Stakeholders in the nation’s education sector may have been disappointed over the appointment of accountant to oversee the affairs of education ministry.
According to some stakeholders, government over the years has not shown any serious commitments towards the restoration of the education sector by its failure to appoint a coreseasoned educator to superintend the affairs of the sector.
The recent appointment of Mallam Adamu Adamu, an accountant /newspaper columnist by president Muhammadu Buhari to head the nation’s education has been faulted by educators who felt that it was right time for Nigeria to get it right in the sector given the change mantra that brought Buhari to power.
This singular appointment of Adamu to head education has attracted much criticism from renowned educators across the country, especially those who felt that education should be given priority attention. They expressed disappointment over the appointment of accountant without knowledge of education policy to pilot the affairs of the ministry.
They said in strong term that government has erred by appointing Adamu to head the sector, when there are many qualified professionals to over see the ministry for good.
The stakeholders also described the minister’s appointment as square peg in round hole, which according to them cannot midwifed any meaningful development in education system because nobody gives what he/she does not have.
The stakeholders were of the opinions that Adamu lacks the competence and qualifications to leapfrog the nation’s education to next level.
Many of them who commented on the appointment described Adamu appointment as disappointment to the nation’s education sector.
Mallam Adamu, who was appointment a minister for education last week after long expectation, hails from Bauchi state, and graduated from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, where he studied Accountancy. He also had Master Degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He started work as an accountant before joining New Nigeria newspaper as a special correspondent and member of Editorial board .He rose to become deputy Editor of the paper.
According to report, he has been a faithful follower of president Buahri in his struggle to become president of the country and was the secretary of the Board of Trustee of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Member and Secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC), presidential transition committee Adamu has been described as a fervent follower of Buhari for many years and he was indeed part of the success story and was very critical of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as a president.
According to reports, he was made education minister on account of his close relationship with Buhari. Reacting on the appointment of the Adamu as Minister for Education, the Provost of Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), Noforija, Epe, Lagos State, Prof. Olu Akeusola said the appointment was the height of disregard to the nation’s education sector. According to him, Adamu Admau as minister for education was a great a disappointment to education sector, saying that the minister does not have what its takes to be minister for education in the country.
“Morally, professional and even legal, he is not qualified to be education minister in this country. I am disappointed that an accountant could be appointed a minister for education .Why didn’t the federal government appoint an engineer to head ministry of justice and a lawyer to head ministry of health.
Government must realize that education is core to any meaningful development in the country and it need seasoned educator “he said.
Akeusola who is a renowned educationist and thorough bread academic said that it was sad that in a country with avalanche of qualified professional teachers and educators, an accountant was drafted to supervise the education sector.
“This is misdemeanor of highest order, and I hope that government will rectify the error quickly to save the nation from great embarrassment “he said According to him, the appointment of Mallam Adamu as education was wrong and should be corrected, if the government wants to restore dignity of the nation education sector, because one does not give what he does not have.
Akeusola who is a professor of Comparative Grammar said that one would have expected government to appoint person with competence and qualifications to head education, but regrettable, the government in its wisdom appointed a rookie to head the largest ministry in the country, the ministry of education.
He reiterated that education should be headed by a core professional educator and not a layman, saying that the nation’s education has been suffering unduly over the years because right people are not appointed to head the sector.
The don said that, lack of qualified people heading the sector has resulted into wrong interpretation of the national policy on education, stressing that the 6334 policy of education has been wrongly implemented because those who were supposed to give policy directive do not understand the programme.
“Because we don’t normally have really educators as ministers for education,we are having problems in the sector, especially in the policy interpretation and implementation. We are not implementing our educational policy because those who should interpret the policy are not made ministers. A minster for education should be somebody who has been a Dean, Faulty of Education or Provost, College of Education, a provost who actually studied education. The appointment of Admu was a square peg in a round hole “he added.
Speaking also the former president, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Comrade Remi Makinde said that appointing an accountant as a minister for education in the country means that we are not thinking of getting solution to our educational problems.
“It simply means that we are not yet there and we do not understand the importance of the education in the national development’ he retorted. He queried,
“Why should some body that does not have education background be heading education, the largest ministry? Why should neophyte be made to head a professor of education and former Vice Chancellor of University? Why should Prof. Anthony Anwuka ,a professor of education be made to
be a minister of state for education and a rookie is made to head him ?”
“Did the government put him there to supervise the spending of the nation’s fund through the ministry of education? he said.
Prof. Anthony Anwuka is a seasoned Professor of Education, an experienced Public Administrator, and a Vice Chancellor for five years at Imo state University? .
According to Makinde, the minister of state for education should have been the substantive minister, while Adamu becomes the minister of state for education.
“How can an educationist work as a junior minister to somebody who is a neophyte, somebody who does not know anything about the education. If I were the professor, I will just resign. I condemn Anwuka for accepting to be under someone who does not have competence to manage education “he said. He further asked, whether the federal government had exhausted the professional educators in the country before going to appoint an accountant to head education ministry?
“Does it mean that government does not understand the concept of education and why somebody with professional competence should be there? There are men and women with good education qualifications and experiences that can pilot the affairs of the country’s education to fruition. With the appointment of Admau as the minister for education, we are not going to move anywhere’ he said.
Also reacting on the appointment, the former commissioner for education, Kogi state, Mr. Sylvester Onoja who was visible angry with the appointment of Adamu, said that as an academic he expected the president to put the right person as the education minister.
He said that a professional who knows his left from his right and not somebody who has no business being in education sector heading the ministry.
According to him, Adamu was not qualified, neither was he competent to be the minister of education. “I have known Aadmu as a man of integrity, honesty, and good character but I did not know him as an educator .
He is not qualified and does not have the competency to head the ministry. Every thing about the economy revolves round the education sector and bringing none professional to head it means poor planning. He is good but does not have the competency to manage the education sector of the country “he stated.
He also expressed worries, that none professional was not appointed the minister for education, while in other professional ministries like health and justice, professionals were appointed to head them. According to Onoja, who was the former Principal of King’s College Lagos, Adamu was an accountant who latter left accounting to join journalism and wondered how he will manage the sector and make any meaningful impart. He also urged him to prioritize and work hard on the primary education of the country, stressing that most of the problems bedeviling the industry emanated from poor primary education and for any person to do well in the sector he/she must first tackle the challenges in the basic education.
Onoja further stated that as it stands today, there is no regulatory body regulating the activities of the secondary education in the country, while teachers education was in serious crisis.
He said that Nigeria must prioritize basic education and make them more functional because as it stands toddy’s basic education does not hold any thing good for the future of the country.
“Let teachers be well paid and motived to give in their best. Teaching profession is left for people who are seemed as never do well, those who cannot do well in the society. These are people that are moulding the future of this country. In admission process today, if somebody studying medicine is admitted with 250 cut off, somebody who wants to study education is admitted on a ridiculous cut off mark of 150. With this mentality, we cannot have good hands to teach our children, when we have consciously neglected the teachers’ education. I advised that we resuscitate the regulatory bodies in the education sector” he said.
According to him, how comes West African Examinations Council (WAEC) declared that 31 per cent passed senior school Certificates Examinations (WASSCE), and National Examination Council (NECO), same year declared that over 68 per cent of same candidates who sat for its exam passed. “These candidates were taught by the same teachers, with the same equipment in the same environment, the standard and the same students” he stated.
According to him, this means that something is fundamentally wrong with the education system in the country.
Also commenting, Prof. (Mrs.) Virgy Onyene of the Department of Education Administration, University of Lagos, said that the appointment of Adamu Adamu as the substantive minister goes to confirm high level of mediocrity in the government.
According to her, appointing an accountant to head the ministry of education in the country was horrendous.
She also challenged the new minister to submit a very innovative and reform oriented agenda to qualify him to head the largest ministry in the country. “Accountant heading education ministry portends confirmation of mediocrity .So civil servants will continue with their ‘redtapism’ behind Nigerians.
She further said that, she saw the minister of state for education Prof. Anthony Anwuka working as a minister with out portfolio.
I urged Anwuka, if the knownot minister refuses to his input, he should be selfless enough to resign openly.
Speaking on the appointment, the chairman of Education Writers Association of Nigeria (EWAN), Mr. Tubosun Ogundare also expressed disappointment over the appointment of accountant to head education sector.
According to him, the government should have appointed some body with education experience to head the sector, saying that with the appointment of the current minister, the sector will still suffer.
Not withstanding, much is expected from new Minister of Education, the dwindling and decay in the education sector must be revived by Adamu.
– Titus Eleweke