In an effort to entrench quality education throughout the region by a collective assessment of the education sub-sector, the BRACED Commission Governors Council held a 2-Day summit in Port-Harcourt aimed at improving education at all levels, guaranting the production of sustainable human capital and an educated labour force, developing adequate and instructional information, communication and other technologies to drive the required change.
The Summit, which attracted over 752 participants, also had in attendance the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa'Í, who was represented by the Ministry's Director of Federal Inspectorate Service; former Vice-President, World Bank, Africa Region, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili; and some governors of BRACED states such as Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State and Mr. Peter Obi of Anambra State.
After extensive discussion at the plenary and breakout sessions, the Summit deliberated on the following issues and the way forward.
Funding: Given the state of education in the region, it was agreed that the BRACED States, comprisinf of oil producing states, should substantially increase their annual budget on education and timely released of funds with budget allocations.
The funds must be proactively directed to activities that will lead to the educational development by investing in education as against spending in education.
Infrastructure: The critical importance of infrastructural development as the supporter of a conducive teaching and learning environment was given due attention.
While commending the efforts of the state governments for providing modern school buildings, it was recommended that more focus be given to the spread and functionality of the school buildings, especially for the physically challenged and disadvantaged learners.
Student Poor Performance: The Summit admits that products of the region's schools do not exhibit competence commensurate to the level of schooling.
Accordingly, it recommends that BRACED States should, without delay, put an end to automatic promotion at all levels, institute measures to improve literacy, numeracy and life skills through periodic assessment of school effective-ness, and using of measurable learning outcomes.
It urged the BRACED States to institutionalise a proper quality assurance process that would monitor, evaluate and assist teachers' effectiveness in schools.
Value Orientation: In recognizing the declining value orientation in schools, the Summit recommends the reintroduc-tion of history and civic education as a way of reinstating value back in the school system.
It proposed that the region should set up a process for the development of curricula for history and civic education as subjects to be taught in primary and secondary schools.
Basic and Secondary: The Summit emphasises the urgent need to pay greater attention to basic and secondary education in order to improve the academic performance of students.
The Summit called on state governments in the region to undertake an urgent and comprehensive review of basic education.
The Summit recommended early childhood education, which it pointed as a critical segment of a child's education and personality development.
Comprehensive reading programmes to ensure that every child can read by the third year of elementary schooling.
Establishment of clear objectives for improving English fluency and mathematics proficiency.