Written by Godfrey AKON

Education gets lowest budget in 4 years

As Nigerians look forward to the implementation of the 2016 budget, there are worries that the N369.6 billion allocation for education, which represents the lowest since 2013, may be inadequate given the enormity of challenges in the sector.

The 2016 appropriation as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari at the joint session of the National Assembly, last week, is targeted at tackling recurrent expenditure while capital allocation to the sector was blank.

“We will devote a significant portion of our recurrent expenditure to institutions that provide critical government services.

“We will spend N369.6 billion in education; N294.5 billion in defence; N221.7 billion in health and N145.3 billion in the ministry of interior,” he said.

It would be recalled that in 2015, the federal government allocated N492.03 billion to the sector representing an increase of over N60 billion from the 2014 appropriation which was N424.3billion, for capital and recurrent expenditure in the sector.

In 2013, the federal government also appropriated N426.53 billion to the sector out of a total annual budget of N4.9 trillion.

Despite the huge allocations, stakeholders argued that to shake-off the ignoble state of the sector, there was need to increase allocations significantly.

Meanwhile, the President has also promised to adopt an emergency measure, to address the chronic shortage of teachers in public schools across the country by partnering with states and local governments to recruit, train and deploy 500,000 unemployed graduates and NCE holders.

According to him, “these graduate teachers will be deployed to primary schools, thereby enhancing the provision of basic education especially in our rural areas.”

 “In the coming weeks, we will present the full programme, which will include our home-grown public primary school feeding and free education for science, technology and education students in our tertiary institutions,” he added.

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