‘Poor funding, one of education sector’s greatest problems’
Executive Director, Human Development Initiatives (HDI), Mrs. Olufunso Owasanoye has said Nigeria is still far behind in education financing; reason poor funding is one of the greatest problems confronting its education sector.
Speaking at the launch of a report on the monitoring of the implementation of Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Year 2016 and 2017 Action Plans, which profiled field reports of how each of the projects were executed, Owasanoye stated that the best practice for thriving nations is devolving up to 30 per cent of annual budgets to education.
She said the meagre resources devoted to financing education, especially basic education, usually gets frittered away as proceeds of corruption through retail corruption, project cost inflation, use of substandard materials and kickbacks.
“While several Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) beam their searchlights on national level occurrences of graft, corruption has dwarfed most of the efforts put into improving the standard of basic education in Nigeria, often resulting in decaying infrastructure, low educational outcomes, dearth of qualified and well trained personnel among others,” she said.
She noted that HDI had been tracking the utilisation of basic education funds in selected states, with experience showing that project contractors may likely compromise standard, when there is no third party monitoring or awareness of prying eyes of committed community members and CSOs, who religiously and passionately follow up on projects.
“There is more work to be done in actualising education for all. It is, indeed, very sad to note that Nigeria currently has the highest number of out- of-school children in the world; latest known figure estimated at about 13.2 million children. We know that these are trying times in our national life, with the escalation of the problem of insecurity all over the country.
“But we make bold to say if this number of Out of School children are not quickly enrolled into school, it will be a big problem to the society. We all know the story of how insurgency began in Nigeria. Such children end up becoming a ready army. We, therefore, must realise that it is our duty to work together to actualise education for all,” she said.