FG spends N1.3trn on education in four years —Perm Sec

THE Federal Government has spent about N1.3 trillion on the education sector in the last four years of the current administration, according to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono.

He disclosed this on Monday at the opening ceremony of the ongoing conference of the Association of Educational Assessment in Africa (AEAA) holding in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The conference, hosted by the Nigeria Office of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), has no fewer than 400 delegates from across Africa, America and Europe in attendance.

Mr Echono in his address at the forum said the amount was spent on the provision of “critical education infrastructure” which he did not specify.

He said the money was spent to show how committed the Federal Government is to the development of the education sector in the country.

He also noted that the Buhari administration is equally committed to the development of research activities in tertiary institutions as well as technical and vocational education and training for the youths with a view to making many of them not only self-employed, but also employers of labour and, consequently, grow the economy.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, ‘Innovations in Educational Assessment’, the perm sec in the paper made available to newsmen by the head of public and media relations of WAEC Nigeria, Mr. Demianus Ojijeogu, said the theme was apt and timely as Africa cannot afford to lag behind in the dynamic trends and developments that are taking place in the sector.

According to him, the world today is evolving into a knowledge-based economy and the benefits accruing from this phenomenon can only be harnessed by the countries with highly skilled and educated workforce.

He, therefore, urged all African countries to reappraise and properly situate the relationship between education and the economy so as to tackle the high level of unemployment and poverty ravaging the continent.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the registrar to the council, WAEC, Dr Iyi Uwadiae, said AEAA as a not-for-profit organisation among examining and assessment bodies in Africa promotes cooperation among members.

While noting that WAEC Nigeria would be hosting the conference for the second time in 22 years, he said the essence of the conference was for members to find common workable contribution that would help Africa achieve overall development in education.