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The Whys and Wherefores of Mr. President’s education drive, by Fredrick Nwabufo Education

Fredrick Nwabufo

The Whys and Wherefores of Mr. President’s education drive, by Fredrick Nwabufo

Education. It is a recipe for generational transformation and an inviolable promissory note for securing the future. A nation secure and assured is one with the requisite investments, policies, initiatives, interest, ambition, and avidity for education.

Educating the children is empowering the future. There is no future without the children, and there is no hope for tomorrow without an educated, illumined, and productive population. The seeds for a brighter future are our children for whom we must provide the necessary education and pedagogical accoutrements to bear our torch and carry it into the future.

According to UNICEF, as of June 2022, one in three children are out of school (OOS) in Nigeria: 10.2 million at the primary level and 8.1 million at the junior secondary school (JSS) level1. 12.4 million children never attended school, and 5.9 million left school early. Nigeria’s OOS population accounts for 15 percent of the global total.

These statistics are obviously troubling, especially for a very conscientious, proactive, forward-thinking, disciplined, and determined administration. President Bola Tinubu has been on a passionate endeavour to ensure that the future of our country is secure by investing in and securing the education of our children.

He had expressed concerns about the agitating figure of out-of-school children in the country, saying: “We must address this issue by establishing more schools, recruiting teachers, and providing at least one meal a day for the school children, aligning with the progressive ideology we aim to pursue.”

At the presentation of the 2024 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly in November 2023, the President emphasised that he was prioritising ‘’human development with particular attention to children, the foundation of our nation’’. In the budget, education gets a chunk of N2.2 trillion, a much higher sum than that of 2023, which was N1.08 trillion.

Speaking with members of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) at the State House in Abuja, on Friday, the President asked the governors to fashion a solid scaffolding that ‘’will make the implementation of the school-feeding programme more comprehensive and successful across all states of the federation, taking into consideration the peculiarities of each locality, but working towards having all children in school’’.

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He said: “We have children of school age who are out of school. The way to promote education is to get all governors, including the opposition governors, involved in the school-feeding programme. Please, take it seriously. We should not measure the children as statistics. We should measure their return to classrooms as our achievement. We should see economic growth in terms of value and empowerment. We should set up a committee to look into the methods. I am ready to invest in school feeding.’’

The President also said ‘’the school-feeding programme would encourage more investments in agriculture, particularly in livestock farming and dairy, and that the former Kano State Governor and APC Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, had already worked on a proposal that would be shared for input and implementation’’.

Addressing the challenge of out-of-school children will require an inter-governmental approach, as this problem is not the exclusive burden of the government at the centre. It concerns everyone. It is about our future. Reassuringly, this is the slant from the President’s meeting with the Progressive Governors Forum.

Also, the President recently approved the sum of N683 billion as the 2024 intervention fund for public tertiary institutions in the country. Universities are to receive N1.9 billion each; polytechnics — N1.1 billion each; and colleges of education, N1.3 billion each.

According to the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Sonny Echono, 90.75 percent of the fund is earmarked for direct disbursement; 8.94 percent for designated special projects, and 2.27 percent for response to emerging issues. This is in the fervid effort to revamp our public institutions by providing the needed funding and the necessary tools and environment for academic excellence.

The Student Loan Scheme and other education-specific initiatives are in the offing as well and are aimed at addressing the long-standing issues in the education sector, as well as creating a more sustainable model of funding for tertiary education.

The whys and wherefores of these deliberate, spirited, bold, and outstanding interventions on education are to secure today and tomorrow; to protect the future of our children and that of our country.

We have to prepare our people for the world of today and of the future. Skills, education, and knowledge are the most important currencies in this new age. The Tinubu administration is bringing the future to citizens by its vehement predisposition to educating the children.

Fredrick Nwabufo is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Engagement

Kidnapped School Children

Yauri FGC Students, Kebbi (Freed)

The last victims released spent 707 days from June 17, 2021 – May 25, 2023

Baptist School Students, Kaduna (Freed)

Spent 850 Day from July 5, 2022 to November 2, 2023

Tegina Islamiya Pupils, Niger (Freed)

Spent 88 days from May 30, 2021 – August 26, 2021

Report By: PRNigeria.com

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