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Reps urge FG to increase education budget from 2022

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning to give further considerations to Education in the subsequent budgetary allocations, beginning from 2022 in order to attain the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
projection by 2030.

According to UNESCO, for a nation to achieve the goal of providing quality education for all by 2030, the country would have to allocate at least 26 percent of its national budget to education.

However, Nigeria’s budgetary allocation for Education in the last five years is 7.38% in 2017, 7.03% in 2018, 7.05% in 2019, 6.7% in 2020 and 5.6% in 2021, a far cry from the expected standards.

It is based on this premise that the House called for Federal Government consideration on Tuesday while adopting a motion on; “Urgent Need to Address the Falling Standard of Education in Nigeria” moved by Johnson
Ganiyu from Lagos.

Moving the motion, Ganiyu noted that quality education is a crucial tool for the economic growth of any country, thus Goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting life-long learning opportunities for all.

Read also: Reps move to remove police from contributory pension scheme

He also noted that Section 18 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels.

The lawmaker said he was: “Aware that Nigeria’s education system within the last decade has been on a steady decline, ranging from influx of illegal institutions of learning as well as unqualified teachers in the system to poor funding, overcrowding and plethora of decaying infrastructure in schools across the Federation.

“Also aware that according to the United Nations, Nigeria has one of the largest populations of out-of-school youth in the world, with more than ten million Nigerian children, 60 per cent of them girls, not in school and will therefore not have the skills they need to get jobs and build secured and stable future.

Ganiyu acknowledged that Nigeria has achieved some progress in expanding access to school under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the domestic Universal Basic Education (UBE) Scheme, however, the expansion has not resulted in improved learning, as the flat learning curve in Nigeria is a proof that getting children to school does not automatically translate to adequate infrastructure, qualified teachers, conducive learning environment, frequent attendance, grade progression, effective classroom governance and more importantly, learning.

He expressed concern that the adverse effects of falling standard of Education to a nation is very grave, and the fall in educational standard in Nigeria implies a continued decline in its level of economic growth.

The lawmaker also expressed concern that with the current population of about 200 million, 45 per cent of which are below 15 years, there is high demand for learning opportunities translating into increased enrolment which has created challenges in ensuring quality education since resources are spread more thinly.

Ganiyu was worried that the burden on education in Nigeria has become even more overwhelming, resulting in more than 100 pupils to one teacher as against the UNESCO benchmark of 35 pupils per teacher; culminating in students learning under trees for lack of classrooms and other harsh conditions.

He said if no urgent action is taken, the problem will gravely affect the young and future generations as well as stifle the economic and social developmental prospects of the country.

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