RUFA'I IDENTIFIES QUALITY, ACCESS IN EDUCATION AS MAJOR ISSUES TO TACKLE
She added: 'You know the education sector is different from other sectors. It is difficult to actually say these are the problems. It is safer to tackle one thing at a time. In education, if you take one thing at a time, other things will suffer. The major issues that I can say in relations to others are the issues of quality and access. If we have quality in education, then we can go ahead'.
On the new curriculum, she said the ministry is prepared for the take-off in September and necessary machinery had been put in place for the exercise. She also hinted the need to change curriculum.
Rufa'i explained why government has not approved the take off of the conversion of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) and Kaduna Polytechnic (KADPOLY) as universities, adding what stalled the implementation was the establishment of the nine new universities.
'We are working on it. If you pressurize government on what to do, then it means we are battling with the issue of quality. We are now in the process of white paper development, we are just trying to see how government can address the issues' she noted.
On government white paper arising from the visitation panel reports to federal universities, the minister acknowledged that she promised to release the white paper in two weeks but because of the many institutions involved, it was not possible stressing 'what we are about doing is to present the white paper to government and then the recommendation implemented'.
The minster described as peaceful the conduct of the NCEE, stressing that the pupils' answers and rough work in the exam hall, were positive indicators that Nigeria has a future. 'With this set of pupils, I am sure Nigeria has a bright future', she said.
According to her, what she saw in the exam hall was a pointer to the fact that the nation needed to address the issue of education at a lower level. 'If we can address the issue of quality at this level, from primary to ensure whoever is going into junior secondary school is of good material, then we can talk of how to tackle quality in future', she added.
She attributed the increase in number of candidates for the NCEE to the confidence people have with the federal government because of the President's commitment to restore sanity in the sector. He said the President demonstrated this when he summoned two-education summit as well as set a presidential committee to come out with the recommendations.
The Zonal Coordinator of NECO in Lagos, Mr. Afolabi Abimbola, said there were 64 centers in Centre of Excellences with 250 pupils per center. He lauded the minister for monitoring the NECC in Lagos and described the planning of the NCEE as fantastic, adding 'you can see the result coming out well and even the minister's commendation'.
Abimbola maintained that the early morning down pour did not affect the common entrance exam, as the materials, supervisors and invigilators were around while the schools involved made arrangement for the pupils.