Achieving Peace and Sustaining Development through Education
Nevertheless, we need quality, functional and balanced education to achieve peace. When peace is achieved, its corollary is development, the type of what we see in stable polities like today’s Rwanda, after its own scourge of war. Since no development is true until when it is sustainable, we appreciate that part of the gains of education is peace and the outcome of peace is development. So, in simple terms, education leads to peace and peace results in development (E=P=D).
There is no alternative to education. There is no alternative to peace. There is no alternative to development. It is due to the centrality of development that at the dawn of this millennium, countries of the world arrived at the need to focus attention on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were eight in number. While advances were made in other parts of the world, nothing much was achieved in Nigeria till MDGs expired in 2015 and the world still set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which remain the target of global efforts till 2030. SDGs are 17 and both education and peace feature prominently at No 4 (quality education) and No 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). They are the wheels that make development roll or the wings that make it fly.
Incidentally, education drives both peace and sustainable development along. Sustainable development and security can only be achieved when education is made a priority by states, their institutions and individuals. When properly planned and implemented, education is an asset and a weapon to fight poverty, inequality, insecurity and disease. Therefore, the education sector must be prioritised and better managed to demonstrate that it is the driver of all sectors.
The Ministerial Strategic Plan
In the light of the foregoing, for us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, education is crucial and it is gratifying that the Federal Ministry of Education appears to be giving attention to it through the innovative Ministerial Strategic Plan with its ten pillars aimed at: 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) institutionalizing education data and planning, ix) promoting Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Education and x) boosting Library Services in Education.
Having been privileged to serve as Rapporteur-General to the Presidential Retreat on Education for the Federal Executive Council chaired by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on Monday, November 13, 2017 at the State House and member of the delegation of the Federal Ministry of Education to the Interactive Session with the Executive Governors of States during the 88th National Economic Council Meeting at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, chaired by Council Chairman and Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, GCON, on Thursday, June 28, 2018, I am sufficiently aware of the efforts the Minister and his team are making to put education at the front burner that it deserves in Nigeria. One can only hope that the great plans do not suffer any set-back as there is evident political will to revamp the education sector as a means of attaining peace and achieving sustainable development in Nigeria.