Can Buhari’s N369bn Budget For Education Salvage The Sector From Collapse?

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Can Buhari’s N369bn Budget On Education Salvage The Sector From Collapse?
Alaba Abdulrazak

Alaba Abdulrazak

Alaba Abdulrazak is a journalist and writer with years of experience in the field of journalism. Several of his articles have been published on various platforms across the world.
Alaba Abdulrazak

If you say education is expensive, try ignorance. This is one of the many didactic statements, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo is still being remembered for till today. Education, no doubt is a process that involves acquisition of knowledge, skills and habits of a group of people that are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training or research. It frequently takes place under the guidance of others, but may also be autodidactic.

In view of this, any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks feels or acts may be considered educational.

Just as the right to acquire education has been recognised by some governments; others are still handling issues concerning education with levity. The Article 13 of the United Nations 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states the importance of education and why it is a right and not a privilege.

The States Parties recognise the right of everyone to acquire education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. They further agree that education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

The Article 13 states that primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all; while secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational secondary education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education. Also, higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education.

While many nations have adhered strictly to Article 13 of the United Nations 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Nigeria as a sovereign nation has not fully implemented Article 13. That is why today we have a disjointed education system that has relegated it to the abyss of failure among other developing nations even in Africa.

Gone were the days when Nigerian products were the best and cynosure of all eyes educationally in Africa and the rest of the world. Rather than raising the standard of education in the country; successive governments have allowed politics to creep into the country’s education system and the end result is what we all see today.

The Nigeria’s founding fathers’ cherished education and it is on record that they never handled issues regarding education with levity, like it is the case today. The resultant passion of Nigeria’s founding fathers made way for Nigerians to acquire qualitative education by making education free.

The late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo is up till today being remembered for his sterling achievements in the area of education. Education sector in Nigeria is gradually going the way of extinction if urgent ameliorative steps are not taken. Aside the problem of under-funding bedeviling the sector; corruption is yet another major anomaly hindering the progress and development of the sector in Nigeria.
Sadly, it is only in Nigeria that you hear of strike action spanning months. It is only in Nigeria that you hear under-utilization of the funds provided by the government for education sector. It is only in Nigeria that you see treachery of the highest order from the governments and other stakeholders in the sector.

While many American and European Colleges and other institutions have opened for more than one hundred years without going on strike for a single day; higher institutions in the country cannot boast of a year without a strike or any other disruption to academic calendars. It is however not an understatement to say that the least schools in America and many other European countries are still better than the best Nigerian universities today. What you see in Nigeria is that of bogus physical structure that are empty in equipment and productive brains for research and societal relevance.

Even in Africa where we always exude the pride of being ‘Giant’-we are nowhere to be found when it comes to the issue of education. Nigeria has never earmarked the 26% of national budget to education as being stipulated by UNESCO. The highest Nigeria ever earmarked was 9%, while many other countries in Africa have budgeted more for education than it used to be in the past.

For instance, countries in Africa that have budgeted more for education are: Ghana-31.0%, Cote d’ Ivoire- 30%,Uganda-27%, Morocco-26.4%, South Africa-25.8%,Swaziland-24.6%, Kenya-23.0%, Botswana-19%, Tunisia-17%, Lesotho-17.0%, Burkina Faso-16.8%.

Although education sector took the lion share of N369bn when President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget to the National Assembly; the amount is far less to the past few years when the sector received more. In 2012, the sector got 400bn; in 2013, education got N427bn and in 2014, the sector got N493bn and in 2015, education got N492bn.

There is no doubt about the fact that Nigeria’s education sector is in trouble and therefore requires urgent ameliorative approaches to salvage it from total collapse. While government at all levels must leave up to their responsibilities; other stakeholders must also showcase genuine commitments to salvage the situation.

Nigeria must show to the whole world its ‘Giant’ status not by being rated as one of the most corrupt countries but by providing enabling environment that will guarantee the delivery of qualitative education to every Nigerian as stipulated by Article 13 of the United Nations’ 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Incessant industrial actions by stakeholders in the academic sector must be nipped in the bud. Government and other relevant stakeholders in the sector must show genuine commitments to the sector in Nigeria.

Lastly, the N369bn earmarked for education in the 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari must be properly monitored to prevent it from being misappropriated like it used to be with budgetary allocation in the past.

This post was written by Alaba Abdulrazak.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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Abu Khairillah Abu Khairillah


Viaan Danda

cool 🙂

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