NANS call for upward review of the 2015 education budget
FROM the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Tijani Usman Shehu, has come an appeal that the government should increase the allocation to education in the 2015 budget, saying the current vote falls short of UNESCO recommendation and what is obtainable in other African countries.
Shehu who expressed with dismay that hitherto education in the country is not receiving adequate attention as it ought to, worries that the trend is likely to jeopardise the future of the country if not adequately addressed.
He challenged government to make education matter a priority and also look into alternative ways of funding education so Nigeria could acclaim its rightful position in the international arena.
He said, “There is no denying the fact that education is very poorly funded in Nigeria, which is yet to comply with the UNESCO recommendation that 26 per cent of annual budget be spent on education. Nigeria spends 8.34 per cent of her annual budget on education. As concerned education stakeholders, we are calling for the upward revision of the 2015 budget to meet the 26 per cent recommended by UNESCO, as the amount voted for education fails to adequately address the funding of the vital sector.
“The future of university education in Nigeria will ultimately boil down to priorities. Government at all levels, career officers in the ministries of education and parastatals, the universities management team can decide to reverse this trend and shift university education costs away from those least able to afford it. The situation in our higher educational institutions will improve considerably if the government spends at least 25-30 per cent of her annual budget on education and out of this amount 18-20 per cent on capital expenditure for infrastructure in the sector with low cost-sharing and tuition fee.”
Shehu averred that if government at every stage boosts their investment in public university education, there would be massive development of human capital needed for national advancement and better livelihood.
“Since the educational system needs to be financed, the private and public sector assistance or contribution should be more encouraged. In order to derive these benefits, the government should uphold the World Bank’s advice that Nigeria and thirty-eight other African countries should subject their educational system to revitalisation and selective expansion policies in order to benefit from the World Bank donor countries.
“The use of taxes whether direct or indirect, income or property tax could also be more intensified to generate more revenue for the country. Likewise, government could explore the re-introduction of loans to students of tertiary institutions while the scholarship schemes could be revamped at the federal and state levels,” he said.
For cost effective strategies of universities education to be achieved in the country, he urged government to pay adequate attention to policy frameworks; proper management and accountability of fund allotted to university education sector; and also ensure that officials need to provide long-term solutions are elected rather than politically expedient fixes that leave the system of university education at risk.
Shehu also preached on the need to provide access to all qualified students regardless of their financial circumstances; meet the nation’s workforce needs by producing graduates able to contribute to every sector of society; and allocates resources based on a competition of ideas, not history, politics or privilege.