Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Tuesday, blamed under-funding of education both at the state and federal levels to the root causes why the sector remains at its lowest ebb in over five decades.
He said if conscious attempts must be made to redeem the sector, states and federal government must begin to commit at least 15 percent of their annual budgetary resources to education.
According to him, despite the articulation of several strategic roadmaps by past and present administrations to salvage the sector, issues of high number of out-of–school children, youth and adult literacy, poor teacher education including data management and weak curriculum still dot the sector, resulting in negative outputs.
Adamu bemoaned the situation, when he spoke at a two-day stakeholders’ Workshop on Sustainable Funding for Education, currently taking place at the Old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.
At the tertiary level, Adamu traced high demand for tertiary education skewed in favour of universities, weak governance and regulatory frameworks, disruption of academic calendar due to frequent strikes by academic based unions, among others as factors also militating against the nation’s underdevelopment.
He noted that more often than not, when the federal and state governments prepare their annual budgetary appropriations, they commit more funds to payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances, leaving nothing to research and other learning infrastructures.
He stressed that whichever way stakeholders view the situation, there is a direct relationship between quality education and quality output that in turn enhances the quality of living and societal advancement.
“For a start, federal and state governments should allocate a minimum of 15 percent of their annual budgets to education. Governments at both tiers should further determine the minimum level of funding for each institution and utilize acceptable budgeting parameters which must be built on national accreditation and global benchmarks.
“There is no doubt that the education sector in Nigeria is grossly underfunded and there is also no doubt that this has negatively affected the quality of education in Nigeria.
“Since the major sources of funding education are federal and state governments, they ought therefore to have provided the minimum required funding for capital and recurrent expenditure in the sector but over the last ten years, the sector has on average received less than eight percent of the federal budget”.