65 % of Nigerian schools lack electricity, says UN chief
The United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon has disclosed that about 65 per cent of the 74,280 public primary and junior secondary schools in the country lack electricity, making technology-based education impossible.
He spoke as the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) announced the suspension of accounts of five states following allegation of financial impropriety.
They spoke at the 9th annual Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture series which held at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua centre at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The lecture was organized by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), as part of activities commemorating the 83rd birthday of the Nobel Laureate.
At the lecture titled,”Light up, light in: Interrogating the nexus between electricity and basic education in Nigeria,” stakeholders including the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi and former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, posited that electricity is key to quality education delivery.
Kallon while deploring the state of electricity in the country and Africa generally said out of the 1.5 billion people who lack access to electricity globally, 57 per cent, amounting to 622.6 million are in Africa.
He said; “ Facts have shown that students who have access to electricity have been confirmed to perform better because they have access to modern facilities.”
According to the UN chief, Nigeria needs, at least 11,000 megawatts of electricity to serve the nation’s needs.
While announcing the suspension of some SUBEB accounts, Dr. Bobboye said the pressure to pay salaries has forced some state governments to divert grants for basic education development to salary payment and other illegal spendings.
He faulted the data on the out-of-school children in the country describing it as grossly inadequate, saying the need for a technology-based data generation is required and must be done urgently.
In her remarks, Dr. Ezekwesili lamented the gross neglect of the education sector, saying there is a correlation between poverty and public school system.
She described the public school system without power supply as an intergenerational dynasty of poverty, saying there is an urgent need to look at public expenditure.