Ezekwesili Canvasses Priority For Primary, Secondary Education

Ezekwesili Canvasses Priority For Primary, Secondary Education
  • PublishedAugust 14, 2023

A former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has said that Primary and Secondary levels of uninterrupted education are the most important, as they give the students to strong foundation to build on.

She made the remark while delivering the Convocation Lecture at the 30th Postgraduate Convocation Ceremonies of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

A total of 113 graduating students bagged Doctor of Philosophy in various fields, 215 bagged Master’s degrees and 16 got Postgraduate Diplomas.


In a lucid breakdown of foundational education, she said the first 9 years of learning, Primary 1-6 and Basic 1-3, are the most important rungs of the ladder in the levels of Nigerian education.

The international guru, who spoke on the topic: Education Systems and Youth Development, noted that education is the bedrock on which any nation builds its prosperous future, adding that without “access to it at the foundational level, a nation may be heading for disaster by breeding bands of criminals.”

Dr. Ezekwesili advised that the first 9 years of the foundational education must be made inclusive, qualitative and accessible to all children, irrespective of their parents’ economic or social statuses.

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While she stressed that issues in education included needs of special education, non- formal and informal education, the former Minister added that priority in terms government attention and funding should be given to these formative years of students at the foundational level, noting on an unfortunate note, that government had always paid greatest attention to tertiary education, which she said caters to about 4 per cent of those pursuing education, while less attention “is given to the foundational education where we have over 70 per cent of students.”

She made a comparative analysis of Finland, Singapore and South Korea, all of which she observed had got this right.

She quoted a report which indicated that 9 out of 10 of African children don’t attain minimum level of literacy, and on this she called for “mourning and a move into fiercest urgency to fix it.”

Dr. Ezekwesili also expressed worry at the quality of teaching and learning being offered at the foundational level, and the quality of teachers who are employed to teach the children, adding that in Nigeria children at this level, many atimes, do not access encouraging quality of teaching. 

While addressing the graduands, the former Minister said they must explore the tech-world, which is the in-thing now, and they should also develop Foundational skills, Digital skills,Transformable skills and Job-specific skills.

Using her father’s admonition to her while she was young, the former Minister advised them to have good character, and “it must be consistent in all they do.”


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