Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said decentralisation of Nigeria’s education remains an antidote to the declining fortunes of education in the country.
The former Vice President made the recommendation on Monday, while delivering his keynote address at the rescheduled 16th Annual Conference of the African Council for Communication Education, hosted by the Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The paper was titled, “Media, youth and Nigeria’s development challenges.”
According to him, “We cannot significantly improve education in this country if we continue with the current overly centralised system with suffocating federal control.
“Federal schools should be handed over to the states in which they are located and the budgetary resources hitherto expended on them transferred to those state governments.
“The federal government should focus on setting up regulatory standards and enforcing those standards. It will be easier for authorities at the UNN to show the officials in Enugu what life at UNN is really like than officials in Abuja.
“And it will be easier for those officials at Enugu to hold the leaders of UNN accountable. It will also be easier for the students and the UNN community to demand accountability from their school leaders as they too can easily reach the officials at Enugu.”
He further noted that the country’s education curriculum needs to be diversified and retooled to make it more adaptive to the country’s current economic challenges like unemployment and lack of manufacturing capacity.
“In addition to decentralisation and geographical diversification we must also diversify our curriculum and educational programmes. The current one-size-fits-all approach will not help us,” Abubakar said.
He also said that it was critical for Nigeria’s educational system to have a healthy mix of academic and vocational training to cater to the diverse needs of the youth and the emerging economy.
The former vice president said further that key industry players should have input into curriculum design so that there would be more synergy between what the schools produce and the human resource needs by the key employers.
“This could be in the form of the establishment of specialised schools, with financial and other support from those key and interested private sector players,” he said.