As the strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) persists, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday spoke at the Transforming Education Summit (leaders’ roundtable) organized on the margins of the 77th session of the UN general assembly.
Since February, ASUU has been on strike because the President Buhari administration has not complied with its demands, which include funding for tertiary institutions and a review of professors’ pay and benefits.
But when delivering Nigeria’s message at the summit, Buhari urged for cooperative alliances that will create a framework of concepts for changing educational systems around the world.
“In transforming education, we must not erect borders. Where they exist, we must bring them down, as we have much to learn from each other,” he said.
“As we are aware, improving equitable and inclusive access to quality educational opportunities is germane to ensuring the full development of our societies.
“No country can develop beyond the capacity of its educational system.”
Buhari claimed that without changing the teaching profession, it would be difficult to have a serious discussion about reforming the country’s educational systems.
The expansion of efforts to advance innovations and research in teacher education and the professional development of teachers was consequently advocated, he said.
“The process of building a sustainable teacher supply chain to address the challenges of teacher shortages is important, and calls for global action,” he said.
“Nigeria also wishes to reiterate the need for all member states and stakeholders to address the systemic and structural issues that hamper access to quality education.
“It is only when we do this, that we can create a world truly fit for all, and where no one is left behind.’’
According to Buhari, utilising information technology as a teaching tool holds the promise of transforming and erasing the boundaries of learning and re-engineering how learning occurs within and outside the classroom.
He expressed optimism that bridging the digital divide would offer Nigeria opportunities to expand learning and transform the education system.
“Nigeria is restoring trust with its people, in order to provide safe learning environment and responsive services. That was why we were among the first to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD), while developing a national policy on school safety and security,” he added.