Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has called on the federal and state governments to ensure that at least 15 per cent of their annual budget is allocated to the education sector.
The union also frowned at the high and exorbitant fees charged by private schools in the country and urged the federal government to check and discourage the ugly trend.
The NUT President, Dr. Nasir Idris, who spoke in Abuja at the 2019 Solemn Assembly of the union, which was designed to kick-start its activities in the New Year, noted that UNESCO recommended 26 per cent of annual budget to be allocated to education, thus federal and state governments should ensure that the policy of giving the education sector a minimum of 15 per cent of the entire annual budget is sustained.
“For instance, only about N620.5 billion representing 7.02 per cent of the 2019 budget has been allocated to the education sector out the total N8.83 trillion budget estimate presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly.
“In the same vein, higher budgetary allocation should be devoted to teacher training and retraining. We also call on the government at all levels to save the teaching and learning of Mathematics, sciences and ICT in our schools to enable Nigeria catch up with other countries of the world in the science and technology-driven global economy.”
According to Idris, public schools in Nigeria need higher funding and support to galvanize them for higher performance and productivity.
He condemned the situation where the private sector tends to commercialise education and seek to make it accessible only to the rich and privileged class through exorbitant fees charged in such schools with their local and international collaborators.
He said the children of all, irrespective of the socio-economic status should enjoy an unhindered access to education as a social right.
“It is the earnest expectations of the well-meaning teachers, lovers of education and all men and women of goodwill that the hallowed red chamber will accord this all important bill the accelerated attention and concurrent passage, which it deserves.
“It is our ultimate expectations that President Mohammadu Buhari will assent this bill into an act of the National Assembly before the forthcoming general elections or soonest thereafter,” he said.
He said the NUT is determined to canvas and pursue its goal of getting the Nigerian schools fixed, which he said is a collective responsibility of all.