President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to declare a state of emergency in education in Nigeria and to substantially increase government’s investment in the sector.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, made the appeal on Monday at a retreat the presidency held for ministers on education. The event was at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
According to Mr. Adamu, President Buhari should pay attention to education the way he has done to insecurity and the economy.
He said Nigeria is seriously underfunding education, even when compared to other sub-Saharan African countries, and warned that the federal government would have to spend significantly more, if it would achieve its goals as a change government.
According to the minister, to meet the 13 campaign promises he made to Nigerians on education, the president needs to spend at least one trillion naira yearly on the sector.
In the 2018 budget proposals he presented on Tuesday to the National Assembly, President Buhari allocated N605.8 billion, representing seven per cent of the budget, to the sector.
The minister said this is not adequate, as other countries at par with Nigeria allocate at least 20 per cent of their budgets to the sector.
“Mr. President, to achieve the desired change that education needs, there is the need for improved funding and a measure of political will in national governance.
“Such is the weight of the problems that beset our education and the deleterious effect it has had on our national development efforts that I believe that this Retreat should end with a declaration of a state of emergency in education so that we can face the challenges frontally and squarely,” he said.
The minister noted that since 1999 when democratic governments returned, annual budgetary allocation to education in Nigeria has been between four per cent and ten per cent.
“None of the E9 or D8 countries other than Nigeria, allocates less than 20 per cent of its annual budget to education. Indeed even among sub-Saharan Africa countries, we are trailing far behind smaller and less endowed nations in terms of our investment in education,” Mr. Adamu said.
He, therefore, urged Mr. Buhari for a major investment in education in the nation’s interest.
He stressed that such investment, which requires about N1 trillion each year, would be in line with the president’s as well as APC’s campaign promises before the 2015 election.
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