Nigeria is blessed with both natural and human resources. For this reason, it is often referred to as the giant of Africa. Harnessing these resources to increase the potential of Nigerians through increased employment, quality education and entrepreneurship cannot be down played.
The Nigerian educational sector is plagued with problems related to poor infrastructure due to poor funding: inadequate classrooms, lack of adequate teaching aids (projectors, computers, laboratories), poor quality teachers, poor or polluted learning environments, distortion of academic calendars because of COVID-19, and poor online systems of education (Odia and Omofonmwam, 2007).
From the lips of both individuals and government representatives in developing countries, we hear “Education is key to development.”
According to UNESCO declaration in 1990, a nation should allocate about 26% of her budget to the educational sector (Ebi and Ubi, 2017). How has the Nigerian government adhered to the UNESCO declaration over the past 10 years? In fact, people in Nigeria commonly ask the question “Are we retrogressing or progressing in the educational sector in Nigeria?”
Top on the list of the problems facing the educational sector in Nigeria is poor funding, an issue that keeps reoccurring, with calls to action publicized by trade unions such as the Association of Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) (see here) and the Association of Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) (see here).
As seen in the below figure, the percentage of budget allocation to education in Nigeria is well below the recommended 26% and there is a negative trend over time. As a summary of the trend, a simple linear regression model provides an estimated slope of about -0.4; that is, a 0.4% annual decrease in percent of budget allocated to the educational sector in Nigeria.
Even though the government and well-meaning Nigerians say that education is key to development, the words have clearly not led to action in terms of budget allocation by the government.
The data speak louder than words.
Ebi, B. O. and Ubi, P. S. (2017): Education Expenditure and Access to Education: Case study of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Declaration in Nigeria. Intl J. of Econs. & Fin. Issues, 7(5):290-298.
Odia, L. O. and Omofonmwan, S. I. (2007): Educational System in Nigeria Problems and Prospects. Journal of Social Science, 14(1):86-95