London - Nigeria accounts for 10.5 million of the 61 million ``out of school ‘’ children worldwide, Education Minister Prof. Ruqayytu Rufai has said.
Speaking to the Western Europe Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the World Education Forum on Wednesday in London, Rufai said Pakistan was next to Nigeria with five million children of school age out of school.
The Minister, who expressed concern over the figure said that the government was focusing on two strategic goals to bridge the access gap.
These two goals are ``access, and quality of curricula’’, as the government strives to address challenges such as those pertaining to regional and cultural issues, the challenges for the girl child, and Almajiri education as well as boy-child drop out.
Rufai noted said that in terms of quality, attention would also be paid to the development and rehabilitation of infrastructure as well as review of curricula at all levels to meet national objectives.
While emphasising the need for teacher training and recruitment, the Minister noted that teachers could also learn
from their students in view of the new screen technology trend where people study online.
She that globally teachers are critical to educational development and, therefore require capacity building to equip them with the necessary tool for teaching.
``The issue of quality is our major concern in Nigeria, We are also looking at the recruitment process too, so that quality teachers are recruited into the system. The focus of our government in education is the same focus of this forum,’’ She added.
NAN recalls that 40,000 Nigerian teachers were trained nationwide in 2012.
Rufai, who was a guest speaker at the Forum, in her presentation, listed the provision of instructural materials to basic education students and integration of ICT into the educaton system among steps taken to ensure quality education.
``The educational policy direction of government is aimed at ensuring that every school age child is in school.’’
``It also aimed at ensuring the delivery of quality education, the development of world class institutions that can produce individuals with the competence to drive all sectors of the economy and compete globally’’ She said.
To this end, the Minister said that the ``access and quality’’ strategic plan was a four year project aimed at developing the sector with effect from 2011 to 2015.
``The plan is a medium term guide to help actualise the transformation agenda.’’
Similarly, Mr MacJohn Nwaobiala Permanent Secretary in the Ministry said that it would require collaboration with state governments to ensure success in the implementation of the strategic plan.
``There are a lot of innovative ideas and best practices that we are taking away from this forum, we have policies, framework and plans, but we need to do things differently by reviewing these policies, to make them efficient and more implementable.’’
``We also have to work as a team to achieve this, by including those at the state level,'' Nwaobiala said.
The World Education Forum, is an annual summit where ministers of education and experts meet to deliberate on best practice in the field of learning.
The forum which commenced on Jan. 29th and which will end on Jan. 31st has theme`` Policy making for quantity, quality and Impact''.