By Ayo Ajayi
A former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, has said that every serious-minded country must understand that education remained a great agent of change.
He added that Nigeria must urgently address its primary and secondary education systems if it must tackle the decline in the Human Development Index (HDI).
Prof. Okogie who was the guest speaker at the fourth convocation lecture of Salem University, Lokoja, maintained that “Countries that have effectively addressed the problems in the primary and secondary education systems are leaders in the indices for measuring economic development and the wellbeing of their people.”
Okogie pointed out that countries such as Finland, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Mauritius have quality basic and secondary education systems.
He observed that in the high ranking countries, education was free and compulsory at the basic and post basic levels, adding that parents risked a severe jail term if they failed to register their children.
However, he indicated that sadly Nigeria’s education system no longer guaranteed a bright future, adding that primary and secondary schools which were the foundation of good education were in “parlous state in Nigeria.”
He added, “More than 10.2 million children are out of school, the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa,” and only 60 per cent of teachers in primary schools were qualified to teach.