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Less than 2% of Nigeria’s GDP Committed to Education in 10 Years, Says TRCN

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Despite President Muhammadu Buhari, fulfilling his pledge to increase the allocation to the education sector this year by 50 per cent, the country has committed less than two per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the sector in the last 10 years, the Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye has revealed.

 

 

Ajiboye said this at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (LCCI’s) education group seminar in Lagos yesterday.

 

According to available data, Nigeria had low budgetary allocation to education at 6.5 per cent in 2016/2017 compared to Egypt – 11.10 per cent, Ghana – 13.50 per cent, South Africa – 15 per cent, Lesotho – 19.20 per cent and Kenya – 23.10 per cent.

 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommends that developing countries should dedicate 15 to 20 per cent of their annual budget to public education.

 

 

Ajiboye also said the N500 million per annum Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC) funding made available to state governments was still lying fallow, adding that state governments are only interested in collection without providing their own counterpart funding.

 

In his words: “The governors are more interested in how they can collect the money without their own counterpart funding. Yet these states are contending with serious issues of decay in their basic schools while monies meant for them lay fallow.”

 

Ajiboye stated that even though Nigeria’s allocation to the sector has not been meeting up with the UNESCO standards, its education budget still surpasses some African countries.

 

He pointed out that the commonly sold narrative that the Nigerian education was in mess was because of low government budgetary allocation and lack of proper monitoring of how the available funding was being managed.

 

He said the challenge with Nigeria’s education goes beyond funding, but more of management and lack of interest in the sector by the political elite.

 

According to him, education has an immense impact on human society, saying the provision of quality education was the hallmark of prosperous nations.

 

Earlier, the President, LCCI, Mr. Michael Olawale-Cole, called on the federal government to improve funding to the nation’s educational sector.

 

The Chamber stated that low government funding had severely affected many areas in the educational sector.

 

He, however, commended the President Muhammadu Buhari, for fulfilling his pledge to increase the allocation to the education sector this year by 50 per cent.

 

“Indeed, the increase from N742.5 billion in 2021 to N1.29 trillion this year is more than 50 per cent. However, this is less than 10 per cent of the 2022 total budget and far from the 15-20 per cent benchmark recommended by UNESCO,” he stated.

 

He added that the private sector too deserves to be commended for its support to the nation’s education sector, stressing that some tech giants and telecommunications companies recently announced multi-billion-dollar partnerships with UNICEF to boost digital learning in Nigeria and some other African countries under the UNICEF “Reimagine Education” initiative launched in 2020.

 

According to him, online learning has become a significant aspect of Nigeria’s educational system today, pointing out that the regular rift between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the frequency of strikes by the union calls for more funding and more attention to the terms and conditions of the teaching profession in Nigeria.

 

On her part, the Chairperson Education Group, LCCI, Mrs. Modupe Onabanjo, said to solve the problem of low funding for Nigeria’s education sector, the federal government must carry out close monitoring and maintenance of schools through independent electorate committees, improve planning mechanisms and resource allocations.

Culled from THISDAY

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