Nigeria should prioritize primary education, not university education — Pat Utomi

A political economy professor and management expert, Patrick Utomi, says what Nigeria needs to do now is to implement reforms that prioritize primary education over other levels of education, especially the university in the education sector.

He says this is necessary because primary education is the foundation on which any student could build.

Utomi gave this vision on the sidelines of a ‘Book Roundtable Discourse and Award 2022’, recently organized by the Flannel Business School (FBS), in Lagos.

He was a guest speaker on the forum and spoke about ‘The book’ as a driver of change in a rapidly changing world.

According to him, it is at the primary level that most people learn and form the foundation of what they grow up with in life and the future, including good reading habits.

“And that is why we as a country should focus more on primary education than on tertiary education.

“If we do that, we will get quality products that will go to both secondary and tertiary levels.”

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However, the situation in the country is now what we can describe as ‘garbage in, garbage out’.

Utomi therefore argued for primary education to be managed by the local government, which is closest to the people, and for parents to have a better say.

He said those who make decisions for university education in Nigeria, for example, are far removed from the grassroots people, adding that “to make the situation worse, most of them do not send their children to Nigerian universities.”

He said that’s why they issued a series of excuses as to why the government couldn’t pay for education as it should.

The scholar went on to explain that it was disturbing that the union action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) could go on for so long, blaming the people with the country’s resources for development.

He said people in government need to understand that closing public universities for so long is tantamount to toiling with the future of the country.

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Commenting during the event, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, praised the virtues of the event organizer, FBS Director General, Lawrence Omidiora, and said he is committed to taking courses aimed at the well-being of society.

He said the importance of self-development, life events and history books such as those promoted by the school is commendable.

For his part, FBS Director General Lawrence Omidiora said the sole purpose of the book roundtable was to help stakeholders chart the path to renewing the country’s dying reading culture.

He noted that the award was intended to encourage more Nigerians to identify with the book industry.

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