Given the correlation between youth restiveness and unemployment, the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has called on leaders at all levels to democratise education and make knowledge easily accessible to every Nigerian child, irrespective of class or creed.
Speaking on grassroots education at the inaugural colloquium of the Government College Ughelli, class of September 1973 in Lagos the governor said one of the most important subject matters people in leadership position must be involved in is the promotion of education.
He said government must improve its investment and expand the frontiers of education to create quality manpower and a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
“If you are wondering why some places have issues if militancy, instability, criminality, unemployment, unemployability and many more, you just need to look at the state of education and the investment in education in that area.”
In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the event, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams called on stakeholders in the country’s education sector to rise to the need for an improved teacher training, good remuneration and conducive teaching environment.
The first female vice-chancellor and former VC, University of Benin said leaders, educationists and other stakeholders should consider today’s children short-changed if they are not taught well enough to reach the level and quality of education the country accomplished 20 years ago in secondary and tertiary education levels.
Reflecting on the theme, ‘Raising a Wise Generation: Revamping Nigeria’s Secondary Education’, the don said “if we do not have teachers who are satisfied, teachers who are given the opportunities of learning more, we cannot reach that level. Therefore, whatever we are discussing as to how we are going to improve our schools, the first and basic question we must ask ourselves is: are we promoting that very important stage, which is teacher education? Those who understand the way and manner knowledge is being extended in various parts of the world. How much are we extending the knowledge of those who will change what we can have in our country?”
Also speaking, the special guest of honour, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who decried the state of the country’s education, said many people are dissatisfied with the state of education and that those who understand “the full ramifications of defective, incomplete and non-competitive education will be appalled.”
She said due to inaccessibility of education and high incidence of dropout, Africa is critically lacking in skilled labour, adding that beyond inaccessibility of formal education, Nigeria must pay attention to the quality of education in schools.
“We should be concerned about the nexus between the type, structure and standard of education in our country on one hand and the quality of students that graduate from our schools on the other hand.
“We must also pay attention to our curriculum and the need for a relevant, current and globally-competitive education. We must attend to the state of our infrastructure; strengthen teacher training and the integrity of our examinations.”
In his remarks, the Chairman Colloquium Committee, Mr. Sam Omatseye said the event was part of ways for the old boys to give back to the society, adding that it also affords them the opportunity to showcase the various interventions they have made so far to their alma mater
While soliciting assistance from the public, he said the group has spent several millions of naira on refurbishing, rehabilitating and providing updated facilities. He said the association is currently working on setting up a tech centre for software development, computer knowledge, wood work, metal work, among others.
“We thought it necessary for us to come together and get important people to speak about education. That is why we called it ‘Raising a Wise Generation’. Bringing a generation of Nigerians who are now going to school to benefit from the kind of education we enjoyed in our time. That is why we brought all these important personalities here to talk about various aspects of education and what we can do to revive education.
“You can see that some of the problems of youth restiveness are as a result of lack of enlightenment and if people get the kind of education we had, we won’t be having the kind of social breakdown that now characterises our society.”