Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday directed the Federal Ministry of Education to conduct a nationwide school census by November 2013 to aid proper planning in the nation’s education sector.
Jonathan, represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, gave the directive in Abuja at a conference on education with the theme: “Accelerating Progress in the attainment of Education for all in Nigeria.”
He said that accurate information on school enrollment, especially at the basic and secondary levels, remained a serious challenge to the government.
The President said that when conducted, the census would complement the Nigeria Digest of Education Statistics: 2006-2010, produced by the ministry and launched in 2011.
“It is important to underline that accurate information on school enrollments, especially at the basic and secondary levels, remains a serious challenge.
“To aid proper planning and decision-making, it is necessary that we get the numbers right.
“I am therefore directing the Federal Ministry of Education to initiate an effective partnership with the States in conducting concurrent School Census across the States by November 2013.
“This will complement the Nigeria Digest of Education Statistics: 2006 – 2010, which was produced by the ministry and launched in 2011,’’ he said.
The President urged Nigeria’s development partners to support the effort with necessary technical input, across the states of the federation.
He also stressed the need for the return of community involvement in the management of educational institutions.
According to him, the youth must be encouraged to develop needed skills for their self-development through Small and Medium Enterprises.
He said a Government-Private Sector Partnership Committee on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) had since been inaugurated by the government to address the challenges of inadequate skilled manpower in the country.
He said the committee, chaired by industrialist Aliko Dangote, would work closely with the private sector to re-position technical and vocational education and training for youth skills development, youth mobility, and skilled manpower for industries.
Jonathan stated that government planned to support individuals and groups with cash grants, through Conditional Cash Transfers, to enable them to establish and run small-scale businesses.
In his remarks, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that Nigeria would benefit from an additional $250 million global lifeline to support the development of universal basic education in the country.
According to him, a breakdown of the funds indicated that Global Partnership for Education and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have agreed to contribute $100 million each for the programme.
He did not, however, give insight into where the balance of $50 million would be sourced.
Brown stated that federal government in collaboration with state governments had already provided $250 million for the development of basic education in the country.
“I have been talking to a number of aid agencies, who are our partners.
“I can now say that based on the decisions made we are able to contribute from the international community, additional resources to support the development of universal basic education in Nigeria,” he said.
“I have also talked to the head of the Development Commission of the European Union. And they say that if the government of Nigeria will submit an application, then 10 per cent of the resources they have will be devoted to education investment in Nigeria.
“So, it is important to make this application.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has accepted to contribute the sum of $250 million available for investment in education.
“What we have managed to do, by talking to individuals, is to match that $250 million with additional $250 million,” he added.
Earlier, the Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, expressed gratitude to the development partners for their support and contributions to uplifting the quality of basic education in the country.