Bill Gates, at a recent meeting of the National Economic Council last week, revived an old debate about funding and investments in the social sector, notably, Nigeria’s investments in education and health care. The issue he raised was about balancing investments in physical infrastructure and human development so as to achieve optimum societal development.
Gates stated that “the Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies investing in the people as one of three strategic objectives. But the execution priorities don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritizing physical capital over human capital. People without roads, ports and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy.”
My take on this
Our nation has been corrected yet again on the need to strike the balance between investment in human capital development and physical infrastructure. What seems to get the attention of most observers on this burning issue is the fact that Nigerians at different times have drawn the attention of Government to the lopsidedness on this issue, but they didn’t listen. Now that one of the richest men in the world and a friend of Nigeria, Bill Gates has thrown his support on the side of the debate that favors a balanced investment in our physical infrastructure and human development so as to achieve optimum societal development.
It gives me great concern that our elites will rather send their children to quality schools abroad and seek medical attention abroad than patronize our low quality systems put in place by them. The obvious is that our public schools curriculum have little or no functional links with industry, agriculture, technology, etc.
I urge our political stakeholders to ensure that funding is geared towards policy positions that will make education functional, acceptable and adaptable to Nigeria’s developmental challenges.