Education Minister Decries Release of Only 42.96% 2019 Budget

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Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

Despite the public outcry to overhaul the education sector due to out-of-school children, obsolete and lack of facilities, inadequate classes, unqualified and insufficient teachers among myriads of challenges facing the sector, only 42.96 percent, an equivalent of N25,215,815,214.69, was released against N58,689,905,930, which was appropriated for the education sector.

Worst hit are the federal universities with 29.64 percent which is N3,281,942,332 as against N11,073,950,101 as appropriated; Colleges of Education, 40.00 percent which is N957,603,663 against N2,364,008,340, and polytechnics with 40.00 percent which is N1,071,693,801.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, stated this yesterday through a document released by the ministry when the Basic Education Committee from the House of Representatives paid a visit for oversight functions.

Informing the committee that inadequacy of funds and late release has affected the sector in terms of performance, he said the sum of N84,728, 529,572 was allocated to the sector in the 2020 Appropriation Act.

Appealing to the committee to assist in the upward review of the education budget in 2021, he called on state governors to invest more in basic education, while conditional cash transfers, scholarships and aggressive enrolment drive for the girl-child among others will be explored.

Adamu said: “In our determination to adequately address this issue, strategies have been put forth for implementation within the available resources under the 2020 budget, and this include sensitisation of traditional and religious leaders, provision of counseling centres for parents, and location of schools and literacy centres nearer to the communities for proximity.

“In most of our schools, there’s acute shortage of teachers, while in some schools, unqualified teachers abound in large numbers in the states. The provision of classrooms is in short supply as against enrolment in most of our schools.”

The Committee Chairman, Julius Ihonvbere, in his address, noted that Nigeria is topping the chart in the number of out-of school children, and pledged the support of the National Assembly towards revamping the sector.