By Alex Enumah
The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to reposition the educational sector in line with global realities.
Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, stated this yesterday in Abuja at an International Symposium on Capacity Building for Health Management of Older Persons.
Rufa’I, while stating that in Nigeria, there exists a lacuna in knowledge generation and application in the field of ageing (Gerontology and Geriatrics), disclosed that the National University Commission (NUC) vested with the mandate of ensuring the orderly development and productiveness of the Nigerian niversity system, having realised that the health needs of older persons in Nigeria cannot be attended to except through research and development, as she’s galvanising the university community and other stakeholders to come together and offer world class solutions to the plight of older persons in the society.
“I like to commend the management of the NUC and the Dave Omokaro Foundation for their passion and consistent commitment to the promotion and advocacy for ageing studies in Nigeria and will want to cease the opportunity to call on the academic community and other stakeholders to rise up to the challenges of providing the needed developmental drive in this direction for the benefits of Nigerians in the face of global competition.
“On our part as Government, we will continue to reposition the educational sector in line with realities and pledge our continuous support to capacity building for gerontology and geriatrics,” she said.
The minister emphasised that if the country must actualise the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs) which include the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger especially among the vulnerable in the society which include the older persons, there is need for relevant agencies to create synergy and collaborate in the area of capacity building.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, National University Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, stated that the noticeable change in the National Demo-graphics showing a steady rise in the percentage and absolute number of those aged 60 years and above with the attendant challenges of socio-economic and cultural changes; failing traditional system and a rise in demand for experts in the field of ageing, indicates the need for the development of relevant health manpower.
He disclosed that the NUC by its mandate is responsive to the current demographic trend and is focused to develop formal programmes of studies in Gerontology and Geriatrics in well coordinated efforts to develop workforce and build national capacity to meet these challenges.
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