Successive govts joking with education, say scholars

Grace Edema

SUCCESSIVE governments, since Nigeria gained its independence in 1960, have been said to have been unserious with the education sector of the country. Some lecturers, including chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Lagos Branch, Dr Dele Ashiru; and a lecturer with Department of Microbiology, Adeleke University, Osun State, Dr Oladipo Kolawole, who spoke with The PUNCH maintained that the level of education had been poor.

Ashiru specifically said successive governments only paid lip service to the development of the education sector in Nigeria, even as he called on the government at all levels to prioritise education.

Describing education as the pivot upon which the development of Nigeria could revolve, he said, “There is no improvement; why can we be talking about improvement when everything is in disarray? It is unfortunate that the level of education is poor. Successive governments, have only paid lip service to the development of education sector in Nigeria. Teachers’ remunerations are not paid, university lecturers are on strike, there is general decay in the sector.

“Nations that are making progress do not joke with their education sector like we do here. Government must desire to devote 26 per cent to fund education in line with the UNESCO benchmark. When education is given its pride of place, the country will be on its way to true independence.”

Also expressing worry on the issue, Kolawole explained that poor leadership at the government and institution levels had been a big challenge to quality education in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

“Since the 90s, the government of the country have not shown enough commitment to higher education development. One of the several indices for properly evaluating government commitment to educational development in any country is budgetary allocation and disbursement to education. UNESCO has recommended 26 per cent budgetary allocation to education based on Gross National Product, but the amount allocated to education by Nigerian government has continued to be smaller when compared to other African countries,” he said.

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