Sus­tain­able qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion: A ticket out of poverty

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents -

This be­ing the text of the key­note speech by Pro­fes­sor Kings­ley Moghalu, Pres­i­den­tial Can­di­date of the Young Pro­gres­sives Party (YPP), at the maiden sem­i­nar by the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment So­lu­tions Net­work, Fed­eral Univer­sity of Petroleum Re­sources, Ef­fu­run (FUPRE), Delta State, on Oc­to­ber 24th, 2018. Moghalu, a for­mer Deputy Gov­er­nor at the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria, was also a se­nior of­fi­cial of the United Na­tions.

Pro­to­col: Our host, and Vice Chan­cel­lor, Pro­fes­sor Akae­homen Okonig­bon Akii Ib­hadode; dis­tin­guished lec­tur­ers and re­searchers; of­fi­cials of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment So­lu­tions Net­work; stu­dents of this great in­sti­tu­tion; ladies and gen­tle­men.

I am very pleased to be here. The choice of the topic of this key­note ad­dress is par­tic­u­larly apt for the time, and for­ward­look­ing. In­deed, sus­tain­able qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion is the ticket out of poverty.

The nexus be­tween ed­u­ca­tion and poverty is one that our politi­cians have lit­tle un­der­stood in re­cent years. But it has not al­ways been like this. This gives me hope that we can redis­cover the path to a sus­tain­able fu­ture and that we would make the choice to do so.

Coun­tries that have in­vested in qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion for a rea­son­able length of time, and con­tinue to do so, out­per­form coun­tries that are do­ing the op­po­site. Nige­ria is now very prom­i­nent among the coun­tries that have in­vested the least in qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and are, there­fore, the poor­est in the world.

Let me high­light some of the find­ings in the maiden Hu­man Cap­i­tal In­dex (HCI), which the World Bank re­leased only ear­lier this month. A child born in Nige­ria to­day will be 34% as pro­duc­tive when she grows up as she could be, if she en­joyed com­plete ed­u­ca­tion and full health. This state­ment is not gen­der-spe­cific as it is con­ve­niently put. It is gen­er­ally true.

Here is the rea­son for the mas­sive pro­duc­tiv­ity gap of the av­er­age Nige­rian young adult. Chil­dren in Nige­ria can ex­pect to com­plete 8.2 years of pre-pri­mary, pri­mary and sec­ondary school by age 18. How­ever, when years of school­ing are ad­justed for qual­ity of learn­ing, this is only equiv­a­lent to 4.2 years: a learn­ing gap of 4 years. It is as if you were ab­sent from school al­most half the times you were present!

Ac­cord­ing to the HCI, stu­dents in Nige­ria score 325 on a scale where 625 rep­re­sents ad­vanced at­tain­ment and 300 rep­re­sents min­i­mum at­tain­ment.

What all this means is that there is a wide gulf be­tween school­ing and learn­ing in Nige­ria. But the sit­u­a­tion is even worse. 10 mil­lion school age chil­dren are not cur­rently en­rolled in school in Nige­ria.

So, what is the cor­re­la­tion be­tween our dis­mal per­for­mance in ed­u­ca­tion and poverty? Hunger is one of those harrowing ex­pe­ri­ences of poverty. Those of you here who have been hun­gry be­fore, can tell how dif­fi­cult it is to study while ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the pangs of hunger. Every­one here is also likely to know how dif­fi­cult it is to study when you are sick.

The HCI es­sen­tially mea­sures in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion and health­care to de­ter­mine the qual­ity of hu­man cap­i­tal and its pro­duc­tiv­ity. Nige­ria ranked 152nd out of 157 coun­tries on the HCI study. On a scale of 0 to 1, the coun­try scored 0.34.

It is per­ti­nent to note that Nige­ria per­formed worse than the av­er­age score of 0.40 for Sub-Sa­ha­ran African coun­tries, and worse than coun­tries on the same in­come group.

The three best-ranked coun­tries are Sin­ga­pore, with 0.88 score; South Korea,

with 0.84; and Hong Kong (a ter­ri­tory of China), 0.82. The global av­er­age is 0.57.

The Hu­man De­vel­op­ment In­dex (HDI) of the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP) pro­vides a strong cor­re­la­tion of ed­u­ca­tion, poverty and hu­man de­vel­op­ment. Its 2017 data shows coun­tries with the high­est “Mean Years of School­ing” as hav­ing the least “Poverty Rate” and high­est rank­ing on the HDI. In­evitably, these in­clude Sin­ga­pore and the other top-ranked coun­tries on the HCI.

Con­sis­tent with this, Nige­ria got num­bers that are less than half for the be­stranked coun­tries for “Mean Years of School­ing” and our coun­try is at the bot­tom end of the rank­ing for poverty and hu­man de­vel­op­ment.

For years, Nige­ria has failed to in­vest ad­e­quately in ed­u­ca­tion. Since 2016, the coun­try, un­der the Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion, has been bud­get­ing far more for roads, bridges and rails than it is in­vest­ing in ed­u­ca­tion. To its self­ap­plause, yearly ap­pro­pri­a­tion for cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture by the ad­min­is­tra­tion has been around 30%. But only 6% was al­lo­cated to ed­u­ca­tion in the 2018 bud­get.

More than any­thing else, what we have to show for this id­iocy is the ad­di­tion of N10 tril­lion to the pub­lic debt and more en­demic poverty among Nige­ri­ans. Nige­ria is now the “poverty cap­i­tal” of the world. Ac­cord­ing to the World Poverty Clock, Nige­ria is now the coun­try with the high­est num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in ex­treme poverty in the world. 87 mil­lion Nige­ri­ans are liv­ing on $1.90 or less per day.

The cur­rent min­i­mum wage of N18,000 is a poverty wage. It amounts to liv­ing on $1.67 per day. This is why I am strongly in sup­port of a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the min­i­mum wage. How­ever, a new na­tional min­i­mum wage must ben­e­fit from the in­sights of high-level ed­u­ca­tion in eco­nomics, such as I have, and high-level ex­pe­ri­ence in eco­nomic man­age­ment, again as I have as a for­mer Deputy Gov­er­nor of the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria.

It is time for Nige­ria to get se­ri­ous with in­vest­ing in ed­u­ca­tion and fight­ing poverty. At cur­rent trend, the World Bank pre­dicts that by 2030 -- the year that the world aims to end poverty -- 90% of the world’s poor will be liv­ing mainly in Nige­ria and sub Sa­ha­ran Africa. A poverty time bomb is now tick­ing in the coun­try, and we must defuse it fast.

I have of­fered my­self for the job of ag­gres­sively push­ing back against poverty and un­em­ploy­ment in Nige­ria. To be suc­cess­ful against the erad­i­ca­tion of ex­treme poverty, I plan to change what we learn in school, and how we learn, as a medium- to long-term pol­icy im­per­a­tive. This will be com­bined with short-term mea­sures that will boost job cre­ation.

Let me now high­light some of the poli­cies I plan to pur­sue, if I am elected Pres­i­dent in 2019. I am run­ning for Pres­i­dent as the can­di­date of the Young Pro­gres­sives Party (YPP).

1. We will have cur­ricu­lum re­form. For nurs­ery, pri­mary, sec­ondary and ter­tiary lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion, we will change the cur­ricu­lum to em­pha­sise sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship. We must pro­duce the sci­en­tists, re­searchers, and in­ven­tors, as well as the smart busi­ness peo­ple and man­agers that will in­te­grate the Nige­rian econ­omy into the global sup­ply chains. This will en­tail hir­ing more teach­ers, train­ing them and pro­fes­sion­al­is­ing teach­ing again. We will re­store the glory days of teach­ers in the coun­try.

2. We will mod­ernise the econ­omy and end ex­por­ta­tion of raw min­eral re­sources in the coun­try. This means we have to re­fine our crude oil lo­cally. In the same vein, in­vest­ment in pro­cess­ing solid min­er­als found around the coun­try, abun­dantly in the North, will be­come one of the con­di­tions for ob­tain­ing min­ing li­censes. This will help cre­ate mil­lions of jobs and fos­ter tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try.

3. We will have con­sti­tu­tional re­struc­tur­ing of the coun­try within one year from the inauguration of my ad­min­is­tra­tion in May 29th, 2019. Nige­ria will re­turn to a proper fed­er­a­tion of the cur­rent six geopo­lit­i­cal re­gions, and we will re­store fis­cal fed­er­al­ism and phase-in re­source con­trol. This has the ad­van­tage of economies of scale for each of the re­gions. The en­su­ing healthy ri­valry among the six geopo­lit­i­cal re­gions will en­hance eco­nomic pro­duc­tiv­ity.

4. We will pro­vide a wider def­i­ni­tion for Nige­ria’s na­tional se­cu­rity and se­cure lives and prop­erty of Nige­ri­ans. In this con­text, the cur­rent states of our

Chil­dren in Nige­ria can ex­pect to com­plete 8.2 years of pre-pri­mary, pri­mary and sec­ondary school by age 18. How­ever, when years of school­ing are ad­justed for qual­ity of learn­ing, this is only equiv­a­lent to 4.2 years: a learn­ing gap of 4 years.

ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem and high level of poverty will be de­clared as na­tional emer­gen­cies. Ac­cord­ingly, we will im­me­di­ately raise the bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion for ed­u­ca­tion to min­i­mum 20% and pro­gres­sively in­crease it fur­ther in the sub­se­quent years. We will also cre­ate mil­lions of di­rect and in­di­rect jobs in the se­cu­rity sec­tor. This in­cludes re­cruit­ment of ad­di­tional 1.5 mil­lion po­lice of­fi­cers, in­vest­ment in their train­ing and equip­ment, and also in­vest­ments in bor­der con­trol, which we be­lieve will see the coun­try de­velop ex­per­tise in this area. 5. We will re­store en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity to the oil pro­duc­ing states. In this re­gard, we don’t even have to is­sue new prom­ises. What we will bring is hon­esty and po­lit­i­cal-will to do the right things. So, we will clean up Ogoni-land and other oil-pro­duc­ing com­mu­ni­ties, where agri­cul­ture, in­clud­ing the aqua­cul­ture, has been de­stroyed by oil spillages. We will pro­mote in­vest­ments in gas pro­duc­tion as a strat­egy to end gas­flar­ing. We will di­ver­sify even the econ­omy of the oil-pro­duc­ing states, with more jobs cre­ated in the down­stream sec­tor of the oil and gas in­dus­try as well as in agri­cul­ture, trade and other in­dus­tries.

6. Let me de­lib­er­ately end what is a much longer list of in­no­va­tive poli­cies with this. We plan to in­sti­tute a N1 tril­lion ven­ture cap­i­tal (VC) fund. This fund will in­vest in in­no­va­tion. It will in­vest in the new and ex­ist­ing busi­ness ideas and prod­ucts by young Nige­ri­ans as SMEs. The fund will also be specif­i­cally man­dated to in­vest in the busi­nesses founded or led by women. To a large ex­tent, poverty in Nige­ria is gen­dered. We will seek to end that.

The in­jec­tion of VC fund­ing into the Nige­rian econ­omy is cen­tral to hav­ing a func­tion­ing en­tre­pre­neur­ial cap­i­tal­ist econ­omy, which I be­lieve is very suited to the in­dus­try of the Nige­rian peo­ple. Along­side this frame­work to in­ject mas­sive cap­i­tal into the econ­omy that will help com­mer­cialise in­no­va­tions, we will also strengthen prop­erty rights.

Like I said, I de­lib­er­ately ended the abridged list of the in­no­va­tive poli­cies we have in store to trans­form the Nige­rian econ­omy with the ven­ture cap­i­tal fund. This is the rea­son I did that.

Since Fed­eral Univer­sity of Petroleum Re­sources, Ef­fu­run, is rel­a­tively new, I de­cided to get a bit more ac­quainted with the school ahead of this visit. I was pleas­antly sur­prised at some of the things I saw when I vis­ited the school’s web­site.

I saw that FUPRE is al­ready in­no­vat­ing. I saw the Delta Crux 001, the pro­to­type race car that some of you built in 2015 ahead of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the SHELL Eco-Marathon Race Com­pe­ti­tion in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa, and which won the best award.

I read about your in­no­va­tion of the de­sign and fab­ri­ca­tion of a mod­u­lar re­fin­ery. And I was im­pressed by the in­no­va­tion of the tech­nol­ogy for re­cy­cling of waste mo­tor oil to diesel-like fuel.

But of­ten times, these in­no­va­tive ideas and prod­ucts don’t make it be­yond this stage. The rea­son is be­cause we don’t fund re­search prod­ucts to com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing. And the rea­son we don’t do that is the ab­sence of ven­ture cap­i­tal funds, which in the ad­vance economies, pro­vide eq­uity fi­nanc­ing for early-stage ven­tures and even the re­search phase of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. That is the oxy­gen for the reg­u­lar in­tro­duc­tion of new prod­ucts in the mar­ket, job cre­ation and eco­nomic moderni­sa­tion.

There­fore, my plan for eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion in Nige­ria will link ed­u­ca­tion to pro­duc­tiv­ity and the mar­ket. I plan to lead Nige­ria into the 21st Cen­tury.

It is time for Some­thing New, Some­thing Dif­fer­ent and Some­thing Bold.

It is time to turn the tide against poverty and un­em­ploy­ment.

And it is time to choose a lead­er­ship that has a well-ed­u­cated plan to end the pro­gres­sive reign of ig­no­rance and poverty in Nige­ria.

Thank you.

To be suc­cess­ful against the erad­i­ca­tion of ex­treme poverty, I plan to change what we learn in school, and how we learn, as a medium- to long-term pol­icy im­per­a­tive. This will be com­bined with short­term mea­sures that will boost job cre­ation.

Kings­ley Moghalu, Pres­i­den­tial Can­di­date of the Young Pro­gres­sives Party (YPP) in the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion

Stu­dents of Fed­eral Univer­sity of Petroleum Re­sources, Ef­fu­run, Delta State, tak­ing a selfie with Kings­ley Moghalu af­ter his key­note lec­ture

Kings­ley Moghalu, Pres­i­den­tial Can­di­date of the Young Pro­gres­sives Party (YPP) in the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion

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