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THE ONE-YEAR ACTION PLAN FOR EDUCATION SECTOR

By NBF News

The recently announced one-year action plan to resuscitate the ailing education sector is quite in order. We strongly believe that the Federal Government initiative will have the desired impact on the sector that has been riddled with policy reversals and inconsistencies, if it is well articulated and implemented.

The frequent policy shifts in the education sector actually call for a programme with a shorter time frame that will be easier to manage and accomplish. With a one-year focus, the plan will not suffer from implementation fatigue that has been the lot of many government programmes in recent times.

We, therefore, agree with the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa'i, that in implementing the programme, emphasis should be laid on strengthening the institutional management of education, and teacher education and development.

This is borne out of the fact that products of educational institutions are as good as their teachers. In other words, well trained and committed teachers are likely to produce bright and well rounded graduates. This is hardly contestable.

To make the initiative succeed, government plans to concentrate on four focal areas that will be re-prioritized and implemented. These, understandably, include access and equity; standards and quality assurance; technical and vocational education and training; funding and resource utilization. The success required in revamping the nation's education sector will largely depend on how effectively the problems emanating from these four critical areas are tackled.

These areas constitute the bulk of the myriad of problems facing education in Nigeria. Addressing them frontally will impact positively on the beleaguered sector and infuse a new lease of life into it. There is no doubt that if these areas are addressed, the sector will fare better.

We also commend the monthly review component of the action plan. Besides ensuring that the successes are evaluated and measured, it will also give room for necessary corrections to be effected while the programme is on. Most development plans in the sector and others, have failed in the past due to lack of effective review mechanism. We expect that this plan will not suffer the fate of others before it.

We enjoin all stakeholders including states and local governments to lend huge support to this worthy initiative. The beauty of the programme is that there is the likelihood that it will be accomplished within the stipulated time frame so that it does not suffer from policy somersaults that have been the bane of the sector. We doff our hat to the minister of education for bringing to fruition this innovative approach to project implementation and assessment. That is why it is good to deploy political appointees to their areas of core competence so that we can have square pegs in square holes and not the other way round.

Whatever is necessary to make the sector functional must be done. No amount of money committed to revamping education can be said to be too much considering its strategic importance to national development. Education is the bedrock of nation building as well as the roadmap to any country's socio-economic development. Any country that wants to develop industrially does not toy with its education system. A country is also as good as its education system. Unfortunately, successive administrations in Nigeria have paid lip service to this vital sector through utter neglect and poor funding.

Revamping the education sector should go beyond the usual ritual of policy pronouncements and rhetoric. It should be tackled with strong political will and sincerity beginning from primary schools to the tertiary level. Since funding is the major problem facing education, let government allocate more money to the sector.