The Federal Government has budgeted N620.5 billion for education in the 2019 budget. The amount, which is N14.7 billion more than the government’s expenditure on education in the 2018 budget which was N605.8 billion is still below the twenty per cent minimum recommended for developing countries by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
A former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Peter Okebukola, postulated that the sector would experience an increase in allotted funds this year, other stakeholders have described the eventual increase in the sector’s allocation as “very low and merely nominal.”
An Economist and former Director General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management in Lagos, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, said it would not hurt the country’s economy adversely if the government allocated the much called for twenty per cent of the national budget to the education sector.
According to him, education is the key to national and human capital development, and if the sector received better funding, the nation would be better for it.
Prof. Ekpo, who was a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, however, said, “We have to be careful when we talk about ascribing twenty per cent because the question of which part of the sector the percentage will be spent on will also arise. Will it be focused on capital or recurrent expenditure? In the school system there is a lot of infrastructural decay, but we also have to take care of the welfare of the teachers.”
A former deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Duro Oni, was of the opinion that a bulk of the N620.5bn should be spent on improving the Colleges of Education and the teaching profession as a whole, as well as funding research that would better the lot of the country.