THE Federal Government has said that reliable and valid data is key to the delivery of qualitative and functional education in the country.
Minister of State for Education, Prof Anthony Anwukah, who said this at the opening ceremony of the National Conference on Education Management Information System (EMIS) held in Owerri, Imo State from March 28th-29th, 2017, said the absence of reliable data has hampered quality education delivery in Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja by an Assistant Director, Mr Timothy Akpoili, in the Federal Ministry of Education.
He described the theme of the conference, “Making Every Child Count,” as both apt and succinct, giving the importance of data for effective planning purpose, saying data could add value to both policy formulation and execution.
The Minister said that the education sector within the last two decades had faced numerous challenges, ranging from large number of out-of-school children to weak governance, but stressed that reliable data collection was key activity towards closing the gaps created by these challenges.
He noted that these challenges in the education sector that often result in the development of human capital that are neither self-reliant nor relevant to market needs underscored the fundamental reason for organizing the maiden conference on EMIS.
“We are gathered here specifically for this fist national conference on EMIS that sets the stage for working out modalities, strategies and procedures for making every child count in our Education sector as well as strengthening data collection.”
The Minister noted that Nigeria is facing severe data paucity at national and international platforms. He therefore urged all stakeholders and partners to strive to reverse the trend by synergizing in the development of an efficient and robust EMIS capable of providing credible data to support decision-makers and planners implement national policies.
The Minister disclosed that the 2015/2016 Annual School Census, ASC, which was flagged off in February 2016 has been concluded nationwide. He also said that 2016/2017 ASC edition will be flag off soon.
Speaking while declaring open the conference, the Imo State Governor, His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, thanked the Federal Ministry of Education for choosing Owerri for the event; saying that education tops priority of his administration’s programmes.
He called on the participants to come up with effective way of reliable data collection, as well as deployment of ICT at all levels of the education system.
The Director, Policy, Planning, Research and Development, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs Magdalene Anene-Maidoh, said that the inability of most states to sustain the Annual School Census exercise has been the cause of set back to EMIS in Nigeria, adding that has hindered the country to holistically report education data to UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) for global comparison and efficient education planning.
The Director, represented by the Deputy Director, EMIS, Mr Matthew Nganjiozor, said: “As a matter of fact, only states supported by International Development Partners, IDPs, have been up to data in their data generation activities.”
She said that in order to bridge the data gap that the Ministry requested the assistance of the World Bank last year for non IDPs-supported states with the conduct of the 2015/2016 ASC.
She observed that states must show more commitment for Nigeria to overcome challenges and issues that have hindered the production of reliable education data.
National Education Management Information System, EMIS is a database to support the effective management of the education system at the federal, state and local government levels to improve the performance of the education system.