By Adesina Wahab and Elizabeth Uwandu
The Federal Government has been criticized for the allocation it gave the education sector in next year’s budget, respondents told our correspondents that it fell short of their expectations.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari last week Tuesday presented a budget proposal of N10.3 trillion to the National Assembly out of which N82 billion was allocated to education and N112 billion given to the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC.
UBEC is an intervention agency of the government.
It is like zero allocation
According to a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, UNILAG, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye, it was like the FG prepared a zero budget for the sector. He wondered why Nigeria would continue to fall behind in the treatment of education as a critical sector.
“To me, it is like we are budgeting zero for education. The standard the world over is to allocate at least 26 per cent to the sector. This is the recommendation of UNESCO. By my estimation, what we have now is even not up to 10 per cent of the budget.
“We must be serious. Nations that are more developed than us are not toying with education and here we are behaving as if education does not count. All the monies being recovered here and there could be channeled to the sector. If we have poorly trained medical doctors, and provide them with the best of facilities they are not able to use, what gain do we have? Not to even go at least 15 per cent is not good at all.”
It will affect teaching
Another university lecturer, Head, Department of Educational Foundation, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Prof. Taiwo Edun, said poor funding is a great disservice to the education sector.
“The percentage budgetary allocation to education in Nigeria is three times lower than what is recommended for developing nations by UNESCO. In actual fact, among the nine nations housing over half of the world’s population and 70 percent of the world’s illiterate adults allocate less than 20 per cent of their annual budget to education.
“When there is not enough funding for the sector, how are we going to attract young people to teach? We are saying young teachers are the future of the profession, but it may be difficult to get the young ones to come in,” he said.
In the same vein, the Lagos State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Otunba Adedoyin Adesina, said with increasing enrolment in schools across the country, funding the sector ought to be improved on.
“We must not fall below the minimum level and anything short of that is not good for the sector. If the government is finding funding the sector difficult, it could launch endowment fund. At least such funds have been launched to help sustain a sector like security. We must not toy with our future,” he said.