“We have to think about it and how we would sort it. And I believe, that you asked where did we miss the road? We missed the road when the whole world is talking of education for all and we did not follow that. It was bad news. We today we have 20 million out of school children. Almost 10 percent of the population. We continue to miss and we are still missing. That is a very bad one. Can we do anything about it? I believe we can.He noted that, “The 20 million children out of school, can be brought back to school by us, but If we fail to do that, we are rather preparing them for Boko Haram of tomorrow in this country.
“What can we do where are these 20 million children? Where are they located. Can we have schools in the morning and afternoon to get them in at least for six years. In the period of six years where this is happening, we would prepare for the transition from primary school to secondary school. And if we are able to do that, we have started the process of lifting education, an instrument of nation building.”The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who stressed the need for human capital development, said the nation’s greatest resource was its people.
He said the Summit is the manifestation of the commitment in the 9th House of Representatives to engender a national conversation to consider bold ideas and radical innovations to restructure and reform public tertiary education in Nigeria.
According to the Speaker, “The nation’s greatest resource is not the oil that flows through our deltas nor the abundant minerals that lie underground in every corner of our country. Our most incredible resource has always been the Nigerian people. This immense collection of tongues and tribes, bound together under one flag, striving through adversity and achieving despite every obstacle. As we are gathered here this morning, our cause is more than to seek solutions to the challenges of tertiary education in Nigeria. In fact, we are here today on a mission to save Nigeria.”
He said for Nigeria to reach its potential and achieve the greatness it are capable of, it must invest in the people
“In this generation, social, economic and political development is, and will continue to be powered by advancements in information and communication technologies. We must provide the resources to modernise and improve our education infrastructure and provide the right training for young people from primary through tertiary education. This goes to the heart of our survival as a nation and as a people. I say that because I believe our country will not survive long if our children cease to believe their best dreams are possible here,” he said.
Gbajabiamila further said, education was the silver bullet that would eliminate poverty in the country.
“Education is the silver bullet that eliminates poverty and lack; it presents hope and confidence and reduces violence and strife. Education offers us the promise that by the application of our minds and the works of our hands, we can make this world better and improve the life of man on this earth. Education is the gift that keeps on giving through generations. A university degree, or tertiary qualification of some other kind, can be the catalyst that changes the trajectory of an entire family. Evidence abounds of the transformations that can happen when ambition and diligence are amplified by access to quality education and training.”
The Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, exprressed gratitude to the Speaker, Femi Gbajabimila for intervening in the face-off with ASUU and organising the summit.
This, he said, was in continuation of his commitment to ensure that the legislature contributes to creating stable environment for our tertiary education sector.
He said as more universities were established to improve access to the growing population, the dwindling economic realities made it difficult for government to sustain the adequate funding, to maintain the quality of teaching and learning, infrastructure as well as maintain the structures necessary for attracting global talents needed to sustain intellectualism.
“Several attempts has been made to reform the funding structure by TEFUND, which has released over N2.3 trillion to the various institutions to create more infrastructure, support research and improve documentation.
He said however, the increasing population with its associated increased demands for tertiary education has made it difficult to satisfy the various demands for funding by