Osinbajo: We Have Spent over N600bn on Education in 2018

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Yemi Osinbajo

• Shell commits N1.3bn to 2018 secondary school, undergraduate scholarships

Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja and Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The federal government said yesterday that it had so far spent over N600 billion on education sector in 2018, saying that in spite of the difficult economic situation, President Muhammadu Buhari made sure that education was not neglected.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo stated this at the opening ceremony of a two-day ‘Stakeholders’ Workshop on Sustainable Funding for Education in Nigeria’, which took place at the Presidential Villa Banquet Hall, Abuja.

The workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Finance.

According to the vice-president, “We were able to increase capital allocation to education; for instance, in the federal budget, capital allocation was increased from N23.53 billion in 2015 when we came–that was the allocation. In the budget that we did, we took up the capital allocation to N35.99 billion in 2016.

“Then in 2017, we took it to up to N56. 81bn and this year, the current capital budget on education is N102.9 billion. So, this shows substantial increase in education budget; in addition, there is the UBEC funding which in 2018 amounted to N109.86 billion.

“In fact, if you include the recurrent budget, the amount allocated to education by the Federal Government this year is more than N600 billion.’’

The vice-president who was represented by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, stated that additional funds were also made available through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), adding however, that the amounts were still insufficient to provide the high quality education which the administration was determined to give to all Nigerians; hence the importance of the stakeholders workshop.

Osinbajo urged stakeholders to seek ways of increasing funding to education from all the tiers of government–the federal government, state and local governments.

He added, “While government funding is important and critical, it is not the only source of funding for education. There are two broad sources of funding for education-the most important are the grants from governments at all levels; that is the Federal and state and local governments in the form of capital budgets, recurrent budget and special allocation.

“The second source of funding are from non-governmental sources—these include contributions from sources such as school charges, private donations, corporate sponsors, alumni associations, charitable and faith-based associations and among others.’’

Osinbajo explained that the workshop was expected to come with innovative ways by which increased funding of education could be achieved from all possible sources including any additional sources they could identify outside the aforementioned.

Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said that funding education was a very crucial issue; informing the importance attached to the workshop.

He said that funding is key to the delivery of qualitative education which is the foundation for national growth and sustainable development, adding that upon his appointment, he met a lot of challenges in the basic, secondary and tertiary education as well as teachers’ professional development, technical education, access and quality of education.

The Minister added that against the foregoing, the ministry proposed the Ministerial Strategic Plan for Education hinged on 10 pillars, listing the pillars as -Out of School Children, Youth and Adult Literacy, Teacher Education, Basic Education, Curriculum Matters, Tertiary Education, Education Data and planning.

He said that increased funding of education had facilitated access to tertiary education in Nigeria but posed a huge financial burden on the funding of public institutions, while urging Nigerians to disabuse their minds of the belief that funding education was the sole responsibility of the government.

Meanwhile, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has said it has committed N1,334,050,000 in scholarships to secondary and undergraduate beneficiaries for 2018 on behalf of the Shell Joint Venture, JV.

It said the amount does not include the JV’s financial commitment to the annual SPDC JV Niger Delta Post Graduate Scholarship which has provided overseas studies assistance of $700,000 to each of 79 beneficiaries till date.

General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Igo Weli, said yesterday in Port Harcourt at the presentation of cheques yesterday to the 2018 awardees at the Shell JV Education Day that “Shell is committed because we believe education is the number one investment”.

Weli said Shell is further committed to enhancing sound education through investment in professorial chairs endowment, sabbatical attachment for varsity scholars, research development supports as well as its digital learning programme, among others.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by Olagunju Lateef of the ministry, commended Shell for its interest at, “Reducing, among parents and guardians, the burden of tuition and other sacrifices to train children in realising their dreams”

The spread of the N1.3 billion 2018 Shell JV secondary school and undergraduate scholarships include N159,600,000 for 532 regular secondary school beneficiaries, N814.450,000 for 60 Cradle to Career (full secondary school scholarship) and N360,000,000 for 430 university undergraduates.