NUT urges FG, States to allocate 15% of annual budget to education
..asks FG to check exorbitant fees charged by private schools
THE leadership of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has called on the Federal and State Governments to ensure that at least 15 per cent of their annual budget is allocated to the education sector.
The Union also frowned at the high and exorbitant fees charged by private schools in Nigeria and urged the Federal Government to check and discourage the ugly trend.
President of NUT, Dr Nasir Idris, spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at the 2019 Solemn Assembly of the Union, which is designed to kick-start the activities of the Union in the new year while committing the members and annual plan of actions and activities to the guidance of God.
Prayers were also said by both Muslim clerics and Christian clergymen for the leadership of the nation and for peaceful conduct of the forthcoming general elections.
But Idris noted though the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), recommended 26 per cent of annual budget to be allocated to education, the Federal and State governments should ensure that the policy of giving the education sector a minimum of 15 per cent of the entire annual budget is sustained.
For instance, only about N620.5 billion representing 7.02 per cent of the 2019 budget, has been allocated to the education sector out the total N8.83 trillion budget estimates presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly.
“In the same vein higher budgetary allocation should be devoted to teacher training and retraining. We also call on the government at all levels to save the teaching and learning of Mathematics, Sciences and ICT in our schools to enable Nigeria catch up with other countries of the World in the science and technology driven global economy,” he said.
NUT President said the public schools in Nigeria need higher funding and support to galvanize them for higher performance and productivity.
He condemned the situation where the private sector tends to commercialize education and seek to make it accessible only to the rich and privileged class through exorbitant fees charged in such schools with their local and international collaborators.
He said the children of all and sundry Nigerians irrespective of the socio-economic status of the child’s parents should enjoy an unhindered access to education as a social right.
Comrade Idris commended the National Assembly for the progress made so far on the bill seeking extension of retirement age of professional teachers from 60 to 65 years of age.
He said the overall benefits of this well intentioned bill could never be over-emphasized, as it would impact tremendous benefits on the education system and not just the teachers.
He said: It is the earnest expectations of the well-meaning teachers, lovers of education and all men and women of good will, that the hallowed Red Chamber will accord this all important bill the accelerated attention and concurrent passage, which it deserves.
“It is our ultimate expectations that President Mohammadu Buhari will assent this bill into an Act of the National Assembly before the forthcoming General Elections or soonest thereafter,” he said.
He expressed the sworn determination of NUT to canvas and pursue its goal of getting the Nigerian schools fixed, which he said was a collective responsibility of all education stakeholders.
NUT President urged Nigerian teachers, men and women of voting age to ensure that they participate in the election processes by discharging their civic obligations of voting for candidates of their choice and ensure that the process is free and fair to the best of their ability.