•While UN recommended benchmark is 26%, 2019 allocation is worst in 9 years with 5.23%
By Clifford Ndujihe
IF President Muhammadu Buhari’s N8.83 trillion budget is passed by the National Assembly without changes, the education sector would be getting its worst allocation in terms of percentages in nine years, according to Sunday Vanguard’s checks.
Buhari earmarked N462.24 billion for education in the budget.
This represents a miserly 5.23 per cent of the budget.
The last time a lesser percentage of the budget was allocated to education was in 2010 when immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan voted N249.09 (4.83 per cent) of the N5.160trillion budget to the learning sector (see table).
This year’s education budget brings the total sum of federal allocation to education in the last 10 years to N4.564 trillion or 7.423 per cent of the cumulative N61.481 trillion.
This falls short of the minimum benchmark of 26 per cent of the national budget recommended by the United Nations (UN) to be devoted to education.
Poor funding has been identified as the major reason for the rot and challenges in the education sector, especially tertiary education, which has led to frequent strikes by teaching and non-teaching staff since the early 1990s.
Indeed, the Federal Government’s allocation to the education in the last 10 years has been miserly. In 2010, the Federal Government allocated N249.09 billion (4.83 per cent) of its N5.160 trillion budget to education. There was a marginal improvement in 2011 when education got N306.3 billion (6.16 per cent) of the N4.972 trillion budget. The marginal improvements continued in 2012 (8.20 per cent), 2013 (8.55 per cent), and 2014 (9.94 per cent) until 2015 (7.74 per cent) when a significant drop in allocation to education was recorded.
In 2016, Buhari’s first full year in office, the sector had its second-worst allocation in 10 years when, of the N6.061 trillion budget, only N369.6billion (6.10 per cent) was appropriated for education.
However, there was a slight rise in 2017 (7.38 per cent). It dropped a little in 2018 to 6.64 per cent as education got N605.8 billion out of the N9.12trillion expenditure.
The fortunes of the sector may sink deeper in 2019 if the N8.83 trillion budget is approved as proposed.
Since November 3, 2018, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, have been on strike over the rot in the sector.
An end to the industrial action is not in sight as government and university teachers are yet to reach agreement.
FG Allocation to Education
Year Budget (Ntrn) Educ alloc (Nbn) Percentage
2010 5.160 249.09 7.25
2011 4.972 306.3 6.16
2012 4.877 400.15 8.20
2013 4.987 426.53 8.55
2014 4.962 493 9.94
2015 5.068 392.2 7.74
2016 6.061 369.6 6.10
2017 7.444 550 7.38
2018 9.12 605.8 7.03
2019 8.83 462.24 5.23
Total 61.481 4.564 trn 7.423
Between 1992 and 2019, university lecturers went on strike 21 times, with the attendant adverse effects on education at the tertiary level in the country.
The industrial actions were embarked on following the failure of government to implement agreements reached with the academic union. Between 1992 and 1999, there were seven strikes by the lecturers, including industrial strikes, trade dispute, internal strikes, and nationwide strikes, and between 2010 and this year, there were 14 strikes.
Duration of ASUU strikes
1999 – Five months
2001 – Three months
2002 – Two weeks
2003/2004 – Six months
2005 – Three days
2006 – Seven days
2007 – Three Months
2008 – Seven days
2009 – Four months
2010 – Five months, seven days
2011/2012 – Three months
2013 – Six months
2016 – Seven days
2017 – One month, six days
2018/2019 – November 3, 2018 till date