Nigeria: My Successes, Failure As Nigeria's Education Minister - Adamu

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Nigeria's education minister, Adamu Adamu, on Tuesday identified his successes and major failure as education minister.

Mr Adamu spoke at his valedictory press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said his inability to reduce Nigeria' out of school children despite his pledge to do so was a shame on him.

He apologised to Nigerians over his inability to fulfill his promise to reduce the number of out-of-school children by half before the end of his tenure.

The minister said the status of Nigeria with as having the highest number of out-of-school children globally "was a big mark of shame to him as a person and to the entire nation."

PREMIUM TIMES reported how a 2015 Demographic Health Survey(DHS) conducted by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Nigerian government showed that out of school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million.

According to the minister, the concerns of this administration have been two-fold: "to find an empirical means of getting the actual figures and best ways to reducing the number to the barest minimum."

He said Nigeria has one of the highest number of out-of-school children in Sub-saharan Africa "and perhaps in the world and ranked only second to Pakistan."

"When I came on board, I promised to bring the number of out-of-school children to half. I must apologise for this but I believe the new minister will bring this number down," he said.

Education Funding

Mr Adamu said the Buhari administration has injected about N1.3 trillion into the education sector in the last four years.

"The UBEC interventions in states have recorded a total of N350 billion while TETFund and NEEDS Assessment interventions have recorded N857 billion with the main ministry and other agencies recording N86 billion totaling N1.3 trillion in the last four years.

"This is aside from the N25 billion just approved for public universities. These figures have nothing to do with personnel and overhead costs in the education sector, which are also well over a trillion naira," he said.

He explained that the N25 billion was recently released to public universities to pay earned academic allowances of lecturers.

Secondary Education Commission

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwukah, said the establishment of a secondary education commission to oversee operations of secondary schools in the country has been approved by the government.

Mr Anwuka said the approval was earlier given by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, the goverment has also reviewed downward the charges in Unity Colleges from N83,000 to N49,500.

He said the goverment had pegged PTA (parents, teachers association) levy at N5,000 across schools and ended arbitrary charges of N75,000 "which had nearly inhibited access to unity colleges."

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