By Funmilayo Adeyemi
Stakeholders in the education sector have reiterated the need to allocate 20 per cent of the national budget to education with full implementation of the allocation.
The National Moderator, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), Mr Duke Ogbureke, said this at the 2023 Global Action Week for Education (GAWE23) in Abuja on Tuesday.
The GAWE23, a Civil Society Dialogue Workshop with the theme: ‘Invest in a Just World: Decolonise Education Financing Now”, is aimed at setting the education agenda for the new administration.
Ogbureke said that for development to take place, there is need for the government to budget adequately for education to hit at least the minimum benchmark of 20 per cent of the national budget.
” Our case is peculiar because we have close to 20 million out-of-school children, so you will agree with me that even the benchmark of 20 per cent of the budgetary allocation to finance education will not be sufficient for us.
”This is because already we have the challenge of bringing in the 20milliom out-of-school children into school. So to do that we have to even go beyond the minimum benchmark.
”CSACEFA believe that we have enough resources in the country if our leaders will demonstrate enough political will through effectively and efficiently utilisation of budgetary allocation.
”If 20 per cent is provided, it must be effectively and efficiently used to finance education across all levels so that Nigerian youths can compete effectively with their global counterparts,” he said.
Ogbureke said historically, the budget allocated to education could not improve the sector, hence the need to allocate 20 per cent of the budget to education while also ensuring its utilisation.
He, therefore, charged civil society organisations to hold government accountable in the effective use of budget released for education so that the effect would be felt at all levels.
On the recent students loan signed into law by President Bola Tinubu, he commended the initiative while calling for its adequate implementation so that indigent Nigerians would have access to the loan.
”My challenge with the students loan is in the implementation. If it is effectively, efficiently, transparently and accountably implemented, I believe it would to some extent meet the needs of some indigent students who are members of our population.
” I am hoping that the system will be transparent and monitored so that those who truly needs the loan can access it,” he added.
Also, the Executive Director, Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Dr Otive Igbuzor, said the issues of out-of-school children must be addressed through adequate funding.
Igbuzor, speaking on the Nigeria Education Financing and the Concept of Colonisation of Education Financing, said that budgetary allocation to education was poor when compared to other countries.
He, however, said that to get it right in the area of education, the government must give a modern functional transformative education to its citizens that would yield development.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer, Youthhub Africa, Mr Rotimi Olawale, urged the government to ensure that certain percentage from savings from fuel subsidy removal be allocated to education financing.
Olawale said that investment in education as well as the responsibility of education financing lied with the government, while also charging the CSOs to find critical ways to help government in education financing.
In the same vein, the Secretary General, National Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene called for teachers training, especially from the employment level of the teachers, saying doing this would translate to competition in the system.
Ene, represented by the NUT Gender Desk Officer, Mrs Salamatu Aliu, also said that the best students should be sent to the Colleges of Education (COE) so they would come out to be better teachers.
According to her, often times, students who could not get admissions into the universities sought for the last option of colleges of education which is not right.
”There cannot be development in Nigeria if education is not taken proper care of.
”The best students in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) should be sent to the teachers training schools so as to impact the sector but the reverse is what we see,” he said.
The Policy Advisor, CSACEFA, Mrs Odinakachi Ahanonu, said that campaigning for the right to education with an opportunity to make targeted efforts to achieve change would transform the sector.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi