Former Commissioner Canvases Better Strategy for Funding Basic Education

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By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
A former minister of youths development and now the National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has stressed the need for stakeholders in the education sector to evolve a better strategy to fund basic education in the country.

He expressed concern that basic education, being the most important aspect of a child’s education is being left in the hands of the local government, which is the weakest of the three tiers of government in the country.
Abdullahi who made this call, recently, shortly after he delivered a lecture organised by the Kwara state chapter of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), said the nation must priotise the funding of education so as to bring about the desired development.

He noted that since the debate has heightened on granting the local government autonomy, stakeholders must begin to brainstorm on where the funding of the basic education should be placed.
Abdullahi, who said basic education is the only way to measure standard , added that once the basic education is faulty all other steps could be wrong.

According to him,”Nigeria has to rethink its entire education system if we want to get the kind of result that we believe can put us in same pedestal with the rest of the world. We have to start by acknowledging that much of what we are doing at the moment is not working, and that’s not just about funding even as important as that is.

“The entire education architecture needs to be overhauled and that’s right from basic education. One key thing that I said that struck even me is that we cannot continue to leave the most important tier of our education in the weakest tier of government, and that’s basic education in the hands of local government.

“So, as we begin to consider the autonomy of the local government, it’s important for us to begin to ask what implication that would have for basic education.”

The former Minister of Sports and Youth Development, who said that Nigerians should ask what the money meant for basic education had been spent on so far, added that they should also care to know who had been doing the spending.

He said money for basic education should be put closest to the point where result would be expected, adding that school heads should be put in charge of spending and made accountable rather than officials in Abuja.

“For us to improve quality of education, we must ask what do we want our children to know at the end of each stage of our children education?, and secondly, what resources do we need to achieve set objectives? and who’s doing the spending?
Abdullahi, said teachers are the factor that could attract desired difference in standard of education in the country, noting that the quality and welfare of the teachers should be paramount.