Education: Confab seeks 26% annual budget

  —Pegs UTME result validity at 2 years

By Bode Olagoke

The ongoing national conference committee on social sector has recommended that both federal and state governments should raise their budgetary allocation to education to 26 per cent in line with the recommendation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The committee also recommended that results obtained by candidates who sit for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) should be valid for two years.
The committee decried the circumstance where over 1.5 million people jostle annually for about 500,000 available spaces, leaving the chunk of one million who are unable to secure admission because of low carrying capacity of the institutions in the country.
The conference committee headed by a former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, and the immediate past Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, as  her deputy, said “JAMB result should last for two years to enable the candidates have another trial to secure admission.

“Federal and state governments should continue to finance education through adequate annual budgetary provision of at least 26 per cent funding, release of budgeted funds as first line charge and ensuring that funds released are spent with attention to prudence and value for more.”
These recommendations are expected to be debated at the conference plenary this week. It also recommended that the two per cent Consolidated Revenue Fund allocated to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) by the federal government should be increased to four per cent.
Another recommendation is that the two per cent Education Tax Fund remitted to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) should be increased to 4 per cent, noting that this was in recognition of the importance of education to national development and the need to ensure proper funding of the sector.
As part of initiative to encourage more private sector participation in delivery of education in the country, this committee said there was the urgent need to stop the double taxation of private school proprietors by the Ministry of Education and the Board of Internal Revenue.
This, according to the committee, would help reduce the exorbitant fees charged by private institutions while at the same create incentive for more people to invest in the sector.
The report said: “There is basically nothing wrong with the current education policy. Faithful implementation is the major problem. If Nigeria is able to achieve 80 per cent implementation most of the problems of the educational system will be taken care.”

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