Education should be made to become free and compulsory at all levels and this should be properly documented in the law books to ensure that all Nigerians children have access to quality education irrespective of the social standing of the parents or guardians.

This was the position of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who added that free and compulsory education should be a right for all children across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Atiku who contested for the office of the president of Nigeria in 2007 and subsequently sought for the position in 2011 added that the policy should have a legal backing of the national assembly as well as financial support of the Federal Government.

The founder of American University of Nigeria, Yola (AUN), stated these while delivering the 2012 Shehu Musa Yar?Adua Memorial Lecture at the Yar?Adua Centre in Abuja on Saturday. He added that such development will ensure that more Nigerians complete secondary school education.

Speaking further, the 2015 presidential hopeful advised that the new educational policy should not be treated the way and manner things are done in the country presently, but with all the seriousness and commitment it deserved.

?But it should not be implemented the way we typically go about these things. A target date should be set to allow for data collection and proper planning. We need to know the impact that such a policy will have for enrolment, school space and other resources, number of teachers, their availability and training, the impact on the demand for tertiary education and the cost of all of these.

He also advocated for adults who could not get education while they were young, saying windows should be opened for their emancipation.

?We should then have a system in place that provides adult education for those who missed the boat in the past but would like to get an education. This is what serious countries do in order lift up most of their citizens and provide the needed human resources for their economic, social and political development. We should then allow fees to rise slowly in the tertiary institutions to help pay for the badly needed improvements in infrastructure and quality.?

?While a university in the Niger Delta or Lagos may see an urgency in having a world class maritime program, one in Yola or Bauchi may prioritize information technology or agriculture while yet another in Jos or Enugu may prioritize Geology or Metallurgy as the case may be,? Atiku said.

He observed that a healthy competition in the field of education among various states and localities will be a ?boom for Nigeria?s development,? adding that ?they are more likely to quickly adapt their educational processes and programs to suit changing local needs, within the context of the dynamic national and global economy. I propose that we should seek not just to solve the problems for today but do so with our eyes also trained on the future,? Atiku said warning, however that ?we must not adopt our usual fire brigade approach.?

He suggested a policy direction that needs to clearly identify and regularly follow clear principles and steps in the formulation of educational policy.

Atiku lamented that the long years of military rule led to the ?abandonment of process and procedures in the formulation of educational and other development policies in Nigeria,? and called for proper planning on educational policy stressing that ?politicians and political leaders in government can articulate policy goals and directions, but the planning and implementation of educational policy and programs should be left in the hands of professionals.?

The Turaki Adamawa advocated for a more rigorous teacher recruitment while training, reward and evaluation be used as a means to attract the best hands into the sector.

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