*At special retreat for members of the Federal Executive Council
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, for the “important reforms” he has introduced into the state’s education sector.
Buhari gave the commendation when he flagged off a special retreat for members of the Federal Executive Council at the State House in Abuja on Monday.
He said the retreat is aimed at preparing the participants on how to better tackle the numerous challenges facing the nation’s education sector.
According to a post on Buhari’s verified twitter handle, experts from government agencies, civil society organisations and development institutions have been invited to facilitate the retreat.
I just opened a Special Retreat of the Federal Executive Council on the challenges facing Nigeria’s education sector. We’ve brought together Government officials, academic experts, civil society and development institutions for this all-important conversation.
I touched on the situation in Kaduna, where Gov el-Rufai is trying to implement important reforms. It’s a very serious situation when teachers cannot pass the exams they’re supposed to administer to their students. It underscores the urgent need for comprehensive national reform.
Speaking at the opening of the retreat, Buhari said that Nigeria “is facing numerous challenges in education and all other sectors as a result of historical abuses, mindless impunity and corruption is not news to anyone”.
“With an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, to mention some of the challenges, we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered,” Buhari said.
“We are determined to turnaround the sector for the better. We are already making appreciable progress in this respect.
“This summit must therefore, among other things, sharpen our strategies for addressing the challenges of basic and secondary education, teacher training and professional development; technical and vocational education.
“The significance of this summit is obvious. We cannot progress beyond the level and standard of our education.
“Today, it is those who acquire the most qualitative education, equipped with requisite skills and training, and empowered with practical know-how that are leading the rest.
“We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future.
“This administration is committed to revitalising our education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive.
“One of the primary roles of education is to build and sustain individual and society’s development. It renews and improves the economic, social, political and cultural aspects of any nation.
“Education upgrades the living standard of citizens and enables people to become better and more productive citizens. It is a human right that creates a safe, healthy and prosperous society.
“It changes the visions and perspectives of individuals, enhances critical decisions and improves democracy. Indeed education is paramount and necessary requirement for all-round development.”
The Kaduna State Government said it is going to lay off more than 20,000 teachers who failed to pass a Primary four pupils’ examination which they were required to take as part of a competency test.
However, the move has set the State government against the organised labour as the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress has vowed to oppose the decision to sack teachers.