Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has said that the present education backwardness being witnessed in the northern part of the country was caused by people of the area.
The minister made this known at the public presentation of Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) Book 1 series for Nigerian universities and a book in his honour, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adamu, who commended the National Universities Commission (NUC) for its drive in ensuring the springing up of more private universities in Nigeria, said the Commission’s effort is paying off with the establishment of more of such institutions in Northern Nigeria in recent times.
“The North is in self-imposed educational backwardness because the interest of the North is Islam, and Islam is the greatest promulgator of knowledge.
” In 859 AD, one Fatima Al-Fihri (sic), a woman-Muslim woman established the first university in the world, at the time, the Italian
universities, Oxford, Cambridge universities have not started, the first university is still existing there, it is now in Morocco.
” And about 100 years after that one, another university was established, the second university in the world before the universities of Europe, in Cairo and just like the first one, this university was established by a Muslim woman, Fatimatu Zahara (sic).
“So the first two universities in the world were established by Muslim women and here people are using Islam to keep women at home. I think it does not make sense,” the minister said.
Adamu, however, expressed delight that out of the 37 new private universities approved by the Federal Executive Council on Monday, large number of them are situated in the North.
Speaking on the CCMAS, the minister said the new curriculum would go a long way in adding value to graduates being churned out from Nigerian universities.
“We must continue to ensure graduates from Nigeria universities are equipped with needed skills, knowledge and expertise in order to succeed in the 21st century.
” We must consistently strive to improve our educational programmes and learning with the reality of global best practices. The CCMAS book series is aimed at achieving this goal, ” he said.
While saying the launch of CCMAS in 17 disciplines was one of the greatest steps taken by NUC to ensure Nigerian universities meet current global demands, Adamu called for its full implementation.
“The implementation of CCMAS requires dedication, hard work and willingness to embrace change by every one, therefore it is important we embrace training and equipping our academics with the necessary skills and knowledge to implement CMAS,”he said.
The outgoing minister also used the event to call for the establishment of Federal Teachers Service Commission, saying such move would ensure reforms put in place in the teaching profession yield desired results.
” I want to leave one legacy in your hands (heads of education agencies and others), we wrote a letter and the President approved everything… , but there is one yet to come into fruition, that will make education totally different
” It was recently I realised we need a Federal Teachers Service Commission, so I want to leave this in your hands, so that all those things approved by Mr president, the teachers will be able to get it, and education will begin to attract the best brains,” Adamu said.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Rasheed Abubakar, commended the minister for his several achievements recorded under his watch, especially in the area of universities development.
” As at yesterday morning, there were 111 private universities in the country, as of yesterday evening, the number had risen to 148 private universities in the country. That is of the 148 private universities in Nigeria, 87 or 60 percent came during Adamu Adamu as Minister of Education, ” the NUC boss said.
Rasheed, who also described CCMAS as a game changer in Nigerian universities, commended former NUC Executive Secretary, Professor Peter Okebukola, for his role in its development, describing him as chief architect of the curriculum.
Also speaking, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the CCMAS is a right step in the right direction.
“This is very important contribution to the repositioning of the Nigerian education system.
” The new curriculum is no doubt a tremendous value addition to repositioning our education system and it is wonderful that this has happened under the current minister of Education, Adamu Adamu,” he said.
The event which also witnessed tributes to late Professor Idris Abdulkadir and Professor Nimi Briggs, also saw to the unveiling of a book in honour of the the minister titled : ‘Repositioning Nigerian Educational System; the Ministerial Footprints of Adamu Adamu.”
Former Minister of Education, Professor Ruqqayattu Rufa’i, ex-Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Sonny Echono, Registrar of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Professor Josiah Ajiboye, among others, were also. present at the event.