Students participating in the Annual Biodun Lawale Inter-School Competition have advocated for the reform of Nigeria’s educational system.

They urged both the state and federal governments to establish an independent committee composed of education experts which committee would be responsible for studying the various reforms that have taken place in the education sector since Nigeria’s independence and devising a comprehensive strategy to propel the nation forward.

The student speakers said this during an inter-school debate competition organized by Abeokuta Junior Chambers International, in collaboration with Learn Africa, emphasising the need for the government to allocate appropriate attention and resources to each segment within the education sector.

They also proposed that every aspect of the education sector should have clearly defined objectives, which would be subject to regular evaluation to ensure effectiveness and progress.

“Government should establish secondary education commission as a watchdog to secondary education in the country.

“The essence is to give secondary education the deserved priority that aims at making our youth arm with sellable skills and knowledge to continue with their studies.

“Policy haste in education never gives the desired result. It would be better if policies are made in such a way that changes can be accommodated without disturbing the overall system in operation”, they said.

The participants also said that Nigeria education should aspire for manpower training, noting that the mass-benefit approach to education has been heavily politicized was on its way out, while the cost-benefit approach was too sophisticated for the country.

“Government should work toward finding a solution to incessant strikes at the tertiary institutions by academic staff. Only God knows the loss incurs by the nation through such strikes. How would Nigeria hope to belong among 20 economically strong nations if its institutions of learning are paralyzed by strikes?”, they said.

During the event, Mr. Babatunde Sanyaolu, chairman of the occasion, expressed gratitude to the organizers and the Biodun Lawale Foundation for their commitment to Nigerian students.

He urged other non-governmental organizations to follow the example of JCI and contribute their support to improve the educational system, which he noted required realistic and practical solutions.

In his welcome address, Amb. Olufemi Emmanuel Adeleke, the President of Abeokuta JCI, highlighted the importance of aligning education reforms with modern scientific and technological advancements in order to remain relevant to learners and the nation as a whole.

Amb. Adeleke further stated that JCI, as an organization, would continue to assist the government in its efforts towards educational reforms, acknowledging that significant changes in the educational system may take time to yield tangible results.

“Nigeria must learn to plan its education and implement it with commitment and sense of direction for the greater good of all its citizens”, he said

The participating schools in the competition were Sacred Heart Catholic College, Macjob Grammar School (Onikolobo), African Church Grammar School (Ita-Eko), Abeokuta Girls Grammar School, Catholic Comprehensive School, Gateway Secondary School, Ijemo Titun High School (Ibara GRA) and Abeokuta Grammar School.

After the competition, Abeokuta Girls Grammar School emerged as the first-place winner, followed by Sacred Heart School as second place winner while Abeokuta Grammar School came third.