Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu,has admitted his inability to solve several of the challenges thrown at his office, lamented that he failed as a minister. Speaking at the 66th National Council on Education (NCE) yesterday in Abuja, Adamu, who noted he ought to have done better being the longest serving minister of Education in Nigeria, also blamed states’ ministries of education for playing a significant role in his failure.
According to him, during his tenure as education minister, the number of outof- school children increased, there were repeated academic disruptions in tertiary institutions due to industrial disharmony, as well as many other challenges he could have addressed by providing solutions.
He said: “Most of our policies at the federal level pulled children out of the street back to the school, but evidently, the actions of the state governments are pushing the children back to the street. “Few days ago, someone called my attention to the fact that I am the longest serving Minister of Education in Nigeria. Sincerely speaking, it never occurred to me and I never cared whether I was the longest or shortest serving minister.
“My worry was that I came to office as Minister of Education seven years ago to tackle a myriad of issues confronting the education system, particularly the issue of out-of-school children. But unfortunately, I failed to achieve all these expectations. For seven years, I was unable to tackle the issue of out-of-school children and several other challenges in the education sector.
“However, there are so many factors that contributed to that failure, but the key one, probably, has to do with education commissioners in the states. In 2016, I developed the Ministerial Strategic Plan for the education sector, and as required, I presented the document to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and requested that a State of Emergency be declared on education particularly at the lower levels. Decision could not be taken on it because education is in concurrent legislative list and such interventions; particularly at the lower level is strictly the responsibility of the states government.
“As a fall out, I was directed by the President to direct the memo to the National Economic Council (NEC) and I did as directed. My thoughts was that if the Council bought into the idea, being that its members are state governors, it would have just been a national decision and the expected objective would be achieved. “I made the presentation three times, and up till now, the expected action, which is the State of Emergency, has not been declared on the education sector.”
Adamu, who noted that the poor resolve from state commissioners of education were reasons behind the number of out-of-schoolchildren, urged them to push harder to enable their governors to take all necessary actions to improve the basic education system in the states. Furthermore, the education minister who disclosed that a directive has been given to Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to expunge all content on sexual education in schools curriculum insisted that all available evidences indicated that sex education in schools does more harm than good to the students. “While I accompanied the President to his recent trip to the New York, one highly placed government official called my attention to certain materials on sex education being used in schools, and I almost collapsed because I never expected that. “I am one of those persons who believe that sex education should not be taught in our schools. Rather, such knowledge and experience should be shared through other means that are known to man.”