Former World Bank Vice President for Africa, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, on Wednesday said focus on early child education would help the development of young generation in Nigeria.
Ezekwesili made the observation in a keynote address at the ongoing 20th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.
The theme of this year’s summit is “Transforming Education through Partnerships for Global Competitiveness’’.
The former World Bank vice president called for permanent structural change that would enhance the quality of education and develop skills in Nigerian children.
She said that Nigeria had a lot to do to catch up and meet up globally.
“That catching may be difficult except if it is strategic, the fastest way to do the catching up now is to make early child care education, put it on the front burner of the education system.
“Countries like Finland had shown clearly that countries that emphasised early child care education and expand access to both the poor and the rich alike make huge success’” she said.
According to her, country that bridges the inequality down and begin the process of getting the child before they go bad also achieve positive results.
Ezekwesili, now, Economic Advisor, Open Society Foundation, said that the best time of formation of a child was between the age of three and five when the neurons could stimulate well.
She said that the public and private sectors must work together in area of vocational, innovational and institutional building.
Ezekwesili said this would help to bring the private sector in building skills and capacity of the young ones.
“Government has never had a great record in building skills for industry.
“Education needs intelligent champions. If society fails to bring intelligent champions for inclusion, the intelligent champions themselves will have act in an intelligent way,” she said.
Ezekwesili therefore canvassed need for good governance in the education sector as well as the need to intensify effort in training and re-training of teachers.
The former vice president urged government and stakeholders to ensure the employment of qualified hands into the education system.
On achieving Millennium Development Goals on education, she said it was unfortunate that Nigeria was not among the countries that would achieve the goal by 2015.
Ezekwesili, however, urged government to focus seriously on basic education to help build better society. [NAN]