Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said reviving the educational sector, with renewed focus on teaching valuable lessons such as integrity in schools, would require giving priority to the welfare and training of teachers, who directly create the enabling environment for learning.
The president also yesterday congratulated a Nigerian writer, Lesley Nneka Arimah, on her emergence as the winner of the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing.
Buhari, who made the remarks while receiving a delegation from the Arewa House Centre for Historical Documentation and Research at the State House, added that the quality of training, welfare and happiness of teachers directly impact on the quality of education that children and adults get in schools, urging more focus and research on impact of teachers.
A statement by the president's spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president spoke against the backdrop of a proposal by the Arewa House Centre for Historical Documentation and Research to start an annual "Buhari Integrity Lecture Series."
The president said: "If it has to do with integrity, we must go back to history and try to assess the contribution of teachers to education, where teachers treated every child as their own in instilling discipline and sharing of knowledge.
"I have been lucky to be in boarding school for nine years, three years in primary school and six years in secondary school before I joined the military. And if we are talking of good education, it has to start with the teaching in schools, where children grow and the environment of learning."
According to Adesina, Buhari said education cut across the three tiers of government, adding that it was important to consider who pays the teachers at every level and if the teachers get adequately compensated to provide quality education.
"We must make education and health a priority relative to the resources available," he added.
He also said the president added that the challenge of repositioning the educational sector and cultivating strong moral values in children went beyond the northern part of the country, and should be pursued holistically at a national level.
"Your nomenclature is Arewa, but the problem of education is a national issue," the president further said.
Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday congratulated a Nigerian writer, Lesley Nneka Arimah, on her emergence as the winner of the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing.
A separate statement by Adesina, said Buhari congratulated her on her literary masterpiece, "Skinned," which won the award.
He also said the president commended her for the depth of her insight and her skill in bringing up the issue of women inclusiveness, which he said had been paramount to leaders
The statement read: "On behalf of all Nigerians and the government, President Muhammadu Buhari warmly congratulates Nigerian writer, Lesley Nneka Arimah, for winning 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing.
"President Buhari felicitates with the writer for the literary masterpiece, "Skinned", that won the award, commending her for the depth of insight and skillfulness in bringing up the issue of women inclusiveness, which continues to occupy the minds of leaders across the world, especially in Africa.
"The president believes Arimah's award, with a book focused on empowering women, creates another platform for discussions and actions on a topical issue of development that every government must take seriously.
"President Buhari rejoices with family and friends of the prolific writer, affirming that her brilliance has brought pride and glory to the country, and the continent."