By Damola Kola-Dare
Former ASUU Chairman, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) chapter, Dr Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju has urged government to completely overhaul the education sector at all levels after the COVID-19 pandemic dies down. He maintained this will help the country effectively tackle future challenges.
“COVID-19 is another wake- up call for the administration and overhauling of the education sector in Nigeria. The need for a solid educational base as a way of staving off disaster has never been more glaring. And this concerns every level of education,” he said.
He lamented the surge in the number of out-of-school children, noting that it is an invitation to disaster. He also advocated training at a foundational stage that includes health concerns.
He said: “First, having uneducated children roaming aimlessly about is always a recipe for disaster.Every school-age child must be in school. Second, training at the earliest stages must incorporate health concerns, in the form of hygiene education and practical training – wash your hands, don’t throw dirt including pieces of paper, orange peelings, just anywhere, avoid contamination, don’t eat just anything or compromise your immunity anyhow but rather build it.”
Oloruntoba-Oju, also said it was important to build a scientific consciousness from the foundational stages, so as to nurture citizens that can solve practical problems.
“It is disheartening to hear such unscientific statements in some quarters as, ‘Oh it was God that sent the Coronavirus’, or ‘Oh it doesn’t affect black people’. The ability of a country to stave off disasters is directly proportionate to the state of education of the citizenry,” he said.
He also urged government to commit to proper funding of the education sector because lack of funding would make the country susceptible to disasters.
Oloruntoba-Oju said: “This is a time to emphasise the value of education in general, as a protective resource via enlightenment and development of the mind.
It is not a time to display a lackadaisical attitude towards education. Research is required to discover the trajectory of the virus and the disease within the tropics and how to conquer it within the specific environment of this country.
In the Western world, the universities are leading the fight against COVID-19 because they are well funded and well equipped. That is the proper model to follow.”