French teachers urge increased allocation to sector
The group made the call during its 18th yearly conference held at the Department of European Studies, University of Ibadan.
The event, which was an emotional homecoming for some retired French professors and those still in active service, had participants like Yemi Omojola, Victor Aire, Kester Echenim, Tunde Ajiboye, Raymond Elaho, Cyril Mokwenye, Babatunde Ayeleru and Tunde Fatunde in attendance.
It also featured presentation of a special award to the Minister of Health and immediate past vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof Isaac Adewole.
At the conference, which gave participants the opportunity to examine the nexus between the Nigerian economy and funding of education, professor of Francophone Studies, Lagos State University (LASU), Tunde Fatunde, said education and vocation training have fundamental impacts on all segments of the society as they assist in capacity building of Nigerians, thus the need for improved funding.
He said, “We must remind the Buhari-led administration that Nigeria is yet to redeem her pledge made before the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) summit in the early 1990’s to invest at least 26 per cent of her yearly budget on education and vocational training.
“Nigeria can only be a great nation in this century, driven by what is known as the knowledge industry, if government gives priority to education and vocation training for the 62 million illiterate Nigerians, who can neither read nor write.”
He charged government to reduce government’s spending and also ensure that funds recovered from individuals that have stolen billions of dollars from the state treasury are invested in the education and training of Nigerians.
“The president could initiate a parliamentary bill whereby the Nigerian state, at all levels, increases gradually, at least, five per cent of their yearly budgets on education and vocational training,” he added.
On Adewole’s award, he said, “He is an outstanding and accomplished professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, he was given this special award for one reason. The association found in him, a rare breed, amongst the comity of vice chancellors, who understands the strategic importance of French to national development. He initiated policies within the university to promote the teaching of the language to the benefit of all students who pass through the university.”
A special recognition was also given to the Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, Prof Zana Akpagu, who is the first professor of French Studies to be appointed vice chancellor of any Nigerian University.
Head of French Unit, Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State, Dr. Nnenna Nwosu, was introduced to the audience for developing, in close collaboration with an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) researcher, Sorbonne University, Paris, Khadijat Yusuff and Handel Emezue, also an ICT researcher at Caritas University, Enugu, a special lingua script keyboard with a view to promoting rapid literacy amongst Nigeria’s active population.
This specialised and customised keyboard won the best research in Humanities at her university’s 2014 Research Fair. There are indications that GSM manufacturers may soon mass-produce this special keyboard brand Nigerians.