The 1997 class of the Accounting department of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria has called on the Federal Government to focus on inclusive education for Nigerians as a precursor to national development.
The chairman, Steering Committee of the body, Kayode Ajiga, made this known in Abuja in commemoration of the 25 years anniversary and reunion of members of the association.
In a statement made available to our correspondent on Monday, Ajiga stated that improving the country’s education was a collective responsibility, while charging members of the alumni association to take it upon themselves as their duty in educating a child.
According to him, doing this will translate into having a literate nation.
“Education as we all know is the key to national development, hence the need for an inclusive, quality and equitable education for every Nigerian child regardless of social status, race, gender, religion and physical ability.
“Quality and inclusive education is a precursor to economic mobility, growth and development of any nation and sadly, we are far from this ideal. The government at all levels must look at this area critically to make sure that every Nigerian child has quality education for an improved future,” he said.
Speaking on the high rate of out-of-school children, Ajiga said, “It is worrisome to note that the United Nations Children’s Fund report revealed that one in every five children in Nigeria was excluded from education. Also, in the low and lower-middle income countries, around 40 per cent of children with disabilities are out-of-school at primary level and 55 per cent at the lower secondary level.
“It is, however, sad to note that Nigeria is not excluded from this figures. Also, worthy of note is the dilapidated infrastructural facilities in our schools as well as effective policy that would drive transformation in the education sector.
“I think knowledge is really democratised today and everyone should have access to that. I challenge my fellow old students to do more for our school,” he said.
Also, the Guest Lecturer from the Federal Montage Bank of Nigeria, Dr Joseph Onyabe, said educational system must return to its old glory where quality and standard was the order of the day.
Onyabe, who was a lecturer in the Accounting Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, noted that schooling in the ’90s was better off when compared to what was obtainable now due to the students, teachers ratio.
“The level of tertiary education was extremely high at that time, I’m sure those who listened to some of the speeches made earlier would agree with me that the students at that time, maybe because of the lower number, had better attention from the lecturers.
“The student-lecturer ratio was very adequate. So as a result of that, the students were able to get enough time; students had enough time to meet their lecturers and ask questions where they did not understand those things that were treated and that had permitted all other areas in education.
“This is also because the good education they had equally affected the National Youth Service and equally affected the jobs that they did after completing their National Youth Service,” he said.