By Aliyu DANLADI
Some stakeholders in the educational sector on Monday called on the Federal and State Governments to allocate 15 per cent of their annual budgets to the sector.
The stakeholders said there was need for the implementation of the National Economic Council’s (NEC) recommendation on allocation of 15 per cent of budgets to education.
The NEC had on Oct. 19, at its meeting in Abuja chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recommended that the state governments should declare a state of emergency in the educational sector.
Head, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Mr. Ifeanyi Onyeonoru, in Lagos lauded NEC for the recommendations.
Onyeonoru, who called for the implementation of the recommendations, said its implementation might be difficult “because Nigeria is running a federal system’’.
He noted that since the educational sector was on the concurrent list, the workability of the recommendations might be a problem.
According to him, the Federal Government must lead by example by showing commitment to the federal schools under its jurisdiction to inspire the state government.
“I am aware that currently, public schools in the country are in a state of comatose and require an emergency attention.
“Education is very basic and as an ideal thing, governments must strive to allocate an upward per cent to the sector yearly.
“If this is done, Nigerians would be discouraged from sending their children to private schools or to study abroad and this would restore some level of sanity and a level of equity to the system,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Saheed Oseni, Chairman , Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Lagos State University (LASU) Chapter, described the recommendation of NEC as “a welcome development’’.
He, however said that the 15 per cent allocation was still insufficient.
Oseni said that the 15 per cent allocation was below the 26 per cent funding benchmark recommended by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for the sector.
“For any nation to develop, the government must invest in its educational sector because education is the bedrock for the production of quality manpower.
“While the recommendation of NEC is appealing and laudable, allocating 26 per cent as recommended is not too much for better improvement of the sector,’’ he said.
Oseni, however, urged the government to reconsider allocating a more reasonable percentage of the budget which could even be more than 26 per cent to the educational sector.
The SSANU chairman said this would redeem the sector from its falling state and restore quality.
A parent, Mr Tajudeen Ademola, lauded NEC for the directive and advised all tiers of governments to comply as directed.
Ademola, was, however, worried that the 15 per cent was far below a reasonable amount that should be allocated to the sector to salvage it from wallowing.
He called on governments at all levels to brace up to fund the sector adequately, saying this was the key to the development of the nation.