The Faculty of Education, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka held her National (hyrid) conference from Wednesday, 1st November to Thursday, 2nd November, 2023.
During the opening ceremony of the conference on Wednesday, 1st November, 2023, Prof. Titus Amodu Umoru, Dean Faculty of Education, Kwara State University, Malete, Ilorin, delivered the keynote address, and Prof. Chinyere Augusta Nwajiuba, of National Open University, Abuja, delivered the lead paper.
Other distinguished guests in the opening ceremony include: the Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Charles O. Esimone, Prof. Fredrick Odibo, Special adviser to the Vice Chancellor on Academic Matters, the Royal father of the day, His Royal Highness Dr Gibson Nwabueze Nwosu, Eze Izu II of Awka, the special guest of honour, Hon. Emmanuel Anayo Okpaleke, Chairman, Committee on Education, Anambra State and the guest of honour, Prof. Nkechi P. Ikediugwu, Chairman, Post Primary School Service Commission, Awka.
In addition to the keynote and lead paper presentations, a total of over 75 papers were presented by many participants from different parts of the Federation.
The participants brainstormed and deliberated on issues relating to policies and practice in education in a period of socio-political and economic uncertainty, with particular focus on funding of Education; teaching, research and community services; public-private partnership, poverty reduction and empowerment; Education for sustainable development and institutional reforms; ICT education; Inclusive education; Education policies and implementations; Teacher preparation and Entrepreneurship studies.
Participants observed that these are preponderance of inconsistencies, discrepancies and contributions in the formation and implementation of educational policies in Nigeria. For example, at the primary and secondary levels of education, a lot of gaps exist between government policies in education and actual educational practices as reflected for instance insufficient and inadequate human and material resources in schools, and in some cases, absolute lack of such resources. This scenario appears to be worse at the tertiary level, particularly in the case of material resources.
Certain factors were identified for this unsatisfactory state of affairs, which include:
• Mutilated economic environment of Nigeria, which leads to poor budget allocation and underfunding of the education sector.
• Thwarted socio-cultural environment of Nigeria, characterized by tensions, threats and insecurity in the country, arising from religious, ethnic and inter-regional rivalry. These cause unrest in the society, affecting the peaceful existence and smooth operation of the education sector.
• Punctured legal system of Nigeria, which leads to unwarranted injustices, negative values, socio-economic problems and anarchy that are presently being witnessed in Nigeria.
• Perforated technological environment of Nigeria, which leads to low integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in classroom teaching and consequently, teaching and learning ineffectiveness.
• Polluted political environment of Nigeria, which leads to constitutional inadequacies, resulting to the appointment of academic amatures with only secondary school certificates or its equivalent into political offices that give them the leverage to make uninformed and wrong decisions on issues bothering on education.
• The consequences of these inadequacies in Nigerian environments include, corruption at all levels, inadequate funding, poverty, unemployment and insecurity in all sectors of life.
In view of the above observations, the participants proffered possible solutions to include:
• Government should fund education, but other education stake holders can also participate in the funding of education in the country and in providing the needed human and material resources in schools.
• There should be collaborative planning among stake holders such as families, educators, community members, local organizations and companies to explore mentorship programmes and internship opportunities.
• Government and schools should identify community assets and encourage teachers, families and community members to share their skills, talents, resources and connections.
• There is need to expand existing school feeding programmes to ensure that children from impoverished background receive proper nutrition.
• There should be intensive transformation of the mindsets of learners to appreciate the importance of entrepreneurship education, and develop innovative attitude towards creativity.
• There should be more comprehensive investment in educational technology through improved provision of personnel and facilities.
• There should be proper investment in knowledge economy through enhanced professional skills development.
• There should be sufficient collaboration by the government with industries to identify in-demand skills and align educational programmes with job market requirements in order to address the problem of unemployment.
• Government and other stake holders in education should make adequate provision of adequate facilities and equipment in schools, to enable every individual irrespective of ability and disability, to participate gainfully in education.
• There should be a review of section 1776(2) of the 1999 constitution which stipulates that the educational qualification for election to any leadership position is at least a school certificate or its equivalent. This review will effect a raise of the required educational qualification to at least a bachelors degree. This will help to produce leaders that will have the political will to make adequate budgetary allocations to the education sector.
• Above all, government should endeavour to adhere to the UNESCO 26% recommendation of annual budget for education.
Prof. Vivian Ngozi Nwogbo
Dean, Faculty of Education
Prof. Amaka Ukamaka Okeke
Chairman, Faculty of Education National Conference Committee