By Emmanuel Olorunsola
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has assured Nigerians that the ministry is working towards moving Nigerian students forward in spite of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
Nwajiuba made the remark during the maiden edition of Re-Ignite Public Affairs National Dialogue Series Webinar.
The event which was organised in collaboration with Businessday newspapers was moderated by Dr Modupe Adefeso-Olateju, an education policy expert specialising in public-private partnerships.
The theme of the event was “Nigeria at 60, Education: Navigating a new Normal”.
The minister said that the ministry was already working out a framework to bring in private sector players to adopt public schools that were not doing well. “We are going to be changing to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), curriculum and enhance it.
“Also, we are stepping up with private sector players because we have realised that we cannot do it alone. It is essential we bring everyone on board through public-private partnerships.
“For instance we have a lot of public schools that are not doing well; so, instead of building new schools, let us concession some of these schools to those who have the capacity to adopt and close-manage them very well.
“These are the kinds of projects we want to do and I proposed this when I was the Chairman of TETFUND,” he said.
Nwajiuba said that government did not have all of the funds but had regulators.
Speaking on schools resumption in the face of COVID-19, he said the government’s priority was to safeguard itself, learners and teachers in navigating the new normal.
“Most of the things we are working on are toward carrying learners forward in the new system during this pandemic,” Nwajiuba said.
Also, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, said: “COVID-19 has provided Nigeria with a good opportunity to develop its infrastructure.
“The pandemic has exposed the underbelly of the weaknesses of the society and the political class not just in Nigeria but all over the world, hence a good opportunity for us to rethink and reset,” he said.
He added that it was not too late for the country to do the needful, noting that commitment, leadership and resources were important in addressing both the content and context of education.