The Difference Between Children Of The Rich And The Poor Is Opportunity — Soludo

*Canvases For Accessible And Qualitative  Education For Nigerian Youths

By Christian Aburime

Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo has again canvassed that the Nigerian youths should be offered accessible and qualitative education as the panacea to break out of the cycles of poverty.

Prof Soludo made this call while giving his opening remarks on ‘Youth Entrepreneurship and Empowerment,’ at a masterclass session organized by (ACCESS MORE WITH STANEL), in Awka, Anambra state.

Prof Soludo said he was born with a wooden spoon but his generation was lucky to have had access to qualitative education in the earlier years from the public schools before decadence and neglect crept into the educational system.

“But let me also make an admission of at least one good thing that Nigeria did right with its initial oil wealth. Nigeria offered accessible and qualitative education to my generation as the ladder of opportunity to break out of the cycles of poverty,” he said.

Prof Soludo further said the system then enabled the children of the rich and the poor to attend the same schools and taught by the same teachers, so that if the children of the poor were brilliant they had a chance to climb the social ladder.

“My story won’t be complete without the roles of accessible and qualitative education. The difference between the children of the rich and the poor is opportunity”, Soludo insisted.

He regretted that the situation is no longer so in Nigeria, stressing that today the children of the poor can’t afford the qualitative education available to the children of the rich in elites schools, thereby creating two Nigeria – a tiny part that is less than 20% who are in virtuous circle and the majority who are trapped in poverty as a dynasty.

The former CBN Governor therefore harped on the need to pay serious attention to the over 80% that are increasingly being left behind.

“As someone who climbed out of poverty, I spend a lot of time worrying about the millions who are trapped in it, and what we must do as individuals, communities, corporate organizations, foundations and government to energize them to live out their God given potentials”, Soludo stated.

Prof Soludo told his audience that knowledge and skills will be the critical drivers in the 4th industrial and digital revolution of the global system, adding that Nigeria must urgently address the youth challenge and turn it into an opportunity by urgently empowering them with the requisite knowledge/skills, access to finance and jobs.

He revealed that his personal experiment with “Adopt a School project” has confirmed that when given the opportunity of accessible and qualitative education, the poor children break out and take their destinies in their hands, and in many cases do better than some of the privileged children.

Concluding, Prof Soludo said Nigeria needs a new education system responsive to the demands of the 4th industrial revolution which leverages on rapid changes in technology.

He also emphasized that in the digital age, creative destruction is the norm while production structures will rapidly go into obsolescence and those who fail to upgrade or innovate will be left behind.

The eminent Professor also made a case for rapid upscaling of school infrastructure, technology and curricula including the elevation of the status and pride of the teaching profession.

Soludo enjoined the youths to shun violence and rather seek to be problem-solvers for humanity, by adopting a life that is value-creating with the ultimate aim to make the world better.

Soludo commended and thanked Dr Stanley Uzochukwu (Stanel) for providing the platform to engage the youths and the distinguished members of Panelist for devoting their God given talents and resources as change agents!

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