Nigeria has among the lowest education spending in the world, devoting only a paltry $200 to each student per year.
World Bank Senior Director and Head of its Education Global Exercise, Mr. Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi, gave this indication in a 2-day stakeholders’ workshop in Abuja on Sustainable Funding for Education in Nigeria, jointly organized by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance.
Chanduvi, who clarified financing education as absolutely crucial to create the human capital which the nation wants, said the nation was spending about 1.7 percent of its total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education that’s inadequate.
“Nigeria is spending about 1.7 percent of its GDP on education and sadly that number is too low; this number is about 3.7 percent in Mexico, 3.8 percent in Indonesia, and 5 percent in Kenya.
The global bank official said that the world needs 60 percent investment in education and health, while Nigeria requires about 34 percent of its investment on education and health to overcome its current challenges in the industries.
He said the world was facing a crisis in its basic education subsector as 50 percent of all of the children that are in school are not able to write and read.
According to him, in the past decade, there has been a wide expansion of schools but sadly a number of the kids in school are not learning, including that the world must improve and Nigeria as a key player must also improve.
For the entire world to work, Nigeria must work. Nigeria has the highest population of any African country, it’s the 7th most populated nation on the planet. For the entire world to improve, Nigeria must improve,” he said.
Chanduvi said in addition problems of accessibility, Nigeria also had quality problems in its education system even as he stressed the importance of teachers to improve the learning process in the classroom, and the crucial nature of school management, including that the nation needs to have excellent bureaucrats at all tiers of government
Also speaking, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, urged the federal and state governments to start allocating at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to education.
Adamu said despite the articulation of several strategic roadmaps by past and current administrations to address the challenges in the industry, the number of out-of-school kids, youth and adult literacy, poor teacher education including information management and weak curriculum were still present in the industry.
“For a start, federal and state governments should allocate no less than 15 percent of their annual budgets to education. Governments at both tiers should further determine the minimum amount of funding for each institution and utilize acceptable budgeting parameters which must be built on national accreditation and global benchmarks.
“There is no doubt that the education sector in Nigeria is grossly underfunded and there is also no doubt that this has negatively affected the quality of education in Nigeria,” he said.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, that had been represented by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said among the factors that is important in attaining quality education is availability of sufficient funding.
Osinbajo noted that funding has been the key to provision of quality tools such as best practices which make quality education accessible and achievable.
“It’s important therefore, to have the ability to generate and devote sufficient funds to guarantee quality education. Having said this, availability of financing alone will not guarantee quality education.
“The funds have to be well managed and not wasted, teachers should be well trained and well-motivated. The curriculum has to be well designed to ensure it is relevant to the requirements of the nation,” he said.