- Picture: Dr Sam Egwu *
“Education is the greatest weapon, we can use to change the world”Dr Nelson Rohilala Mandela, former South African president asserts at the University of Witwatersrand in South-Africa(2003).
On 16th April, 2009 to be precise, under the visionary and dynamic leadership of His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu as the then Hon.Minister of Education, while addressing the national council on education (NCE) adopted an intervention plan i.e. the roadmap for Nigerian education sector for re-positioning the education sector for socio economic and technological transformation of our dear country -Nigeria.
Interestingly, His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu as then Hon Minister of Education adumbrated on the Road map, when he posited that “the initiativeis that of the federal ministry of education, marshal out time-bound, result driven strategies in the genetic focused, priority areas of access and quality, standards and quality Assurance, Technological and vocational Education and Training, Funding and Resource utilization, across basic,post basic and tertiary education sub-sectors”.
The vision is to transform our schools and institutions into high performing entities, poised with a mission of producing high achieving, functional and self-reliant students.
“The present roadmap is unique in the sense that:
- It is action focused and sustainable
- It is clearly specified deliverable timelines
- It follows a systematic implementation plan.
In a new initiative for the development of technical and vocational education, organized by the federal ministry of education and national board for technical education. His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu then Minister of education stated that “The event marks an important milestone in the human capacity development of the present administration. Our goal is to begin a conscious and deliberate effort to institutionalize a formal system for increase private sector participation in the training of millions of our youths and the citizenry to acquire skills to enable them become employable or evenself-employed”
His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu stressing further one of the major challenges we are confronted with today as a nation, is in the area concerning youth unemployment said “Over the years our young men and women craving for white collar jobs, but with realities of a dwindling economic climate which has confronted the government at all levels and even business, we must, as a matter of deliberate policy, begin a process of re-orientating our youth to imbibe a “can do spirit”, “an attitude of looking inwards to achieve what we want as a nation”.
“If you can dream it, you can achieve it” Disney said. His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu enunciates further” Today the most developed countries of the world accord the task of developing vocational skills and technological innovation, a very high priority as crucial vehicles for competitiveness. As a developing nation aspiring to join the league of high performing economies, Nigeria has no option, but to invest heavily in technical and vocational education and training” (TVET).
In thanking the commitment of captains of industries, the then Minister of Education His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu reiterated that “Let me seize this opportunity to express appreciation to all the numerous captains of industries and entrepreneurs who have interest and commitment to this initiative by rising to the challenge of establishing new institutions and repositioning the existing ones to achieve our share objectives. He expresses the federal government’s appreciation to NBTE for spearheading this key development, in the TVET sector that is expected torevolutionize vocational training in our dear nation. This is in line with Gen. Collin Powel’s postulation “Great leaders are great simplifiers, who can cut through arguments, debates and doubts to offer solution everybody can understand’’.
In a meeting with principals of federal unity colleges (FUCUS)as the then Minister of Education under president Musa Yar’dua (GCFR) His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu pontificates “The purpose of our meeting today is copious in nature. The meeting will afford us the opportunity to interact and for us deliberating together on the issuesof decay and other related problems in the federal unity colleges. This will give us the opportunity of chartinga way forward for resuscitation of our unityschools and putting them on course for the attainment of its objectives. stressing further“I have observed that funds meant for unity schools are not judiciously utilized, leading to non-conducive college compound littered with abandoned and uncompleted projects”.
“……. To address these issues decisively, my administration has plan underway to constitute School Board Management Committees (SBMCS) thatwill work with education stakeholders from within the localities where the colleges are located, for effective management and we are exploring the possibility of releasing funds for capital projects directly to the principals and expected to work with SBMC for the execution of approved projects under the strict supervision of federal ministry of education. In addition, as part of the workshop on e-payment being put together for you by the ministry. I have directed that presentations on some process mechanism be included to enable you understand the procurement process, such that there would be no excuse for any breach of financial regulations”. Like in the words of legendary American civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his dream for the American people, which came to pass, His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu as then Minister of Education echoed his dream. “I have a dream of laying a foundation for a glorious future, taking education sector to the next level. “My dream of revamping the Federal unity colleges would not be accomplished without your assistance and co-operation”.
The great former British Prime Minister Winston Churchil once said, “The glory of the future is better than the history of yesterday”.His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu as the then Minister of Education further reiterated, “The strategy I wish to adopt is to constitute six (6) committees, one pereach geo-political zone, looking into issues relating to Federal unity colleges and their management. Nigerians and the government in particular expect greater performance from unity colleges,geared towards the promotion of national integration, unity in diversity, just and egalitarian society, in line with the vision, yearnings and the aspirations of our founding fathers”.
In finality, a critical appraisal of His Excellency Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu’s vision and various revolutionary initiatives put in place in his short stint,as the then Hon. Minister of Education under president Umar Musa Yar’dua’s Government and if these lofty initiatives can be sustained by successful governments in Nigeria, I have nodoubt in my mind,our desire and quest for holistic transformation of our education system is achievable in no distance time. Having solace in the immortal words of Wallace Huey when he asserts “Good vision gives rise to burning desire, Burning desire leads to focused intent, focused intent stimulates committed action”.
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