• Monday, June 24, 2024
businessday logo


Bleak future awaits education in 2022- Experts

Bleak future awaits education in 2022- Experts

Despite the fact that the federal government increased the education budget from 5.68 percent in 2021 to 7.9 percent in 2022 the future of the sector looks bleak.

The federal government allocated to the education sector the sum of N1.29 trillion (7.9 %) out of the N16.39 trillion estimates, which is 2.22 percent higher than the amount given to education in the previous year.

However, many experts believe the raging battle between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on one hand, the persistent banditry ravaging the country, the uprising bullying and cultism instances coupled with poor funding of the education sector, on the other hand, are the key reasons the industry might have a bleak future this year, especially at the tertiary level.

ASUU is threatening to go on strike despite the federal government’s release of N30 billion revitalisation fund and N22.5 billion earned academic allowance totaling N52.5 billion which the union said is insufficient to deal with the challenges facing the university system.

Emmanuel Osodeke, the ASUU president stated that there is a possibility that the union would still go on strike, unless the government addresses its demands, including the 2009 agreement.

This poses a dangerous signal to education stakeholders as well. No doubt lack of funding is a key factor dragging education backward in Nigeria and from the look of things, there seem to be no silver lining on the horizon.

Read also: International education: Brain drain or brain gain?

The inventory of universities and teaching hospitals that populate the country are yearning for more funding.

Affordable education will be a far cry in 2022 if those concerned fail to do the needful, experts say. Nigeria’s public education sector managers must be innovative, creative with break the box initiatives, break and stretch the boundaries to achieve a near utopian status for the huge population that abounds in Nigeria.

Friday Erhabor, a public affairs analyst believes that except for the fact this year is an election year the instability in the public tertiary institutions will continue.

“What might temporarily hurt dooms from befalling education in 2022 is perhaps because it is a year preceding the presidential election.

“Government may consider it risky not meeting ASUU demands. They may also resort to doggy tactics by pretending to negotiate with ASUU to buy time till after the election,” Erhabor said.

Best Ofori sees the ding-dung affairs between ASUU and the federal government continuing in the year 2022. This according to him is because the high and the mighty, as well as those in government, see the overseas schools and private universities always as a place of refuge. “It is rather unfortunate that it is the public schools and public students that bear the brunt of the ASUU and federal government tussles.

From the president’s speeches, one can easily note that he has no plans to curtail banditry and secure schools in 2022. ”

Experts frown at the level of funding given to education in Nigeria and this many of them argue is the fulcrum of the declining level of education in Nigeria.

According to Richard Eze, an education consultant, “One of the greatest challenges facing education in Nigeria is inadequate funding at all levels of governance. No government in Nigeria has been able to meet the 20 percent UNICEF recommendation to be allocated to education.”

Bamidele Okuwuga, a legal practitioner does not see things getting better with the situation of things on the ground.

“It is very bleak! It will get worse and it will take much longer to get back on track. Private schools will continue to exploit the country because of the failure of the government to provide the necessary facilities.

“But if, and when the government decides to fund the education sector appropriately, which will not be immediate then things will be better,” Okuwuga stated.

Adekunle attributes the problem of banditry rampaging the country to inadequate funding of education among other things. And he insists that the way out of the impending disaster in 2022 is for governments at all levels to rethink education funding. “Recently, Aminu Masari, governor of Katsina State painted a vivid picture of the horrors locked in the northern forest, where anyone could get hundreds of armed men almost for free. He said that the children abandoned in the forest across the north were coming back to fight the society as bandits.

“We have problems now with the forest people because they have no education of any kind. And that is bound to continue going by the look of things,” Jegede said.