The minister of state directed officials of the agency not to seek to keep their jobs by favouring the minister.
Minister of state for Education, Nyesom Wike, who currently supervises the ministry after Wednesday’s removal of Ruqqayatu Rufai, appeared to kick off his new role on a strong note Thursday, with a charge to a research council to move against even the minister when necessary.
Mr. Wike directed the board members of National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to assert their authority in the discharge of their duties, and to deny approval for poor quality works, regardless of who their authors are.
He gave the instruction when he received members of the board of the NERDC in Abuja on Thursday.
“You need to assert authority when it concerns the development and approval of curriculum of studies and not just approve any book because it is written by the minister and you want to keep your job,” Mr. Wike said.
“The problem we have in the education sector is that those who are saddled with responsibilities do not assert their authority in the discharge of their duties.
“As long as you are doing the right thing for the development of this country, you must step on toes.”
According to him, many chief executives and members of boards of parastatals often sacrifice the development of education on the altar of favouritism.
He said the approval of books by the council should be based on relevance to the subjects and not based on authors or interests.
The minister further urged members of the board to prioritise projects as no amount of funding could be sufficient to tackle problems of the council.
According to him, NERDC is an important agency in the development of the education sector and it is an agency that must be given support.
“So, select important and key projects and make them priority,’’ Mr. Wike said, while cautioning the board and council’s executive officials against in-fighting.
“While the board should be firm in running of the council, you are not to go and start fighting over employment and contracts, things should be done in a transparent manner.’’
In his address, Chairman of the board, Stephen Dike, expressed regrets that NERDC had not done well in the area of research which was their core mandate.
Mr. Dike said though the council had achieved a lot in the development of curriculum, but lack of funds had continued to hinder the council from achieving its mandate.
He said the Act setting up the council required that every research be deposited with NERDC, adding that it is the board’s desire to reposition the council to develop such research.
Mr. Wike, embroiled in a row with Rivers state governor, Chibuike Amaechi, was asked to oversee the education ministry after the substantive minister, Mrs. Rufai, was sacked alongside eight others by President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday.
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