The Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, has called for the re-establishment of State Education Development Fund (SEDFund) to ensure additional and sustainable source of funding to enhance education service delivery.
Anwukah said this in Abuja on Thursday at the closing of the 63rd Meeting of the National Council on Education (NCE) Ministerial Session.
He said that creating other funding source would help in the development of education for the achievement of `Education 2030 Agenda’
The Minister of State, therefore, said the recommendation of delegates on payment of development fees by students should go through policy stages as the council deliberated on strategies to increase funding.
“The UBEC Act is subject to amendment but all we are trying to do is to find solutions to funding problems of education in Nigeria.
“Let it pass through the bill and on the N500 or N1000 development levy, I think it should go through policy stages.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a collective agreement was initially made by delegates for the compulsory development levy of N500 and N1000 to be paid by primary and secondary school students respectively.
Anwukah, therefore, urged delegates to explore additional taxation in Nigeria to curb the endless cry for funding of education in Nigeria.
However, Mr Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary, ministry of education, acknowledged that parents and pupils should take responsibility and sacrifice by contributing to funding education.
Echono also suggested that the clause on development levy should be expunged from the communiqué to give room for further deliberation.
The 63rd council in a communiqué had earlier approved the establishment of Education Bank and Students Loan Boards by states at concessionary interest rate to allow students easy access to fund.
It noted that the education fund should be established by all states of the federation with special emphasis on funding teacher development and secondary education.
It also approved the establishment of a special intervention fund for persons with special needs.
The communiqué noted that the investments in education should be tax deductible and that contracts and other financial transactions should be taxed to fund education.
It also said that revenue generated from parastatals in the Federal Ministry of Education should be ploughed back to the education sector for effective realisation of service delivery.
On the issue of religion curriculum, the council stated that the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) had completed the separation of Christian Religion Studies (CRS) and Islamic Studies (IS) from Religion and National Values Curriculum.
It, therefore, approved the teaching, learning and assessment of CRS, IS and National Values as stand-alone subjects at the basic education level.
It noted that critical stakeholders like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, among others, were involved in the separation process.
The council had also approved the draft of National Policy on Open Educational Resources (OER) for higher education in Nigeria for immediate Implementation.
NAN also reports that a total of 652 delegates were in attendance from the 36 states and FCT, Heads of parastatals in the education sector and stakeholders from private organisations and the United Nations agencies.
The NCE is the highest policy making body aimed at addressing challenges and proffering solutions to problems confronting the education sector.