A two-day fair by the Union Bank Plc, Edu 360, held last week provided a platform for government officials, educationists, private sector service providers, teachers, parents and students to interact, learn, and find products and services suited to their needs.
The fair which had as theme: “Investing In The Future”, held at Harbour Point Four, Victoria Island, Lagos, featured training for teachers and parents, robotics/STEM exhibition for students, panel discussions, and exhibition by schools and other service providers.
In her keynote address at the opening of the fair on Tuesday, CEO, The Education Partnership (TEP) Center, Dr Modupe Adefeso – Olateju underscored the importance of adequate investment in human capital development through education.
She said the failing of the education sector was why Nigeria’s healthcare, which she used as an example, was failing.
“Nigeria spent $1.3 billion in medical tourism in 2014. Over 18,000 Nigerians were patients in India alone in 2012. Our Presients, their spouses and ministers get their medical attention abroad,” she said.
Mrs Adefeso-Olateju said inadequate funding of training for medical doctors as well as poor and inadequate healthcare facilities for training and practice had resulted in Nigeria losing her medical doctors to foreign countries over the years. She said the countries embracing Nigerian doctors were gaining from Nigeria’s investment in their education. Nigeria on the other hand was left without enough doctors to take care of her citizens.
“Paucity of opportunity for postgraduate training means that most doctors are forced to go abroad to avoid becoming tailors and farmers. Over half of the 75,000 doctors trained in Nigeria leave. Nigeria is indirectly subsidizing the training of medical doctors in the U.S. and other countries,” she said.
Mrs Adefeso-Olateju said the brain drain could be reversed by wooing Nigerian doctors in the diaspora home.
In his speech, CEO of Union Bank, Mr Emeka Emuwa said there was need for Nigeria to improve in the education and other sectors, adding that the bank was in support of such move.
He said:” We are driven by the recognition that for Nigeria to realize its full potential, we must invest in and reform the education sector to be able to educate and train our youths for jobs of the future. For us at Union Bank, education is a very critical ingredient in everything we are doing and we are an active participant in developing Nigeria. We can play a very critical role in fasttracking and moving the Nigerian education sector forward. ”
The Executive Director of Union Bank, Mr Adekunle Sonola, spoke on the importance of education in the lives of youths and the country at large.
He said:” Our country can’t grow without education, for Nigeria to be truly great, the bedrock of that is education. We need to expose the children to global standards; we cannot make them set up for local standards because the basis for competition in the modern world has changed. We need interventions in Nigeria on education because we need to grow minds. It is important to grow minds because it is a mind that is grown that will ensure a future that is assured.”
Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe said Nigeria would gain from quality education.
“Quality education contributes to peaceful and democratic communities and enhances individual development. It eradicates poverty, hunger, ignorance and illiteracy and brings forth knowledgeable people that contribute to the growth of country and its economy.
“Education at all levels in our dear country needs urgent attention to refocus it online with global practice for the nation to derive maximum benefit, achievement and impacts. There us need for us to refocus concerning education as that is the bedrock of any developed country. ”
The Special Advisor to the Governor, Mr Obafela Bank – Olemoh also spoke about the importance if quality education saying we need to improve the quality of our education as the future of the country lies in that.