The Federal Government has said the spending by states and intervention at the federal level are not reflected in the national budget for education, adding that the quantum spending on education in Nigeria is far above the UNESCO’s 26 per cent recommendatiin in budgetary spending.
This was revealed when the United Nations tasked federal government to ensure that children in educational institutions are protected and schools affordable for all children in the country.
Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Andrew David Adejo; and Education Advisor, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mamadou Lamine Sow, spoke Thursday at “Transforming Education Summit: Second National Consultation”, organised by National Universities Commission (NUC) in collaboration with UNICEF and UNESCO in Abuja.
Opiah acknowledged that the challenges facing the education sector in the country were enormous, and required all hands to be on deck in order to solve them.
He commended the contributions of World Bank and United Nations agencies including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as well as UNESCO among others, to develop Nigeria’s education sector, adding that the summit was the right step in the right direction.
The Permanent Secretary in his presentation entitled, “Transforming Education in Nigeria: TES and beyond”, stated that the neglect of the education sector over time led to the unimaginable crisis being witnessed currently.
He disclosed that the quantum spending on the education sector in Nigeria, was far above the recommended 26 per cent by UNESCO for countries to allocate between 15 to 26 per cent of their national budget to education.
Adejo argued that education is on the concurrent list, responsible for basic education largely in the hands of state governments, while the federal government provides intervention through Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), among others.
He noted that public financing was no longer sustainable and urged the private sector to continue to invest in education.
On teaching profession, Adejo disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had already approved robust incentives for teachers and students studying Education in universities and colleges of education in the country.
Adejo reassured that the federal government is doing all it could to ensure that scholarship awards to students studying Education courses in tertiary institutions will become effective in 2023.
He said there was the need to ensure full recovery from COVID-19 education disruptions, address educational exclusion, safety and health, renew curricular and pedagogies while also steering the digital transformation for just and equitable learning.
Senior Education Advisor, UNESCO Abuja Regional Office, Mamadou Lamine Sow, on his part, urged the federal government to ensure that children in Nigeria are safe on their way to and from school and while they are at school.
Sow said: “Our collective commitment and action are urgently needed to wipe out the scourge of school attacks in
“We must make education affordable for all learners – the poor, vulnerable, excluded, and marginalized children, through the removal of both direct, indirect and opportunity costs of education.
“Nigeria must mobilise and significantly increase the part of domestic resources allocated to education and ensure that funds are used efficiently and effectively to support the disadvantaged children, to develop and maintain school infrastructures, and to support the quality of teaching and learning for better learning outcomes.”
Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Mr Chris Maiyaki, tasked stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity to renew commitment to the Education 2030 agenda by mobilising cross-sectoral stakeholders in support of education sector.