The Federal Government and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are to explore areas of partnership in the education sector as a means of deepening their longstanding relationship. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, stated this recently in Abuja when a team from the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, led by its General Director, Monika Sie Dhian Ho, paid him a working visit.

The Permanent Secretary said that this is a welcome development as Nigeria stands to gain a lot from the partnership. According to the Permanent Secretary, there are many aspects of the education sector that need the “intervention of investors from the advanced world”. He reiterated that the Nigerian Government is opened to all investment interventions in the sector.

Echono, subsequently, urged the Dutch government to consider partnering with its Nigerian counterpart in developing the Agricultural education, Information and Communication Technology and Vocational education subsectors of the education sector.

The Permanent Secretary said that the current focus of the present administration is harnessing the agricultural sector to ensure the development of the country and ascribed the slow pace of the sector’s growth to the use of obsolete technology and methods. Subsequently, he urged the Institute to explore ways of training Nigerians on more advanced agricultural methods like agricultural extension services, irrigation, green houses, amongst others.

He said that the ‘agricultural sector has huge potentials to move the country to the league of developed ones’ and urged the Dutch government to contemplate partnering with the Nigerian government on its development.

Echono also solicited the assistance of the Dutch government in advancing the growth and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the country. According to him, the world is getting digitalized and there is need for the country to move with the trend as Nigerians have a lot to gain from its use.

The Permanent Secretary, who bemoaned the large number of uneducated youths in the country, also urged the Institute to consider supporting the drive of the present administration to encourage the acquisition of vocational education and skills. He stressed that the acquisition of these skills will help curb unemployment in the country as well as encourage self-reliance.

Speaking earlier, General Director of the Institute said that the team was sent by the Dutch government to find areas of collaboration with the Nigerian government to help its developmental efforts. Sie said that the Institute has the deadline of April to compile and submit its report.

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