Experts urge Tinubu to increase education budget

Education experts and other stakeholders in the education sector have urged President Bola Tinubu’s administration to augment the budgetary allocation for quality teaching and learning to 30 per cent.

During the inaugural School Leaders Conference in Lagos, various stakeholders, including principals, school owners, and administrators from public and private institutions across the country expressed their dissatisfaction with the historical disregard and insufficient funding of the education sector by previous administrations.

Participants at the conference emphasized that a critical sector like education needed adequate financial resources to meet the nation’s human capacity development requirements.

The conference, titled “Building to Last in a Rapidly Changing Modern World,” was organized by the Learning as I Teach (LAIT) Foundation Africa.

Its purpose was to foster collaboration, deliberation, and unified efforts among school leaders to establish enduring institutions in Africa.

Dr. Abimbola Ogundere, the founder of the LAIT Foundation and the driving force behind the event, delivered the keynote address, underscoring the imperative of increased education funding in Nigeria.

She called upon the Federal Government to implement strategies such as revising the curriculum of colleges and faculties of education and appointing qualified educators to administrative positions like commissioners and ministers.

These measures, according to her, would help safeguard Nigeria’s education system from potential collapse.

The convener said: “It is funny to think that the foundation of the future is not well funded. We know that less than 20 per cent of the budget of the whole nation goes to education. So we are asking that there is more funding to aid infrastructure – physical and technological, train and empower teachers, increase remuneration, and curriculum review, among others.

“It is crucial that there is a spotlight on funding the sector and equipping the teachers. There is so much infrastructure that need to be put in place. You go into an average public school somewhere, and children are still sitting on the floor. We don’t need that in 2023.

“It is important that the new administration should pay adequate attention to the education sector by bringing in leaders that have the experience to be in charge. We can’t continue to have ministers and commissioners for education who are not professional educators making decisions for the sector.

“We want to have a review where there is proper accountability. You have things in place, but nobody holds educators and other stakeholders accountable.”

When asked how much of the national budget should be allocated to education, Ogundere recommended 30 per cent.

“Honestly, at least UNESCO recommended 30 per cent. The standard and future of the nation is in the education of its people. So we need to fund that sector”, she said.

Also contributing during a panel discussion session, the Executive Chairman of Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Ozavize Salami, said the theme of the conference was very relevant and in line with reforms going on in the education sector.

According to her, a lot of reforms and new initiatives were taking place in the sector while stressing the need to put measures in place to sustain the reforms by both the government and private players.