• Saturday, July 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

8% allocation for education against UNESCO’s 26% benchmark, affects growth – ASUU

EU offers 142 Nigerian students Erasmus scholarships

Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Kwara State University, Malete (KWASU) on Wednesday accused both the Federal and State Governments of non-implementing the UNESCO recommendation of 26% benchmark educational budget for underdeveloped countries like Nigeria, saying such a nation that allocates 8% budgetary vote for education won’t develop as planned.

The University lecturers said that successive Nigeria’s Governments had allocated an average of 5% to 8% of their budgets to education over the last 10 years.

Abdulganiyu Salahu, the chairman of ASUU – KWASU branch, stated this while addressing journalists after he led his colleagues on a peaceful rally on the University’s campus.

The ASUU chairman said that one of the contending issues was the funding for the revitalisation of Public Universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013, and the MoA of 2017.

“Despite the UNESCO recommendation of a 26% benchmark educational budget for underdeveloped countries such as Nigeria, and as advocated by our union, successful Nigerian governments have allocated an average of 5- 8% of their budgets to education over the last 10 years.

“Rather than improving, the federal government has chosen to reduce the resources available for the education sector by diverting funds to programmes that do not directly benefit Nigerian public universities”, he said.

Read also: Global effort against 75 trn tonnes of plastic waste: UNESCO YOD tackles plastic pollution with Nigerian students

Salahu, however, urged the Kwara State Government to do the needful on the local ASUU’s demands, especially the academic earn allowance (AAE), which he said, stood at N1.7 billion.

He noted that the Union was tired of the alleged hypocrisy of the Federal Government while recalling that in 2009, the Government reached an agreement with the Union on key issues bordering on conditions of service, funding and University autonomy without fulfilling the contract.

Salahu, who clarified that University lecturers are not strike mongers, added, ” Members of ASUU are parents who have students in various Nigerian universities. Why would we want a case whereby our children are sent home? But we have to go on strike because we’ve reached out to the government on several occasions and there was no response.

“We’ve gone through the normal doors and backdoors, but nothing has happened. And the last resort, as allowed by the law establishing the university is to go on strike. Our members are being owed and some are leaving the country in droves for South Africa and England, for example.

“I want to say with all authorities that struggles and strikes by the members of the union brought about some of the infrastructures we have today, especially, in this university. So, if we had not been struggling, Nigerian universities would have been down. We’re not strike mongers and we don’t always love to go on strike.

“We’re hardworking citizens. That’s why we’re sensitizing members of the general public, students, market women, stakeholders, etc about the situation. We don’t want to go on strike but we can’t be teaching in empty stomach. Our senior colleagues (professors) are earning just $300. What can we do with that?”