The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has said within the last six years of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari over N6 trillion has been spent on Nigeria’s education sector.
This is in addition to N2.5 trillion intervention from TETFund (two per cent profit tax of companies operating in Nigeria) and N554 billion from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), he said.
The minister, who spoke at a briefing at the State House on Thursday, also touched on other issues affecting the education sector, including the ongoing strikes by workers in the nation’s higher education sector.
In the past 10 years, Mr Adamu said TETFund invested N2.5 trillion into higher education in Nigeria, with a particular focus on human capital development.
He said the sum has exceeded the N1.2 trillion that the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) demands to be spent on the sector, as contained in the 2009 agreement.
The minister said the Muhammadu Buhari-led government has spent N6,003,947,848,237 in capital and recurrent expenditure in the education sector in the last seven years, adding that UBEC alone spent N553,134,967,498 on capital investment in the basic education subsector.
“The Tertiary Education Trust Fund has invested an estimated N2.5 Trillion in Tertiary education in the last ten years, thereby exceeding the total of N1.2 Trillion contained in the 2009 agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and we are still counting,” he said.
But ASUU has insisted that the funding it is requesting is independent of the fund in the TETFund account.
The union has in the past accused the government of limiting its funding for the sector to the two per cent profit tax of all Nigerian companies domiciled in the TETFund account.
For instance, ASUU accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of using TETFund’s money to invest N200 billion into the system in 2014.
Government’s efforts to end strikes
Mr Adamu said the government is committed to ending the prolonged strike of workers in the education sector by “doing everything humanly possible, saying; “It is our hope that the outcome of the renegotiations will bring lasting industrial peace to our campuses. In the meantime, I am sure that the current efforts would yield the desired results and return our children to school.”
Mr Adamu said “avoidable” strikes by unions in the tertiary institutions have crippled the university system, insisting that the thinking that only strikes can achieve results is a wrong perception.
He said issues with other unions in tertiary institutions having disputes with the government have been resolved a week after 19 July when he had pledged to resolve the crisis. He, however, insisted that ASUU is the only union yet to reach an agreement with the government.
“I have six unions I am dealing with- ASUP, COEASU, NASU, SSANU, NAAT, and ASUU. I want to tell you in principle that all of them accepted it. The only exception is ASUU which gave me two other conditions, which I told them that this will not be acceptable to the government,” he said.
Despite funding crisis, minister boasts of more tertiary institutions
Despite the funding crisis being experienced in existing tertiary institutions, the minister on Thursday boasted that the administration of Mr Buhari has created 24 additional tertiary institutions between 2018 and 2022.
The Minister of Education noted that all states of the federation now have a federal university and a polytechnic.
This year, the government approved the establishment of three federal polytechnics, each in Kabo, Kano State; Umunnoechi, Abia State, and Orogun, Delta State.
Mr Adamu said: “It is the policy of the Federal Government that every state of the federation should have at least one federal university, polytechnic, and a college of education. For 2022, we have established three new polytechnics bringing the total number to nine from 2020.
“This administration has ensured that all the states of the federation now have a federal university and a polytechnic, with nine universities, nine polytechnics and six colleges of education established between 2018 to date.”
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.