The Federal Ministry of Education is pushing for the development of a “martial plan” that will lead to infrastructure upgrade in schools, as well cushion other challenges facing the education sector in the country.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echono, made the proposal at a Educational Technology Summit, organised by African Information Technology Exhibition initiative (AFRITEX), in Abuja.
This was as the Lead Consultant for AFRITEX, Mr. Oworu Oyesola, said the summit was aimed at moving the education sector forward.
While assuring of the capacity of the Federal Government to meet its obligations to its institutions, the Permanent Secretary regretted that some state governments were owing their teachers arrears of salaries.
He, therefore, called for a holistic approach to dealing with the challenges besetting the sector at different levels.
“Many state government across the country, as at the last count, 28 states are running digital lessons on television, radio and other platforms for their students within their states. And we have some states collaborating with other states to be able to achieve it.
“The minister had initiated a dialogue between the ministry, SUBEC and all the tertiary institutions. All the Vice Chancellors both private and public owned all the the Provosts of our colleges of education, Rectors of polythenics and other educational institutions across the country to review progress and we discovered that the private schools have an advanced digital literacy program and we are trying to bring the public schools to speed.
“We are trying to see if we can maximize economies of scale by having them collaborate on a broader sense.
“The facts of the matter are based on the accessment we did on schools, the basic simple measure that we identified, we know that investments are required. We need to prepare the schools and also the teachers because when you introduce shift system, you are going to need more teachers. You are not going to have one teacher teach in the morning and also teach in the evening. So we need to do a lot of planning,” Echono said.
He added that: “We have done most of the planning, but the resources are not yet in place and we know that the Federal Government might have the capacity to cope with the few schools that it owned but the bigger challenge is what do we do with state schools bearing in mind that many of these states are in arrears of payment of teachers salaries at the basic level.
“What do we do with the second category of the private institutions. we have some private institutions that charge very high fees and for that reason they can deliver services as required but those who are operating at marginal curve and for those they are still grappling with the need for them to upgrade their facilities, have qualified teachers and etc. If you put this additional responsibility on them, its going to be very difficult.
“That is why we are asking that as a country we should come together with a Marshal Plan as we see happening in other sectors.”
On his part, the Lead Consultant, AFRITEX, appealed to government to provide assistance to ICT companies, through policy initiatives.