Stakeholders seek community groups’ input in Southwest education growth

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Stakeholders in education sector across Southwest gathered in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital last week to discuss ways community associations can be involved in the development of education in the region, among others.

At the summit, they brainstormed on how to improve access and learning outcomes, particularly in basic education in the six Southwest states of Osun, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti, Ogun and Lagos.

Organised by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, the two-day summit with the  theme: “Collaborating for Improved Learning Outcomes,” was supported by the Partnership for Learning for All in Nigeria (PLANE), an education-focused programme funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Welcoming participants to the summit, the DAWN Director-General, Dr. Seye Oyeleye, said the meeting was a crucial step towards revitalising and transforming education with a particular focus on basic education in Southwest Nigeria.

Recalling the gains of the 1955 free education policy of the defunct Western Nigeria government, which propelled the region to a pace-setting status in education and economic development, Oyeleye emphasised the importance of regaining the status by refocusing on education again, with special attention on learning outcomes.

Oyeleye said community associations have a key role to play in scaling up education in the region.

He added: “The current state of basic education in the region demands our collective attention. Recent results from JAMB and WAEC zonal statistics reveal significant challenges in student performance and one is being mild and kind in saying that.”

In his goodwill message, the Senior Education Adviser, British High Commission, Ian Attfield, said that the summit would be an avenue for the stakeholders to brainstorm and come out with policy that would be centred on how to revamp the sector.

In his presentation, entitled ‘State of Education in the South West,’ the Director of Research, Centre for the Study of Economies of Africa (CSEA), Dr. Adedeji Adeniran, explained that the region has a population of about 40 million of which 46 per cent are of school age.

He observed that Southwest has a great head start with the historical free education policy which has a huge persistent effect on income and education outcomes.

He added that the region’s human capital development is linked to national economic development but that it is not exempted from the global learning crisis.

He advised the region to focus more on learning since access is always being improved upon. He urged stakeholders to commit to foundational learning, measure learning, align systems, support teachers and adapt approaches.

The Director, Basic Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. Folake Olatunji-David, gave an update on the Roadmap for Nigerian Education Sector (2024-2027).

She assured that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring that every child in Nigeria has access to quality basic education and this can be achieved by collective efforts of all partners and stakeholders of the education sector.

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