Atiku made the recommendation yesterday while delivering his keynote address at the rescheduled 2013 16th Annual Conference of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), hosted by the Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
The title of the paper was “Media, youth and Nigeria’s development challenges.”
Atiku Abubakar also commended the North-east governors for introducing free education in their states, stating that education gave him everything in life.
He also urged Nigerians to give education a top priority in whatever they do, “get an education and be educated.”
According to the former vice-president in commending the North-east governors for introducing free education in their respective states,
“Now that these states have taken the big step forward in providing free secondary education, there is equally a need for expansion of facilities to cope with the growing number of pupils wishing to enter secondary schools.
He said the over centralisation of education has killed creativity and hampered scholarship in Nigeria’s education, insisting that an important solution to reversing the backward trend is to allow the federating units in Nigeria’s federal system take autonomous control in the development of education.
“We cannot significantly improve education in this country if we continue with the current overly centralized 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,” the former vice-president said.
He noted further that the country’s education curriculum also 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,” Atiku said.
“It is critical for our educational system to have a healthy mix of academic and vocational training to cater to the diverse needs of our youth and our emerging economy. I will even go further and say that key industry players should have an input into curriculum design so that there’s more synergy between what our schools produce and the human resource needs of our key employers. This could be in the form of the establishment of specialized schools, with financial and other support from those key and interested private sector players.”
Source: Thisday Newspaper