President Muhammadu Buhari is presently participating in the Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021 to 2025 taking place on July 28 and 29, 2021 in London, United Kingdom.
The summit brings together heads of state and governments, as well as officials and youth leaders to provide a platform for partners to chart a way forward towards transforming education systems through the exchange of best practices.
The summit tasks member countries to commit to more than just funding domestic education budgets by placing greater emphasis on improving learning outcomes and employing new techniques and methodologies which have been proven to yield better results for students.
President Buhari had promised to allocate more funds to the education sector in his administration.
The president had made the promise on Thursday, July 22nd while receiving the proprietress, principal and students of a private school, Premier Pacesetters School, Daura, at his house.
Based on the success already recorded by two trailblazing state government education projects, EKOEXCEL in Lagos State and EdoBEST in Edo State, a surefire way for President Buhari’s administration to fulfil campaign promises and answer the call to action issued in President Kenyatta’s name ahead of the GPE summit is to place the federal government’s executive might behind leveraging technology-supported learning to improve equity in access to education and investing in strengthening the capacities of teachers and recognising the instrumental role they play in determining learning outcomes.
In Lagos State, the EKOEXCEL basic education programme is a prime example of this new approach to education imagined by the GPE and its co-chairs.
Tens of thousands of government teachers have been re-trained and are now supported to teach in a digital and scientific way.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had explained that his government invested in EKOEXCEL in order “to change the learning outcomes from our schools. We believe a solid foundation for our children starts with qualitative primary education”.
According to the Lagos State Education Board, EKOEXCEL is dramatically accelerating learning, with children learning two times more maths and three times more in literacy.
EdoBEST basic education programme in Edo State, Nigeria, is delivering transformational change across more than 1,000 public primary schools. It has just celebrated its official third anniversary, having been commended by the World Bank, which calls EdoBEST a great example for other states in Nigeria and even other countries to follow.
Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki, had told CNBC Africa recently that the local political desire to change learning outcomes, in order to drive wider development, had been crucial.
“For a reform process like EdoBEST to be a success, political leaders have to wish to take on this kind of reform; they have to be personally motivated, they have to show commitment. When you show commitment – everybody else will invest. Leadership is key,” he said.
The federal government is already taking positive steps aligned with the GPE call to action, towards the actualisation of education transformation in Nigeria, this can be seen in recent activities of the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Study (NIPSS) foremost federal government think tank.
The NIPSS was tasked by the federal government to recommend an implementation strategy for basic education in 14 states of Nigeria for presentation to the president and EdoBEST is the model for this presentation.
NIPSS partnered with the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) with a view to formulating policy that will improve basic education in the country.
The Leader of NIPSS, Rear Admiral Leye Jaiyeola, noted that: “EdoBEST has come up as a success story and we want to see what we can pick from EdoBEST that will become a practice for other states of the country, especially how to get things done. We have seen that EdoBEST is a way of getting things done. They have not just talked but actualised it. So, it is a story we would put together and when we are making our final presentation to Mr President, we would reflect it so that other states would emulate it.”
President Buhari’s presence at the GPE Summit, his mandate, promises and commitments translated into political will and action cannot come too early for the critical situation of education in Nigeria.
It is vital that the federal government takes central leadership in the transformation of learning outcomes for millions of Nigerian children and help give them the quality education they deserve as the future of Nigeria.