Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu has admitted he had no knowledge of the education sector when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him to man the Federal Ministry of Education.
The minister said what he had was a ‘superficial’ knowledge of the sector.
Adamu, the longest-serving education minister, spoke yesterday during a valedictory service in his honour. He was appointed in 2015 and served for 91 months.
The minister said to make up for his lack of knowledge, he consulted professors of education who assisted him in putting a roadmap together for the sector. In 2016, Adamu unveiled the Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan document for the country’s education sector.
He said: “I didn’t know anything about the education sector when I was appointed minister except superficially. But when Buhari decided to make me minister of education, I called some people to assist me to work on a policy document on education because I was a novice in the sector.
“I shared my idea with them and they assisted me greatly, and I remain grateful to them for these years”, he said.
The roadmap was expected to serve as a blueprint to cure most of the ailments affecting the sector and provided immediate short and long-term solutions. It had 10 pillars.
The minister commended the contributions of the late Prof. Gidado Tahir and Dr. Abdulraman Umar to the document. He also hailed the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan, who was the Permanent Secretary then, for adopting the document.
“After that meeting, professors of education were called and I told them what I wanted to achieve and let them put it in writing for me and they did. And then we had a document”, he added.
Reflecting on his experience, Adamu thanked Buhari for trusting him with the position “even when I was apparently not ready and unprepared for such a task”.
“I was busy making recommendations and suggestions to the president on who to appoint into his cabinet in 2015. All of a sudden, he announced my name to my surprise and that was it. We worked together till 2019.
“In 2019, I approached the president and suggested that he reshuffle his cabinet because, in the eyes of many, it was unusual in our society for a president to work with the same ministers for four years. Buhari had graciously allowed his ministers to stay in office for four years. Ordinarily, ministers stay in office for two years before they are reshuffled.
“But I know him very well and I knew it will be difficult for him to do that. But I decided to make it easy for him by promising to bring people that would do the job better for me and others who served as ministers in the first tenure”.
During Adamu’s tenure, the education sector witnessed lots of ups and downs. Though his tenure witnessed the highest number of industrial strikes from tertiary institutions-based unions, it also witnessed the implementation of new policies, and an increase in the number of new institutions, among others.