Text of speech by Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, CON. , SAN at the University of Ibadan Medical Specialist Group (IMSG) held on Saturday, 12th October 2019 at Hilton Hotel Watford Elton Way, Watford, UK.
I am highly delighted to be in the midst of talented individuals who have used every bit of their time, energy, competence and contacts to better the course of humanity.
Looking round this venue, I could see notable personalities of the UI extraction who have contributed immensely in changing the world by adding value to the institution that produced them.
Essence and Strategic Importance of Alumni
All over the world, the critical roles of alumni to the development of their alma mata in particular and their nations are taking the front burner. Equally, their contributions towards sustaining the ideals of their institution have generated general goodwill for their institutions. Your immense contributions towards institutionalising the lasting legacies of the pioneer educational is hereby appreciated.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as you are aware, it is on records that, Alumni are the brand-ambassadors of the institution they graduated from. By this, they have become the building blocks of positive change. It is against this backdrop that, for several decades, we have seen many institutions declaring the list of their notable alumni as a way of connecting their successes with what the college has provided them.
Alumni network has a real life benefit for current students. Alumni also donate their valuable time to offer career support to current students. This enhances the students’ experience and give them that competitive edge in today’s tough job market. (Source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://blog.suryadatta.org/).
SDG4 and Nigerian Educational System
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the theme for this years symposium which is: “Enhancing the Impact of Alumni Associations on Education in Nigeria” is apt. This is because of the defective, inefficient and inconsequential policy of education which has proved to be of highly minimal impact on the overall national development.
Let’s take a closer look at SDG 4 in Nigeria. But what is essence of SDG4?
SDG 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ and has seven targets and three means of implementation.
Long before the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, Nigeria’s educational system had variously been rated poor by many analysts.
From various reports, stakeholders engagements, position papers, facilities, access, enrolment, retention and transition many of which, as at the early 2000s, were critical issues in all academic discuss in many tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools across the country.
This negative trend is even more disheartening at the basic level
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme is key to achieving development goals. Established in 1999, established by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has recorded less than satisfactory results and outcomes.
In 2016, the management of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) released a distressing statistics on the state of education at the primary level in Nigeria. It was revealed that Nigeria had the highest number of out-of-school children in the world which was estimated to be around 10.5 million, something UBEC considered a worrisome trend and remains a major challenge in the delivery of basic education in the country.
Therein, it was stressed that a high percentage of these out-of-school children are in northern part of Nigeria, and in this regard, the report states that over the last decade, Nigeria’s exponential growth in population has put immense pressure on the country’s resources and on already overstretched public services and infrastructure.
With children under 15 years of age accounting for about 45 percent of the country’s population, the burden on education and other sectors has become overwhelming. Forty percent of Nigerian children aged 6 -11 do not attend any primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country, particularly for girls.
By 2015, the situation had not changed, as another UNICEF report revealed that 10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria, with more than 60 percent of them girls. As we speak there is a high dichotomy about the facts and figures around this matter as different stakeholders even in the Ministry of Education keep churning out conflicting figures.
In fact, group known as Friends of The Environment has said: “These, however, are just a tip of the iceberg as there are a plethora of other underlying problems at the various levels of the educational system in Nigeria. These issues have dealt a crippling blow to the system through poor funding, discriminatory practices, decayed infrastructure, weak and obsolete legal and regulatory regimes, wanton and wilful breach of agreements as well as serial and sustained cases of impunity in the sector”.
Source: Notes from: https://fote.org.ng/2018/11/sdg-4-quality-education-the-nigerian-focus/
Arrangement of the Nigerian education system
Education in Nigeria is based on a 6-3-3-4 system which was introduced in 1988 to replace the 6-5-4 system of education. The system was designed to bring functionality in the system by producing graduates that make use of their head, heart, and hands.
The 6-5-4 system of education was believed to serve the interests of the colonial masters. The system was meant to serve the interests of the colonial masters as it did not encourage science and technology, self-development and entrepreneurship.
The system placed more emphasis on the teaching of humanities. It was as a result of the short comings of the system that necessitated the introduction of the 6-3-3-4 system of education. The reason for the new system was to produce a free-and-democratic society, a just-and- egalitarian society, a united, strong and self-reliant nation, a great and dynamic economy and a land of bright opportunities for all citizens.
To actualize this system of education, the 6-3-3-4 system was structured into three years of Pre-Primary Education, six years of Primary Education, three years of Junior Secondary School (General and Pre-vocational), three years of Senior Secondary School (Vocation and General) and four years of Higher Education (Vocational). Actually, nursery education forms the first stage of the learning process in Nigeria but unfortunately, a lot of families still can’t afford to send their toddlers to nursery schools.
International rating of Nigerian Universities
According to the Times Higher Education’s World Academic Summit at the National University of Singapore.
Covenant University rated 636 in the ranking while the first university in Nigeria, the University of Ibadan, ranked 677 on the list.
The University of Nigeria is the third Nigerian tertiary institution on the list in the bracket of 1000+ in the world.
The latest ranking is, however, an improvement for Nigerian tertiary institutions as the University of Ibadan was the only Nigerian institution that featured in the ranking in 2018 edition. The premier university was ranked between 801–1000.
The two Nigerian Universities, (Covenant and UI) in the top 700 in the world also ranked fifth and sixth position in Africa. While the University of Nigeria occupies 23rd in the continent.
Covenant University is now the best in Nigeria.
The Concept of Quota System
The issue of quota system or such other cognate policies like federal character or catchments areas has been a very strongly contested one and it is still so.
When it is discussed, a lot of consensus and dissenting views polarize Nigerians into its apostles and opposers. The debate on this policy has since assumed national, state and local government dimensions in all aspects of Nigeria’s life viz – political, socio – economic and educational spheres.
On the other hand, the International Dictionary of Education, defines quota system as:
Any selection method (for employment, school admission etc) whereby a certain set percentage of those selected must be of a given ethnic or racial background and/or of a particular sex. A controversial method of affirmative action.
However, from whichever dimension one views the policy, two words ring a bell – inequity or inequality and equity or equality. The social consequences the policy produce include conscious or unconscious rejection of specific social groups which are the results of decisions as to what opportunities are to be offered by the society, to whom they are to be offered.
In Nigeria, JAMB has introduced another dimension of allocating different scores for different states in the country. This, in my view, has corrupted the need for uniformity.
Educational System, Skill Gaps And What Should be Done
Nigeria has a huge skill gap and that has made many of our youths unemployable. In realisation of this and as a matter of urgency, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) decided to embark on a mission with a vision of developing the capacity of the business community in various subjects and activities that will help businesses and proprietors improve on the operation of their businesses.
In line with this, the ACCI established the Business Entrepreneurship, Skills, and Technology (BEST) Centre to run training programs and activities for capacity development.
The main objective of the BEST Centre is the operation of a world class Learning Centre for the development and improvement of entrepreneurship, technology and other vocational skills.
Specifically, the centre aims at improving the use of technology in the enhancement of chamber business and incorporating and taking over delivery of world class trainings and activities in ICT HUB in Abuja and Nigeria; Serve as a referral and knowledge base centre for trainings on en-entrepreneurship and business management in Abuja; Create another avenue for knowledge sharing; link the trained to the industry; and networking between business owners in ACCI.
Appeal to this alumni
The task of educating the entire continent lies on our shoulders. For us in Nigeria, so many things have compounded the situation. When you hear about these children embarking on societal ills such as drugs abuse, child trafficking, terrorism, banditry, armed robbery etc, somehow along the line, there is always a disconnecting dot between our education, value system and lack of patriotism. But we have to salvage the situation. I mean all of us.
Summary, Recommendation and Conclusion
Government has a decisive role to play in all these. But by and large, since the basis of progressive education is at the basic levels, the alumni should support MDAs charged with such functions either vertically or horizontally to do the following:
• Ensure unfettered access to nine years of formal basic education.
• Ensure all school aged children are either in school or other conventional places that such children are supposed to be
• Ensure enrolment, retention and transition
• A curriculum focused on appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills
• Emphasis on moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning
• Funding of education is key
In turn, efforts in this regards would help in salvaging the situation.
Thanks you for the kind attention.
Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, CON., SAN
Represented by Mr. Olakusibe Obayan
12th September, 2019