-la-crème who converged for the event, reeled out the many success stories which UNILAG, through its 23 Research Centres and 4 Innovation and Tech Hubs, has recorded in harnessing technology, driving innovation and promoting indigenous knowledge.

Also in their separate remarks, Board Chairman of AMDRC, Mr Ernest Ebi and the Chairman of the lecture, Dr. Tolulope Adewole applauded the UNILAG Management as well as the rank and file of the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC) for ensuring optimal utilization and proper maintenance of the facility.

They described the theme for the 5th Arthur Mbanefo Lecture as apt especially when viewed against the backdrop of mass failures in public examinations, continued surge in out of school children, the poor quality of teachers and tutors as well as other noticeable anomalies plaguing the education sector in recent times.

In his remarks, the celebrant, Chief Arthur Mbanefo appreciated the gathering for honouring him with the lecture.

He also appreciated the UNILAG Management and administrative structure of AMDRC for their commitment to maintaining the facility, a feat described as rare and unanticipated.

While sharing his thoughts on the state of tertiary education in Nigeria, the Odu of Onitcha recalled with nostalgia, his years as the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile ife, Osun State and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, a sojourn, which he said, gave him a deeper understanding of the issues affecting public universities in Nigeria, and made him recommend the establishment of the Education Tax to the Federal Government, a policy which has since been scaled up to the current Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

He expressed dissatisfaction over the relegation of vocational and technical education in Nigeria. While calling for concerted efforts to guard against the imminent consequences of this loss, Chief Mbanefo challenged all stakeholders to work towards the resuscitation of vocational and technical education in Nigeria.

The former Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1999 – 2003) pointed out that the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC), UNILAG was originally conceived to serve as a digital centre which would bridge the resource gap and aid capacity building for educationists across all cadres.

Other highlights of the well-attended Lecture were the formal unveiling of A Compendium of 5 Years Arthur Mbanefo Lecture Series (2020 – 2024) and cutting of the birthday cake in celebration of Chief Arthur Christopher Mbanefo as he clocked 94 years.

The event hosted by the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC), UNILAG was graced by associates, friends and well-wishers of Chief Arthur Christopher Mbanefo including former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN; Publisher of Vanguard Newspaper, Uncle Sam Amuka, Senator Bode Olajumoke, Dr Ambrose Orjiakor, members of AMDRC Board; management staff of UNILAG among others.

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