Former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, yesterday bemoaned the dwindling fortunes of the nation’s education sector, predicting that by 2020, the sector will breed highly trained criminals and girls of easy virtue across the globe.
She regretted that seven years after she left the sector, it was still bedevilled with crisis.
Ezekwesili, who addressed participants at the 2014 Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in Abuja, also noted that the tertiary education model was ridden with what was technically known as the funnel syndrome.
Her words: “We are assimilating and educating only a fraction of the critical mass of society while neglecting a larger uneducated mass. We are producing less and less of the leaders of tomorrow, the managers, the entrepreneurial class, the teachers, the doctors, the policymakers, the law enforcement officers and the professionals.”
Proffering solution to the decadence in the sector, she advised that the ministry should look into what she described as personality mix by focusing on quality leadership from the top down to the gate of the ministry.
According to her, the ministry should look at the school curriculum, institutions and teachers to frontally address the issue.
Ezekwesili harped on the need for organised training and retraining of teachers and a cost-sharing arrangement between the Federal Government and states.
Ezekwesili expressed fear that given what was on ground, the Federal Government would definitely not achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on education, saying the pessimism on the MDGs was based on the fact that many Nigerians do not have access to education, a problem she placed on the doorstep of the Federal Government.
The former minister also scored the government low, insisting that the country’s education was in a precarious situation.
She warned that given the present education policy, where only a few had access to tertiary education, she said Nigeria would be producing more girls of easy virtue, ding that by 2020, the country would be a breeding ground for motivated and very mature criminals.