Ibidapo-Obe urges systematic upgrade of sector for positive turnaround

Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe

Former vice chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Ibidapo Obe has tasked the Federal Government to have clear written policies to exit the emergencies in the education sector.

He posited that the sector apart from funding needs a systematic upgrade to achieve the desired turnaround.

Ibidapo-Obe spoke at the Aelex 12th annual lecture titled “ Schooling without learning, ” held at the Muson Centre, Lagos.

According to him, “The Education Sector today is in the doldrums and President Mohammadu Buhari has said the ‘obvious’ a little too late.

“An emergency has been declared in the sector; I do concur with the need for an emergency but what next? What are the set targets? What do we do to exit the emergency in education? Yes to more funding but we need more than funding to achieve the desired turn-around. Throwing money at this challenge is not likely to do the turn-around. It has to be a systematic upgrade of the system.

The former vice chancellor added, “We often talk about those technology -driven economies that we were at per with in the 1950s and 1960s (Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, China, Vietnam, among others) but forget to recognise and use the raison-d’etre for their emergence which is Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme as the key instrument for emancipation.

“For example, we have always had a policy of 60:40 bias for Science vis-à-vis Humanity for as far back as late 1960s when I was a student in the University but it has been almost impossible to achieve. Where is the will to enforce such policy in our public funded institutions? The resultant output is that our leaders/policymakers cannot think ‘Science’ and cannot appreciate the need to boost education. The education budget has not exceeded 10 percent since the advent of democratic governance in this country.

This is compared to the expenditure budget emancipation of the 1st republic that ranges from 45 to almost 50 percent in certain regions of the country.

He posited that attitudinal change to education is needed which should be propelled by the leaders so that it can be given the pride of place in budgetary allocation and promptness in harvesting innovative products from those institutions.

“As the global competition for technological innovation and excellence gathers pace; our institutions especially the higher institutions need to face challenges of teacher education as well as generation of patents and intellectual properties.

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Ibidapo ObeSTEMUNILAG


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