Nigeria’s former vice-president Atiku Abubakar has advocated strict consequences for parents who refuse to allow formal education for their children.
Atiku made this call on Saturday in his lecture during the convocation ceremony of Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, where he spoke on the theme; “Diversity, Education, and Autonomy: Developing Nigeria in the Years Ahead.”
He further drew an analogy with the forced vaccinations from childhood diseases which should be deployed in order to improve the country’s educational index.
He said such is the only way to cut down considerably the country’s growing figure of out-of-school children, which he put at more than 13 million.
Atiku said; “We persuade parents to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases because vaccination is a good thing. Why don’t we do the same for education? Parents should be persuaded, even forced, to send their children to school so they, at least, acquire basic education. That basic education should be free and compulsory.
“I believe that if there are severe consequences for parents who refuse to send their children to have free primary and secondary education, we would not have over 13 million out-of-school children in Nigeria. Certainly not. Our per capita income would not have stagnated for 40 years. Think about it, our per capita income is today what it was forty years ago.”
He further stated that this was the rationale behind his philanthropic interventions in the education sector.
He said countries that value education usually invests in it and that “the nations that treat education and innovation more seriously and invest massively in them are also the leading nations of the world.
“These are the reasons why my philanthropy has focused the most on education. After so many years of giving scholarships to students from less well-to-do families and helping friends and communities build schools across the country, I began to build a school system in my hometown, Yola, that today incorporates all levels, from kindergarten to university,” he said.
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