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ActionAid lauds FG’s commitment to raise education budget

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Students in a typical classroom

ActionAid Nigeria has described as a good development the Federal Government’s decision to increase education spending by 50 per cent over the next two years and up to 100 per cent by 2025, with the objective to reach the global benchmark of 20 per cent of public allocation and expenditure to education.

President Muhammadu Buhari made the pledge at the just-concluded Global Education Summit in London, co-hosted by United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta.

In a statement signed by its Country Director, Ene Obi, ActionAid said it was looking forward to the next steps and actions to back up the President’s commitment, to address the numerous challenges confronting the education sector.

“Nigeria is a signatory to many international instruments on the delivery of quality education, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As such, we expect to see a directive to all relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to prioritise and commence the process of incremental budgeting to actualise the commitment.

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“We are particularly delighted that the commitment responds to the call for governments to take actions to increase the share of funds allocated to and spent on free, quality and inclusive public education. This is very critical for the transformation of the sector and will help in placing the country on the path to sustainable education for all,” the statement read.

The global advocacy organisation working to further human rights for all and defeat poverty stated that its study of trend analysis of the Federal Government’s budget over the years showed that the allocation to education has declined relatively.

It noted that the size of the FG’s budget has increased since 2016, but the allocation to education has been on the decline.

Although the allocation to education in the overall 2021 budget increased from 5.61 per cent in 2020 to 5.68 per cent, it was lower than the 7 per cent attained in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

It is no longer news that Nigeria, as the most populous country in Africa, is home to the highest number of out-of-school children in the world (estimated at around 10.5 million) and evidence has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic and insecurity are increasing this number, hence the commitment of the President.

ActionAid Nigeria, therefore, called on all arms of government to collectively push forward this commitment and ensure that necessary steps are taken to actualise it.

“Government must ensure it works with relevant organisations to enable greater scrutiny of future allocations by publicly publishing education budget and expenditure.

“To attain the SDG for education, it would be critical to not only increase the funding for education but also ensure that it is targeted at projects and programmes that are aimed at addressing the out-of-school phenomenon, especially for girls and other marginalised children, improve learning outcomes and increase the nation’s stock of human capital that can be transformed into job creation,” the statement also read.

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