Stakeholders at a National Conference on education on Friday called on the Federal Government to revisit and review the quota system in the nation’s education sector as a measure to enhance its standard.
They made the call in a communique issued at the end of “National Conference on Exploring the Effectiveness of Quota System Policies in Higher Education in Nigeria” organised by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD).
Dr Otive Igbuzor, Founding, Executive Director ,Centre LSD, said the stakeholders were drawn from all strata ,including the government, policy makers, educational administrators, civil society and citizens to examine the content of the policy and its implementation .
He said this became imperative because while the quota system was universally used in several countries, the system was transitional in those countries unlike in Nigeria where the policy seemed to have become permanent.
He said “In spite of its many weaknesses, the quota system policy in Nigeria has achieved some good outcomes in regional distribution of educational opportunities.
“However ,one of the reasons the quota system has not succeeded as expected is the inability of the primary and secondary schools to produce the right quality of students to feed into the higher education system.
“The carrying capacity of Universities in Nigeria is one of the major hindrances to higher educational attainment.’’
Igbuzor said that the participants agreed that the quota system as currently constituted had not delivered the expected outcomes, hence the need to revisit and review the policy.
He said that the review should be in terms of the implementation of the system with regards to the geographical coverage and target demographic groups.
“In view of advances in technology and innovation which has significantly shifted the disciplines that drive development, the policy of 60:40 ratios for science and arts courses in terms of admission should be reviewed to reflect current trends.
“Governments at all levels, federal, state and local governments, should invest in the development and delivery of high quality primary and secondary education, through enforcement of the universal basic education program,’’ he said.
Igbuzor said this would serve as a means to create a stronger federal system to connect young people to higher education and bring to effect the intended gains of the quota system.
He noted that uniform and competitive entry criteria should be enforced for all candidates to replace the quota system applied to the educationally less-developed states.
This, he said was in addition to supporting catchment area criteria, both of which could be accommodated under a uniform admission system.
He said the stakeholders also wanted government to make necessary investments to improve the quality of teachers, as well as regular capacity building for them.
Igbuzor added that the conference recommended that Government at Federal and State levels should look into strategies and opportunities to increase the capacity of existing institutions as against establishing new ones.