In his remarks, the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, canvassed the use of technology in teaching large classes saying that as young people are clutched to their gadgets all the time, means of reaching them through their gadgets should be explored. He also challenged lecturers on the way teaching is done in our universities. “For example, the whole idea of giving notes in class, especially in a university, is probably not the best. I reviewed my approach to teaching about 10 years ago and I thought it might be better to actually pose questions to the students. This is not an invention of mine; it is the so-called Socratic method, tried and tested in the US and several other places and what we now call clinical education in Law.”
Earlier, the Minister of Education had called for a declaration of a state of emergency in education in order to frontally confront the challenges of the sector while drawing attention to the poor funding education had been receiving over the years. He cited the cases of Germany and Finland where teachers are the highest paid professionals. He also drew attention to the retort of Chancellor Angela Markel of Germany when she was asked by engineers, doctors and judges to be paid like teachers: “How can I compare you to those who taught you?” While canvassing support for improved funding, he noted that none of the E9 or D8 countries, other than Nigeria, allocates nothing less than 20% of their annual budget to education.
Other Ministers who made presentations at the Retreat, including the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr John Kayode Fayemi; the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, were unanimous on the need to revitalise education. Indeed, they drummed support for the Ministerial Strategic Plan with its ten pillars that border on i) addressing the out-of-school children phenomenon, ii) strengthening basic and secondary school education, iii) prioritising teacher education, capacity building and professional development, iv) promoting adult literacy and special needs education, v) reviving technical and vocational education and training, vi) driving Basic and Secondary Education Curriculum and Policy Matters, vii) ensuring quality and access in higher education, viii) institutionalising education data and planning, ix) promoting Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Education and x) boosting Library Services in Education.