*Vows to ensure that 20% of Nigeria’s budget goes into funding education
Accord presidential candidate, Professor Christopher Imumolen, has laid out his blueprint for the total revolution of Nigeria’s seemingly comatose educational system if he gets elected as president come 2023.
The successful entrepreneur laid out his plans during the convocation ceremony of the Joint Professional Training Support International Institute (JPTS), a trailblazing institute of higher learning in Lagos on Saturday.
While fielding questions from journalists who were on hand to grace the occasion, Professor Imumolen, who also doubles as founder and president of the school, was very precise and articulate in listing ways he thought learning, especially in tertiary institutions, could be less cumbersome for students.
According to him, in an era where schools have either been shut for several months because lecturers are on strike over issues of better working conditions or security challenges in the northern part of the country, his model, which keeps working, would readily come in handy.
“That we have been able to graduate students from the Institute at a period a great number of students in our tertiary institutions have been home for several months owing to the ASUU strike is a testimony that education can thrive if the appropriate policies and safeguards are put in place,” he said.
“So, what I’m saying in effect is that our educational system need to be digitalised. We are in the Digital age. We must start moving away from the concept of classroom learning alone to studying from anywhere through the deployment of technology.
“Again, we need to properly fund the sector. Currently, we are spending a meagre 6.4% of what we earn as a country on education. That’s not good enough. It embarrassingly falls short of what the United Nations recommends that a country spends on education.
“When I become president, I’ll ensure that 20 per cent of our annual budget goes into funding education.
“Another thing I’d do as president will be to vigorously push and execute policies that would help liberalise the educational sector to open up the space for more investors, thereby encouraging healthy competition that would ultimately drive down the cost of education in the country.
“The sector has so far been stifled by unfriendly legislations and endemic corruption that sees that only a pittance of allocated sums of money trickles down to fund education.
“I think it is old fashioned for the president or the Federal Executive Council to sit first before a license is approved for a university to be established in this country. These are the bureaucratic bottlenecks that are gradually killing tertiary education in Nigeria.
“In my time as president, I’ll see to it that the system is opened up for more players to make it easy for more students to get access to university education.
“Also, we shall encourage schools in Nigeria to adopt the mini-campuses, as well as small and cluster educational systems with digital enhancement. For instance, in a state like Zamfara where schools have been shut down now for about three years because of security issues, students can be trained to use tablets as a means to access learning online.
“It is not something that is impossible. It’s just to make budgetary provisions for it. And once the students get used to using these phones, studying would become easy and they won’t have to miss learning when schools are shut down in future.
“My government will work assiduously to ensure that these plans are implemented once we get into power next year,” he added.