Several states in Nigeria — Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta — are uniting in an effort to overhaul the education system within their borders. The partnership, named The BRACED Commission, is expected to kick off its first education summit in Port Harcourt this November.
The summit attendees will be sharing their ideas for innovating in education as well as taking stock of how their schools are currently performing and how they can be improved. The Commission's Director-General, Ambassador Joe Keshi, explained that by laying down a solid academic foundation, the states can assure their own economic success as well as the economic success of the whole of Nigeria going forward.
The Director General, disclosed that with such initiative, the summit will provide for the six BRACED states opportunity to address the state of education in the region with a view to fashioning out different ways to improve the quality of education, learning environment and over all well being of the various stakeholders in the education process especially the teachers and the students.
The education improvement initiative wasn't born with the Commission, Keshi explained. Since Nigeria came under democratic rule, improving the quality of the schools in the country has been a priority, and major strides have been made in that direction already. That included capital and infrastructure improvements as well as attracting better quality instructors via improved salaries.
However, the states making up the Commission are concerned that gains made since 1999 are in danger of being reversed. BRACED's goal is to prevent that reversal via the introduction of more rigorous standards.
He, however noted that although the falling standard of education is not peculiar to the BRACED states, governors of the states are desirous of given quality of education at all levels with a view of turning the region into a sought-after-knowledge resort on the continent. He regretted the situation whereby Nigerian parents and guardians have to send their wards to schools in neighbouring African countries.
It is anticipated that the summit will draw not only the area's foremost education advocates, but also top politicians including regional governors, education commissioners and the heads of all major universities. Together, they hope to draft new education standards for primary and secondary schools in all the BRACED states to provide a comprehensive, well-articulated plan for the future.
In addition, the attendees will discuss putting together a science and technology policy for all schools in the region. They also want to work towards improving the quality of vocational and technical education to make that path more appealing to students.