ActionAid Nigeria has commended President Muhammadu Buhari on his commitment to increase education spending by 50 per cent over the next two years and up to 100 per cent by 2025.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mrs Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.
Obi said that the increase was in tandem with the objective to reach the global benchmark of 20 per cent of public allocation and expenditure to education.
She noted that Buhari made the commitment at the Global Education Summit in London which was co-hosted by the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta.
According to her, ActionAid is looking forward to the next steps and actions to back up the President’s commitment to address the numerous challenges confronting the education sector.
She said that Nigeria was a signatory to many international instruments on the delivery of quality education, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“As such, we expect to see a directive to all relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to prioritise and commence the process of incremental budgeting to actualise the commitment.
“We are particularly delighted that the commitment responds to the call for Governments to take actions to increase the share of funds allocated to and spent on free, quality, inclusive public education.
“This is very critical for the transformation of the sector and will help in placing the country on the path to sustainable education for all,” Obi said.
The country director said that following the trend analysis of the Federal Government Budget by ActionAid Nigeria over the years, the allocation to education had declined relatively.
She noted that in spite of the decline, the size of the Federal Government budget had increased since 2016.
She said that though, the allocation to education in the 2021 FG budget increased from 5.61 per cent in 2020 to 5.68 per cent in 2021, it was lower than the 7 per cent attained in 2016, 2018 and 2019 budgets.
According to her, available records show that Nigeria is home to the highest number of out-of-school children in the world (estimated at around 10.5 million).
She added that the COVID-19 pandemic and insecurity was increasing this number, hence the commitment of the President couldn’t have come at a better time than now.
Obi urged all arms of government to collectively push forward this commitment and ensure that necessary steps were taken to actualise it.
She appealed to the Government to work with relevant organisations to enable greater scrutiny of future allocations by publicly publishing education budget and expenditure.
Obi said that to attain the SDG for education, it would be critical to not only increase the funding for education but also ensure that it was targeted at projects and programmes that were aimed at addressing the out-of-school phenomenon, especially for girls and other marginalised children.
She added that increased funding for education would also improve learning outcomes and increase the nations stock of human capital that could be transformed into job creation.
“We want to encourage that there has to be quality provision of gender responsive public service facilities in all schools,” Obi said.