A Federal lawmaker, Sen. Ben Bruce, on Tuesday said there was need to address all fundamental challenges facing the nation’s education sector, in order to attain the much-desired development.
Bruce said this in his keynote address at the 4th Lagos State National Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Stakeholders’ Conference on Education.
The theme of his address was: “Media, Communication and the Challenge of Quality Education for National Development.’’
According to him, there are a lot of misconceptions concerning the country’s education system.
He noted that efforts should be made to seek and discover those critical issues that had persistently bedevilled the sector over the years, in order to move forward.
“Every year, we have not less than 1.5 million Nigerian children seeking access to tertiary education, especially the universities.
“But the truth is that we do not have the capacity to absorb all these graduates from our secondary schools.
“Again, we must realise the fact that we do not have enough resources to even build and equip more universities, just as we do not have enough budget for education in this country.
“We must start looking at ways to increase budgetary allocation to the sector as well as put modalities in place to adequately cater for the welfare of our teachers, otherwise we lose it all.
“Again, there is also the need to change the ways we educate our children and also ensure that our girls are kept in school, rather than give them out early in marriage,” he said.
According to him, all hands must be on deck to confront issues facing the education sector as it remains the bane or bedrock of our development.
He said there was also the need for people to be more discerning with the media as we cannot depend on others to tell our stories.
“We must strive to develop our media capacity so that we can project positive things about our country to the outside world rather than allow them to do it for us the way they think,” he said.
Earlier in his address, the National President, NIPR, Dr Rotimi Oladele, called on all public relations practitioners to use their professional skills to wage war against hate speech.
According to him, now, more than ever before, there is the need for all public relations practitioners to ensure the total relegation to the background the monster which has recently emerged as a plague against civility, peace, cohabitation and unity of the country.
“To this end therefore, I want to call on governments at all levels and the organised private sector to engage only certified public relations practitioners for effective communication, relationships and reputation management, in order to eschew violence which may arise if the menace of the hate speech syndrome is not curbed drastically,” Oladele warned.
The chairman of the institution’s state chapter, Mr Olusegun Mcmedal, said that the conference was a viable bridge-building platform for interested parties to interact and proffer solutions to socio political and economic challenges plaguing the country.
He noted that the thematic focus of this year’s edition with the theme: Media, Communication and the Challenge of Quality Education for National Development, was premised on the belief that the future of a state or nation was a function of the quality of education obtainable.
“There is an obvious depreciation in the quality of education in the country today when compared to the years past.
“The crisis in our education sector has nothing to do with money or morals but largely poor leadership.
“We must never feel satisfied until all Nigerians have access to quality education to prosper and excel among the comity of nations,’’ he said.
One of the discussants at the conference, Prof. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika, however, emphasised the need for an improved reading culture, especially among students.
Ogwezzy-Ndisika, also Head, Departnent of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, noted that no one can develop without reading, as it builds self confidence in discussing issues.
She added that reading equipped one with skills needed to obtain a satisfactory personal life.
According to her, reading culture will also have a critical role to play in national development, just as it provides access to culture and cultural heritage,’’ she added.