How Nigeria can transform its education system
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Saturday, said that in Nigeria today, more than 14 million children who should be in school are out of school, and therefore deprived of an education.
He also needs Nigerian youth in leadership positions for the country’s education system to be transformed.
Mr. Obasanjo said so in Lagos during the virtual graduation ceremony of the second cohort of Teach for Nigeria Fellows 2020.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Teach For Nigeria, an NGO, has graduated 161 scholarship holders who have impacted about 9,660 students in 80 schools in Lagos, Ogun and Kaduna States.
NAN reports that “Teach For Nigeria” focuses on developing a movement of leaders across Nigeria who are committed to ending educational inequality.
Mr. Obasanjo said: “They are deprived of opportunities that will enable them to develop their capacities and become useful to themselves and their communities.
“It is evident that at this juncture, to transform our education system in a sustainable way, young Nigerians need to be in leadership positions.”
According to him, young people must advocate for different innovative solutions at all levels of society and in different sectors.
“It is inspiring to see the work that ‘Teach For Nigeria’ is doing to equip promising future leaders with the skills and experience to drive the change we need,” the former president said.
He added that the leaders had devoted their time, energy and resources to instilling a love of learning, improving educational outcomes and improving life opportunities for children in the classrooms.
“Thanks to your commitment, your students have succeeded in various academic and extra-academic competitions.
“I recently heard about the students of Teach For Nigeria Fellows who got second place in the National Lafarge Competition and other scholarship opportunities.
“They have also initiated actions by working with stakeholders such as parents, community members, school leaders and other teachers,” Obasanjo said.
He, however, advised the fellows to continue to use their acquired skills and experiences to advocate for excellence in education in the country.
The former president urged them to be ambassadors of change, leading the movement for freedom and justice in Nigeria.
“I urge you to remain resilient in your fight for equity in education, to not relent in your efforts to deploy solutions to address the myriad problems facing our education system.
“Please don’t let anyone tell you that you are the leaders of tomorrow, you are the leaders of today,” Mr Obasanjo said.
He noted that the raging outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic had brought the world to its knees as the world struggled to develop an effective vaccine and treatments to fight the disease.
“So far, the damage in Africa has been moderate; but if we slack off, the African continent may become the most affected by the economic fallout from the crisis,” Obasanjo said.
He said our education system was already in crisis before the pandemic hit us.
“The epidemic has exacerbated the ever-widening gap between the learning opportunities of our most privileged children and our least privileged children.
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“To bridge the dangerous gap as a nation, we need swift action from well-meaning Nigerians imbued with courage, patriotism, commitment, foresight and love,” Mr. Obasanjo said. .
Furthermore, Folawe Omikunle, Managing Director of Teach For Nigeria, said the graduating scholarship recipients have spent the past two years improving the academic performance of their students.
Ms. Omikunle said they ignited a love of learning in these students, instilled self-confidence, successfully galvanized parental and community support to help students learn.
“The 161 graduate fellows join our first group of 44 alumni, bringing the number of our alumni network to 205 members.
“Teach For Nigeria is a lifelong commitment to addressing educational inequalities.
“We are confident that our alumni will continue to work to ensure that one day we have a Nigeria where every child can get a great education,” she said.
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