Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Tuesday, called on governments at the federal and state levels to commit at least 15 per cent of their annual budgets to education.
He said under-funding is the reason the education sector has under-performed in the country over the last five decades.
Mr Adamu said this at a two-day stakeholders’ Workshop on Sustainable Funding for Education at the Old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.
“If conscious attempts must be made to redeem the sector, states and federal government must begin to commit at least 15 per cent of their annual budgetary resources to education,” Mr Adamu said.
According to him, despite the articulation of several strategic roadmaps by past and present administrations to salvage the sector, issues of high number of out-of-school children, youth and adult literacy, poor teacher education, including data management and weak curriculum, still dot the sector, resulting in negative outputs.
The minister identified high demand for tertiary education skewed in favour of universities, weak governance and regulatory frameworks, disruption of academic calendar due to frequent strikes by academic-based unions, among others as factors also militating against the nation’s underdevelopment.
“More often than not, when the federal and state governments prepare their annual budgetary appropriations, they commit more funds to the payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances, leaving nothing to research and other learning infrastructures,” he said.
He said quality education and quality output have a direct relationship with the quality of living and societal advancement.
“For a start, federal and state governments should allocate a minimum of 15 per cent of their annual budgets to education. Governments at both tiers should further determine the minimum level of funding for each institution and utilise acceptable budgeting parameters which must be built on national accreditation and global benchmarks,” the minister said.
He said the education sector in Nigeria is grossly underfunded and this has negatively affected the quality of education in Nigeria.
“Since the major sources of funding education are federal and state governments, they ought, therefore, to have provided the minimum required funding for capital and recurrent expenditure in the sector but over the last to years, the sector has on average received less than eight per cent of the federal budget.”
Speaking in the same vein, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the government understands it must give priority to the funding of education and how to deliver quality education to citizens.
Mr Osinbajo who was represented at the event by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said adequate funding and strategic planning are knitted and the two must be pursued together.
“We have consistently supported the education sector by raising its budget every year since we came on board. For instance, in the first budget that we did, we took up the capital allocation for education to N35.99 billion in 2016. Then in 2017, we took it up to N56.81 billion and this year 2018, the current capital budget for education is N102.9 billion,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Harnas Chandy, who gave a goodwill message on behalf of the World Bank, commended Nigeria for taking steps that will help determine Nigeria’s education plans and spending.
He said countries have to move fast to improve the quality of education by making the right investments in education.
The World Bank rep said Nigeria is a global key player that has to play its critical role at all times.
“The world needs to improve. There are some key players in the world and Nigeria is a key player in the world; Nigeria is a key global player and for the world to do well, Nigeria has to do well,” he stressed.
Chandy, however, lamented that fifty per cent of children in schools across the globe were not getting the needed education.
Participants at the two-day workshop, who comprise stakeholders in the education sector were drawn from the 36 states of Nigeria.
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