I am delighted to welcome you all to this important ministerial summit which I consider crucial to our quest to improving the lot of our people through the provision of quality and functional education for all, at all levels.
I want to begin by congratulating the Minister of Education and the entire education family for setting the stage for this national conversation that is aimed at refocusing the education sector not only to overcome the numerous challenges, but also to strengthen the Ministerial Strategic Plan that has already been developed by the ministry.
The significance of this summit is obvious. We cannot progress beyond the level and standard of our education. Today, it is those who acquire the most qualitative education, equipped with requisite skills and training, and empowered with practical knowhow that are leading the rest.
We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future. This administration is committed to revitalizing our education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive.
One of the primary roles of education is to build and sustain individual and society’s development. It renews and improves the economic, social, political and cultural aspects of any nation.
Education upgrades the living standard of citizens and enables people to become better and more productive citizens. It is a human right that creates a safe, healthy and prosperous society.
It changes the visions and perspectives of individuals, enhances critical decisions and improves democracy. Indeed education is paramount and necessary requirement for all-round development.
Nigeria’s participation in all relevant international education fora together with our investment in education and collaboration with development partners is an indication of high level of commitment towards ensuring that every capable Nigerian receives good quality education.
These efforts are justifiable only to the extent that schooling is effective in promoting the realization of national objectives, attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Education For All (EFA) by 2030.
These targets are, happily, in harmony with the manifesto and the CHANGE agenda of our Party, the All Progressive Congress (APC).
It is also in agreement with my campaign promises during the 2015 elections exercise and in pursuit of the yearnings and aspirations of the generality of Nigerian citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen, the state of education in Nigeria calls for a serious concern and that is why we are all gathered here today. The problem is no longer a secret that the quality of education in Nigeria requires greater attention and improvement.
That our country is facing numerous challenges in education and all other sectors as a result of historical abuses, mindless impunity and corruption is not news to anyone.
With an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, to mention some of the challenges, we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered.
We are determined to turnaround the sector for the better. We are already making appreciable progress in this respect. This summit must therefore, among other things, sharpen our strategies for addressing the challenges of basic and secondary education, teacher training and professional development; technical and vocational education.
The summit must work to enhance quality in, and access to, higher education and other challenges in the sector that will debar us from attaining the SDGs and be among the top 20 economies in the world.
My firm belief is that with the calibre of participants at this summit, the road to a better future is before us and we must chart it.
It is my expectation that at the end of this summit, we shall come up with feasible, implementable but far-reaching action plans for the ministerial strategic plan that would make education play the pivotal role as the engine that drives national prosperity and development.
While there are numerous other competing demands and responsibilities from different sectors of the economy, I want to assure you of this administration’s commitment to confronting and tackling the challenges in the education sector. This will be part of our deliberate policy of revitalizing education provisioning and capacity building.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me in conclusion, emphasize that we must get it right in this country. To get it right means setting our education sector on the right path.
No nation can achieve economic, social, political and cultural prosperity without a sound and functional education system.
We should also bear in mind that the security and stability of the country hinges, to a large extent, on its ability to provide functional education to its citizens.
It is on this note and in the name of God that I declare this summit open. I look forward to reading your conclusions and recommendations for action by Government.
Thank you for your attention. God bless Nigeria.