Remarks By Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze, MD/CEO Selonnes Consult Ltd.Chairman of the ONIT College of Education Convocation, Saturday 3 June 2017, Awgbu, Anambra State.
It gives me great pleasure to be here. I thank Prof. Oby Nwafor, who cajoled me to cancel all my other engagements this morning to be here today.
I’m here today because I place a high premium on education. I’m also a child of a teacher. I salute all those gathered here, who continue to add value to our educational system and ongoing efforts to educate our children properly.
Government alone cannot educate our children. We must ask the Missions and private individuals to assist. We must also focus on vocational training and professions that require certification rather than university degrees.
Part of formal education is counselling and mentoring. Both are important tools for passing on skills and knowledge. Furthermore proper education, exposure, mentoring, training and access to global best practices are means of making our youths globally competitive.
Yet it is vitally important that we continue to insist that our children must stay in school and finish school; as well as engage in trades where they are skilled and globally employable.
The competition is fierce even for the educated. Today there are globally 100 million street children. 12.6% unemployed global youth. Nigerian youths comprising of 15-35 year olds make up 70 million of Nigeria’s 180 million people. 54% of these youths are unemployed.
There are 57 million out of school children worldwide -10.5 million in Nigeria alone. The consequence is that there exist two unemployed sets: educated and skilled unemployed and illiterate, unskilled and unemployed. What does this translate to? Ten percent of the world youth population are NEET –(not in education, employment or training); Angry youths; violence, cultism, revenge on society; – regrettably does not translate to cheap labour.
If these facts and figures are troubling, then you know why we are here today. We must do our utmost to consolidate our education at all levels. Anambra State several years ago under Peter Obi topped the nation in every national exam. I know. I was part of the administration. Today we have slipped and are no longer in the top five states. We need to return to our winning ways.
To do so, we must target and meet the UN recommended 26% of the budget for education. I am also a proponent and advocate of setting aside 10% of the education budget for supporting Mission and private schools. After all, they also train our children.
Governments come and go. Politicians come and go; but the society subsists, as does the schools and the Church. Our collective role is to join hands in promoting education and through it make our society better for our posterity. Government, for its part, if it really wants to serve the people, must continue to respond to unmet needs and to address critical sectors like education, infrastructure and power, where the society at large continue to experience immense deficits.
Thank you for your attention.
Mr. Obaze is the former Secretary to the State Government of Anambra State, Nigeria from 2012 to 2015 - MD & CEO, Oseloka H. Obaze. Mr. Obaze also served as a former United Nations official, from 1991-2012, and as a former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, from 1982-1991.
Selonnes Consult Ltd. is a Strategic Policy, Good Governance and Management Consulting Firm, founded by Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze who served as Secretary to Anambra State Government from 2012-2015; a United Nations official from 1991-2012 and a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer from 1982-1991.