The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has blamed the people of the north for the current education backwardness being witnessed in the northern region of the country.
Adamu spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at the public presentation of the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) Book 1 series for Nigerian universities and a book in his honour.
The Minister speaking against the backdrop of reports that the north has the highest number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, with girls forming the larger number of out-of-school children from the region, said it was not correct to use Islam to keep women at home.
While commending the National Universities Commission (NUC) for ensuring the springing up of more private universities in Nigeria, Adamu said the Commission’s effort is paying off with the establishment of more such institutions in Northern Nigeria in recent times.
He said: “The North is in self-imposed educational backwardness because the interest of the North is Islam, and Islam is the greatest promulgator of knowledge.
“In 859 AD, one Fatima Al-Fihri (sic), a woman-Muslim woman established the first university in the world, at the time, the Italian universities, Oxford and Cambridge universities have not started, and the first university still existing there, it is now in Morocco.
“And about 100 years after that one, another university was established, the second university in the world before the universities of Europe, in Cairo and just like the first one, this university was established by a Muslim woman, Fatimatu Zahara (sic).
“So the first two universities in the world were established by Muslim women and here people are using Islam to keep women at home. I think it does not make sense,” the minister said.
The Minister, however, expressed delight that out of the 37 new private universities approved by the Federal Executive Council on Monday, large number of them are situated in the North.
On the CCMAS, Adamu further said the new curriculum would go a long way in adding value to graduates being churned out from Nigerian universities.
“We must continue to ensure graduates from Nigerian universities are equipped with needed skills, knowledge and expertise in order to succeed in the 21st century.