At the 2019 Total School Support Seminar and Exhibition (TOSSE) held recently in Lagos, educationists has tasked government to restore dignity of teacher and to take decisive actions towards attaining a resounding future for education in Africa.
The event which marked the 11th edition was themed, ‘The Future of Education in Africa was held at Ten Degree Centre, Ikeja.
In her remarks, the convener, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde said one of the most cost effective ways to drive economic prosperity, improve skills, peace, security, health outcomes and open up opportunities for young women and men, and unlock progress in Africa is to invest in education.
She said: “Africa is facing an alarming challenge in the quality and funding of education on the continent. It is a bitter reality that the shortfall in education weakens Africa’s development capacity.
“ If all children and young people are to access their right to an inclusive, qualitative, equitable education from pre-primary through to tertiary to harness their employment opportunities government, school administrators, teachers, families, parents, local business leaders, media outlets, advocacy groups, organisations in education must take decisive actions now.”
Worried about the dwindling state of the education sector in Nigeria, the keynote speaker, Professor Bankole Sodipo, a Nigerian lawyer questioned where stakeholders got it wrong.
“It is no longer a thing of pride to be a teacher today as it was yester-years following the decline in the educational system. University of Ibadan in the 50’s and 60’s was the toast of many African countries and public schools had high standards. Where did we get wrong?
“I am hoping we can restore the dignity of our teachers otherwise there will be no future. Government budget for education is 5.4 per cent meanwhile UNESCO says 20 per cent of budget be given to education. We need to demand from government to spend 20 per cent of our budget on education,” he stated.
He continued that Africa needs to prepare her teeming population for emerging challenges by investing in education. Hence, he called on alumni to take up roles of supporting with grant and mentorship school development and growth adding that the great schools like Harvard were built by their alumni.
Juliet Ehimuan, Country West African Director, Google, who spoke to the audience through a video recording noted that the world has changed in the way people live and learn following the introduction of technology. She advised participants to leverage on technology to expand their education and skill.
Toye Cole, Chief Executive Officer of Sahara Group and the special guest of honour at the event capped the rounds of presentations by encouraging stakeholders to go on and make their little impact in the younger generations and they would make a huge difference in the future.
“As long as we continue to pour our lives into our young children, then our future is secured,” he said.
Other dignitaries and facilitators present were Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Jyurki Pulkkinen, Finland Ambassador, Folashade Adefisayo, Executive Director of Corona Trust Schools Councils and Charity Tony-Ubah, a seasoned educator.