From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Federal Government has challenged the state and Local Governments to strengthen senior secondary education system leveraging the new reform policies being championed by the National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC).

Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, gave the charge in Abuja, at stakeholders’ validation meeting of the draft national minimum standard documents for senior secondary education in Nigeria.

The Minister explained that the draft document specify standards/benchmarks in various thematic areas in senior secondary education, namely; Teaching and Learning; Quality Assurance; Planning Research and Statistics; Infrastructural Facilities and Equipment; Special and Support Programmes and Stakeholders’ Responsibilities at the Federal and State levels.

The minister added: “One of the key mandates of NSSEC as contained in the NSSEC Act 2023 is to prescribe and enforce minimum standards for Senior Secondary Education in Nigeria. I am happy that NSSEC is focused on the delivery of its mandate by developing the draft national minimum standards awaiting final approval by National Council on Education (NCE).”

He appealed to members of the National Assembly to help address the issue of two per cent tax that should be given to NSSEC to help push for infrastructural development in senior secondary schools.

Executive Secretary, NSSEC, Dr. Iyela Ajayi, in his remarks, confirmed that the Commission has successfully developed a National Policy on Senior Secondary Education accompanied by implementation guidelines.

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He explained: “The policy is designed to provide a comprehensive framework and guidelines for the operation of senior secondary education in the country.

Ajayi said the next stage of the process is for the documents to be deliberated at the next meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee on Education (JCCE), and finally to the National Council on Education (NCE) for consideration and final approval later this year.

“When this is done, it will be mandatory for all the public and private senior secondary schools in Nigeria to implement the national minimum standards, as it will define benchmark for all aspects of senior secondary education in the country.

“This, we will do through a robust monitoring system. With time, benchmark performance would also be used as the basis for the ranking of senior secondary schools in Nigeria,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, Hon. Mukhtar Shagaya, in his remarks, said the development of the two documents herald a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to reposition the senior secondary education sub-sector for quality education delivery.

“These documents would serve as essential guides in promoting and monitoring globally accepted standards, providing a roadmap for the development of senior secondary education in Nigeria,” he said.