Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has described Nigeria’s policy on education as archaic and outdated, stressing that the policy needs to be immediately reviewed
holistically to ensure that young Nigerians are prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.
He spoke on Monday while delivering the 4th Distinguished Guest Lecture of the University of Medical Science, UNIMED, in Ondo entitled, “Transforming Nigeria’s Educational System: Looking back and Looking Forward”.
The governor pointed out that the current policy on education was deficient in view of the present-day realities and emerging issues affecting the education sector.
According to him, “I think that fundamental reforms are needed in education and I think what the Federal Ministry of Education needs to do is to lead in reviewing the national policy on education, which is already forty or fifty years old.
“In my view, it is out of time; in the twenty-first century so much has changed in education, but there is a need to sit down and get experts in the subjects to look at what is happening in the educational policies of countries in the world: what is changing.
“Professions are dying and new ones are coming up. Our curriculum and policies on education are all grounded in the twentieth century, while we are in the 21st, there is a need for a holistic review of that.”
El-Rufai canvassed a policy that would recognise and adopt one of the languages spoken in the country as a medium of instruction in the nation’s institutions.
His words, “Of course, associated to that is the quest of language, should we still be teaching from primary to university in English Language? What can we learn from other countries that teach in their own indigenous languages up to university level?
“They teach from primary to tertiary institutions in their own languages and they have gone to space. China is competing with America and will soon overtake America as the largest economy in the world.
“They are dominant force in ICT, defence yet they are taught in Chinese. Is there something we can learn there? Are we slowing down our development by insisting that the only language of the educational communication is English?
“This national policy should look at issues like this and come out with policy on education that will prepare young people of Nigeria for the 21st century because right now the education we are giving them may not be fit for purpose for 21st century to compete globally.”
He stated that since becoming governor of Kaduna state, education had been developed while the problem of girl-child marriage had been reduced drastically in the state.
He said this was possible through the enactment of laws that made education compulsory in the state while children between the ages of six and 16 years should be in school.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of UNIMED, Friday Okonofua, disclosed that the Kaduna governor was picked for the lecture because of the reforms he embarked upon in the education sector in Kaduna State.