Former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Peter Okebukola has advised that the new head of the education ministry must have passion for reforms as well as demonstrate skills for problem solving in the education sector.
In an interview with journalists, Okebukola said though the former Minister, Mallam Adamu Adamu has the capacity to move the sector forward if given the chance to stay longer, but in the event of change, the President must appoint persons who have demonstrable and uncommon fervour and passion for reforms in education, administrative and diplomatic dexterity to handle unions that have a penchant for strikes and disruption of the academic calandar.
While pointing out that Nigeria has been overly blessed with good Ministers of Education in the last twenty years, Okebukola complained that the brevity of their tenure, poor financial resourcing of the sector and lack of systems approach to addressing the challenges in the sector disripted the desired growth.
“Over the years, the appointment of education ministers has been by the President selecting persons from the pool of nominees from the states abd the FCT and a sprinkle of technocrats who have been cleared by Senate to head the education ministry.
“This procedure in itself is not bad if the states can put their best candidates forward rather than nominating poorer quality candidates on the basis of political patronage and affiliation.
“And so going forward, the standard should be for political parties or state governors who are nominating to put forward what can be described as members of their first eleven to represent them at the federal level as ministers.
“The standard should also be to allow an apppintee to be in post long enough for his or her programs and projects to mature to a point of no return. More importantly, the standard is to resource education well enough especially with funds for the appointee to perform effectively,” Okebukola stated.