President Muhammadu Buhari says reviving the educational sector with renewed focus on teaching valuable lessons like integrity in schools, will require giving priority to the welfare of teachers, who directly create the enabling environment for learning.
The President stated this when he received a delegation from the Arewa House Centre for Historical Documentation and Research, at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.
According to him, the quality of training, welfare and happiness of teachers directly impact on the quality of education children and adults get in schools, urging more focus and research on impact of teachers.
The President spoke against the backdrop of a proposal by the delegation to start an annual, “Buhari Integrity Lecture Series”.
He said: “If it has to do with integrity, we must go back to history and try to assess the contribution of teachers to education, where teachers treated every child as their own in instilling discipline and sharing of knowledge.
“I have been lucky to be in boarding school for nine years, three years in primary school and six years in secondary school before I joined the military. And if we are talking of good education, it has to start with the teaching in schools, where children grow and the environment of learning.”
Buhari said education cuts across the three tiers of government, and it was important to consider who pays the teachers at every level and if the teachers get adequately compensated to provide quality education.
“We must make education and health a priority relative to the resources available,” he said.
According to him, the challenge of repositioning the educational sector and cultivating strong moral values in children goes beyond the northern part of Nigeria, and should be pursued holistically at a national level.
“Your nomenclature is Arewa, but the problem of education is a national issue,” the President said.
He said focus must also be on providing accessible quality education for the privileged and underprivileged in the country.
“We will have a better society when education is not only for those who can afford to pay expensive fees in schools,” he said.
In his remarks, the Director of Arewa House, Prof. Idris Jimada, told the President that there was a need to inculcate the virtue of integrity that he had stood for over the years, and propagated as an important aspect of development.
Jimada said the centre had decided on instituting “The Buhari Integrity Annual Lecture Series”, which would appraise the President’s position on morality and inspire more people to appreciate integrity as integral to Nigeria’s development.
“Integrity should be taught in our schools as part of civic education, and we are proposing that it starts with you,” he said.