The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, has expressed the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to improve the budget for education by 25 per cent with the right policies in place.
Mr Mamman said this while opening the 2021 and 2022 Nigeria Annual Education Conference (NAEC) in Abuja on Monday.
The conference’s theme is tagged: “Implementation of Education 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Nigeria”.
The minister also pledged to bridge the gaps between education policy statements and actualisation outcomes.
”President Tinubu has directed the return of the 10.5 million out-of-school children to school at the expiration of his tenure.
”We still have a long way to go. We are not matching the children in the country with the desired education, and this is because our policies are not producing the values we need.
“What we need is the action on ground and not the policy declaration. This is where I can tell you we intend to come in,” he said.
The minister expressed concern over the state of insecurity in the schools and nation at large, lamenting the recent killing of one Deborah Atanda, a nursing student of Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, a few days ago.
He, however, directed the institution’s vice-chancellor, in concerted efforts with the security, to uncover the perpetrators of the killing.
Also, the Education Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), James O’Donoghue, pledged the UK’s commitment to supporting Nigeria in actualising the 2030 SDG agenda and to ensure every child receives a quality education.
Mr O’Donoghue called on the Nigerian government to ensure increased funding for education while ensuring that the money was utilised for the overall education purpose.
The UN suggested that the federal government increases its current budgetary allocation to the education sector from seven to 20 per cent to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4—universal, inclusive and equitable basic education for all school-age children by 2030.
For years, Nigeria’s allocation to the education sector has been below the recommended benchmark for developing nations.
In the 2023 budget, the sector got N1.79 trillion — representing 8.2 per cent of the appropriation bill — according to Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget, and national planning.
For context, the education sector got the second largest allocation in the budget after the defence and security sectors, which account for N2.98 trillion — representing 13.4 per cent of the budget.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) recommended that member nations should earmark four to six per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or 15 to 20 of public expenditure (annual budget) to fund education.