Members of House of Representatives on Wednesday expressed support for 26 percent budgetary allocation for education over the next four years in line with the recommendation of United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) for developing countries.
Worried by the challenges bedeviling the sector and the capital flight to neighbouring and foreign countries, the House resolved to organize one week education summit in January 2019 to enable stakeholders brainstorm on how to reposition education in the country.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion on the ‘Need to reform Nigeria’s Tertiary Educational System sponsored by Ayodele Oladimeji (PDP-Ekiti).
During the debate, all the lawmakers including Femi Gbajabiamila, Majority Leader and Albert Adeogun (APC-Osun) who spoke in favour of the motion harped on the need for urgent reform of education sector.
In his lead debate, Oladimeji observed that the strategic importance of education to any nation cannot be over emphasized being the fulcrum of national growth and development.
According to him, tertiary education is the platform for developing human capital for social, economic and technological transformation and advancement of any nation, adding that right to education is a fundamental human right and a tool of attaining not only for academic excellence but also social justice and progress, through which citizens achieve not only personal growths, but also develop their civic and political consciousness.
The lawmaker posited that Nigeria loses a minimum of a trillion to education tourism annually paid by about 75,000 Nigerians are currently studying in Ghana, Benin Republic and Egypt, among others. Oladimeji who expressed concern over the dwindling of quality of education in the country which makes most graduates unemployable, said: “no fewer than 1.8 million graduates in the country move into the labor market every year with the hope of getting jobs that are not available.”
The lawmaker noted further that numerous problems beset Nigeria’s educational system, leading to poor quality and exodus of youth from pursuit of tertiary education; these include inadequate funding and infrastructure, epileptic power supply and examination malpractices.
They hinted that failing to proffer solutions to this will continue to spiral down and Nigerians will continue to spend their hard earned foreign exchange in financing education
In his remarks, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos) who decried the state of infrastructure at various schools across the country, argued that poor infrastructure affects students learning.
While noting that “it is time we consider education as a privilege and not a right,” Gbajabiamila also emphasized on the need to prioritize quality education and teachers.
On his part, Albert Adeogun (PDP-Osun) who argued that: “school buildings don’t make school but students and teachers do,” harped on the need to “address the issue of pricing education in Nigeria. Also parents and government must participate in the education of their children,” he added.
While ruling, Speaker Yakubu Dogara unveiled plans to set up 11 member Ad-hoc committee that will liaise with critical stakeholders in the education sector to proffer solutions to the dwindling standard of education in the country.
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja