Apart from poor budgetary allocation, the states only released a paltry amount of money, which fell below the 26 per cent benchmark approved by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
In a similar investigation carried out by LEADERSHIP in 32 of the 36 states of the federation last year, the northern states had outwitted their southern counterparts in terms of budget allocation and disbursement to education at all levels in their bid to contain the out-of-school children crisis.
LEADERSHIP had revealed in that report published on November 29, 2018 that Sokoto and Gombe States stood out in their spending on education by voting 31 per cent and 30 per cent respectively of their total budget on education.
However, in the latest findings, the two states were beaten by Imo and Rivers States. The poor funding of the sector in 2019 has been attributed by some stakeholders to the governors’ concentration on political campaigns being an election year.
An appraisal of the previous budgets of the state over the years showed that the performance level had been fluctuating as follows 53 per cent (2013), 64 per cent (2014), 36 per cent (2015) and 43 per cent (2016). The figures were contained in the Akwa Ibom State (2012 – 2016) Public Expenditure Review the government published online.
In Niger State, in 2019, only a paltry sum of N3 billion was released for the education; basic, secondary and tertiary education. This was considered too poor in that the state government had N159.5 billion budget for the fiscal year. And there are no signs that there will be any significant change in the state government’s commitment in the year 2020.
Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike is a leading figure in the quest to improve the quality of education in the country. In 2019, for example, the state government released the sum of N40 billion to the education sector.
A document obtained from the Ministry of Education, Port Harcourt, revealed that the ministry spent part of the fund for the reconstruction of eight secondary schools and three primary schools across the state.
According to the document, another part of the fund was used for the award of contracts for the reconstruction of Model Secondary School, Bakana in Degema local government area; Model Secondary School, Tombia in Degema local government area; and Omuanwa Community Secondary School in Ikwerre local government area.
The money was used for the funding of the new campuses of the Rivers State University at Ahoada-East and Emouha local government areas; the award of scholarships, as well as infrastructure support grants of N500million to each of the tertiary institutions in the state.
A total of 492 classrooms in public schools across all the three senatorial districts in the state were slated for renovation. But, the state government could not achieve this target and its performance was below 30 per cent for the year.
Although, in 2020, Governor Masari has assured that the state government has priotised education with about 20 per cent of the N249.4 billion budget allocated to education, the coming weeks or months would prove the sincerity of the administration.
In the 2020 budget, the Oyo State government has provided for capital projects in the sector along with regular the payment of subventions and for these reasons, education comes a close second to works with a total allocation of 22.37 per cent of the budget.
While noting that education remains a big issue in the state, Governor Seyi Makinde said that efforts were on to tackle head on the number of out-of-school children by providing free education in public primary and secondary schools.
This will be followed up by providing the students with free exercise books and textbooks which had been made available for download online on the Oyo State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology website.
The money also cover capital provisions for educational parastatals such as the Ekiti State Scholarship Board, Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Board for Technical and Vocational Education, Agency for Adult and Non formal Education, Teaching Service Commission, Ekiti State Library Board, Education Trust Fund, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, College of Education, Ikere Ekiti, College of Agriculture, Is an Ekiti and College of Health Science and Technology, Ijero Ekiti.The actual disbursement for 2019 was not available apparently because the New Year had just begun.
In Lagos State, the sum of N1.168 trillion budget was signed into law by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for 2020 with the education sector receiving the highest allocation of N136.100 billionn, which is N70.407 billion higher than that of 2019 budget.
In Ondo, the state government says it is giving priority to the education sector by allocating higher percentage of N35.931 billion in the state’s N187.859 billion 2020 budget. There no details for the outgone year, which is under review.
An investigation by the LEADERSHIP revealed that the office of the accountant-general of the state was still collating vouchers from various departments on the actual release for the overhead cost and capital expenditure for the period.
And in Gombe State, the sum of N24.4 billion was earmarked for the education sector, of the N122.5 billion budget approved by the House of Assembly for the immediate past administration of Ibrahim Dankwambo in 2019.
Although, the state government argued that the focus of the budget was on human development, with emphasis on education, the actual budget releases for education for the year under review could be verified from the relevant agencies.
The actual budget release for the ministry of education by the Benue State government for the year 2019 was N166.650 million, which adjudged to be the lowest in the country. No reason was given by the state government for the action.
Despite the allocation, Comrade Sadiq Sadiq, spokesman of the Bauchi State Network of Civil Society Organisations (BASNEC), said that year witnessed the most catastrophic period for education in Bauchi.
“The allocation was trailed by poor releases which are evident in almost every school you visit. Parents never bought school chalk in the history of the state, but in 2019, parents were forced to buy chalk because the schools were not incentivized by public funds,” he said.
Major highlights of the budget include the allocation of N11.297 billion to the state’s Ministry of Education for capital and recurrent expenditures, as the government work toward completing ongoing school projects and executing new ones.
More than N8.958 billion was also allocated to the Ministry of Higher Education to facilitate completion of the state university project, and execution of educational policies and programmes in other tertiary institutions of learning in the state.
Others included the provision of N2.227 billion to the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to fast track the construction and rehabilitation of schools’ infrastructure destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents, procurement of furniture, computers, photocopying machines, teaching and learning materials, as well as utility vehicles.