The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Tuesday said the present educational backwardness in the North was caused by people of the region.
He spoke in Abuja at the public presentation of the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) Book 1 series for universities and a book in his honour.
He said: “The North is in self-imposed educational backwardness because the interest of the North is Islam, and Islam is the greatest promulgator of knowledge.”
Adamu said while the first two universities in the world were established by Muslim women, “here, people are using Islam to keep women at home. I think it does not make sense.”
Adamu commended the National Universities Commission for its drive in ensuring the springing up of more private universities in Nigeria.
He said the commission’s effort was paying off with the establishment of more such institutions in northern Nigeria in recent times.
He expressed delight that out of the 37 new private universities approved by the Federal Executive Council on Monday, large numbers of them were situated in the North.
“We must continue to ensure graduates from Nigeria universities are equipped with needed skills, knowledge and expertise in order to succeed in the 21st century,” he said.
Adamu, who said the launch of CCMAS in 17 disciplines was one of the greatest steps taken by the NUC to ensure Nigerian universities meet current global demands, called for its full implementation.
He also called for establishment of the Federal Teachers Service Commission, saying that would ensure reforms put in place in the teaching profession yield desired results.
NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said there were 148 private universities in the country.
“The 148 private universities in Nigeria, 87 or 60 percent came during Adamu Adamu as Minister of Education,” Rasheed said.
A former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the CCMAS is a very important contribution to the repositioning of the Nigerian education system.