Nigeria must make education a national priority - Atiku

Atiku says a national strategy focused on digital education would allow Nigeria advance rapidly.

Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, wants Nigeria to be more serious about tackling its education crisis [AFP]

Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, wants Nigeria to make education a national priority, so as to secure the country's future.

The 74-year-old expressed concern about the state of education in the country in his commencement remarks at Baze University's convocation lecture on Friday, October 22, 2021.

Hundreds of students have been kidnapped from schools in numerous states, especially in the northern region, since last December, a huge spike following in the footsteps of high-profile abductions in Chibok, Borno in 2014, and Dapchi, Yobe in 2018.

The trend of abductions has forced many state governments to sometimes shut down schools and send students home to re-establish safety, a situation that has worsened Nigeria's struggles with reducing its population of out-of-school children which is the highest globally.

Atiku said on Friday Nigeria's handling of the crisis has been terrible because similar closure measures would not be engaged if economic interests are threatened.

"When schools are threatened, we don't do everything in our power to defend them. Instead, we close them and send the children home.

"Here is the terrible truth: we are failing our youth in Nigeria. And it goes far beyond the kidnapping," he said.

The former presidential candidate said Nigeria is at a critical moment in its history where it needs to educate its rapidly-expanding population.

He said Nigeria must have three focus areas starting with prioritising education with better funding and more accountability about results.

Atiku also recommended improved dedication to a better use of technology in education so as to effectively improve performance at all levels.

"And third, we must put a priority on educating girls and women, an absolutely crucial component of social, economic, and political development," he said.

He noted that a national strategy focused on digital education, and well-trained teachers, would allow Nigeria to rapidly advance as a country.

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