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Education Still Needs Funding In The States – Investigation

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Fresh facts from across the states of the federation have shown that the education sector is still underfunded by most state governors.

With the exception of a few states, topped by Imo and Rivers States, the sector did not get its fair share in 2019 from the 23 states covered in this report.

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.

Then Sokoto and Gombe were the only states in Nigeria that not only met but exceeded the UNESCO’s international benchmark of 26 per cent budget allocation to education.

The only state in the south that came close to meeting the UNESCO benchmark was Ogun State, which allocated 23 per cent of its 2018 budget to 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.

For instance, the Akwa State government budgeted above N10 billion for capital expenditure in the education sector in 2019 out of the N13 billion alllocated to the entire sector.

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.

Surprisingly, the state proposed N4.98 billion as capital budget for education  in 2020, an action that incurred criticisms from individuals, civil society organisations, and organised labour.

The allocation, which represents 0.83 per cent of the total budget for 2020, is said to be too meager for this critical sector.

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.

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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.

The Imo State government placed priority on education and infrastructural development in the educational sector in 2019.

Successive administrations in the state, conversant with this position, annually earmarked substantial funds for teachers’ emoluments and infrastructural development.

In 2019, the state government made a budgetary allocation of N20 billion for the development of education in the state and this represented a 20 per cent increase over the previous year’s allocation.

This figure placed the state second to Rivers on the education funding chart.

In Kebbi State, Governor Atiku Bagudu has continued to reiterate the commitment of his administration to education, but without a clear-cut budget for the sector.

For instance, the state government in its 2019 total budget of N151 billion, did not specify how much was it allocated to education.

This has made it difficult to monitor and evaluate education projects and programmes executed by the governor in the sector.

On its part, the Kwara State government budgeted N9.3 billion for education in 2019.

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.

However, the new administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has demonstrated more commitment towards improving the sector.

The state colleges of education are back to work, with prompt payment of staff salaries and arrears by the last administration, and re-accreditation of their courses.

With the payment of the N450 million debt, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has readmitted Kwara into its scheme.

The Kwara State School of Nursing and Midwifery has been re-accredited. The Special Needs School is also getting attention.

In 2019, Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari earmarked N19 billion for the education sector.

But the actual figure released for the year has remained a mirage. The N19 billion was meant to provide additional structures and to rehabilitate school buildings, and the recruitment of teachers.

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.

The education sector in Kaduna State received a capital vote of N25.4 billion in 2019, which the government said was aimed at improving the quality of public schools.

Unfortunately, the state government was not able to achieve the target and blamed its failure on the refusal of the Senate to approve its $350 million World Bank loan request.

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In 2019, the Jigawa State government signed N157.54 billion as its annual budget, of which N52.383 billion was allocated to education representing one third of the budget expenditure.

Some stakeholders claimed that the state government achieved 65 to 70 per cent performance in education sector, but there were no statistics to buttress this.

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.

In addition, the government has increased funding for the state-owned higher institutions to better position themselves for human capital development.

However, there are no figures of the expenditures on the sector last year to determine how Education fared last year.

The Ekiti State government 2020 budget is N28.409 billion for various education related programmes in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

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.

The budget, according to the government, will promote investments in all sectors of the state‘s economy as well as make meaningful impacts in the life of the people.

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.

The sum of N26.8 billion is earmarked for the education in the 2019 budget in Delta State. However, the actual amount released during the period has not been made public.

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.

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In Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule presented a total budget of N100.5 billion for 2020 fiscal year.

Education, science and ICT got the highest allocation of N26.3billion followed by works with N18 billion.

1n 2018, Nasarawa allocated 20 per cent N13.37billion of the N122billion budget to education. The were no official figures for the amount budgeted and disbursed to the sector last year.

Of the N169.65 billion presented by the Sokoto State government in 2019, the education sector alone got N47.4 billion, representing 27.9 percent of the total budget.

Though, like the situation in most of the states, the actual budget releases to education for the year under review could not be ascertained.

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.

In 2019, former Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, allocated 21.8 per cent of the state’s budget to education to revive what he described as “critical infrastructure” in the sector.

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.

Of the Borno State’s 2019 budget of N125.828 billion, a total of N24 billion was allocated to education.

The budget showed that education got the lion share as the state had planned to address the destruction caused by Boko Haram insurgency.

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.

There were, however, no details of the disbursements made to the various sub-sectors for the period under review.

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Education

Planned Strike: ASUU Sets To Meet Next Week, Over FG’s Inaction

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Planned Strike: ASUU Sets To Meet Next Week, Over FG’s Inaction
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Planned Strike: ASUU Sets To Meet Next Week, Over FG’s Inaction

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Sunday said its National Executive Council would meet next week to weigh its options on whether to embark on strike or not following the failure of the Federal Government to meet some of its demands.

The union’s National President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja.

Recall that ASUU had issued ultimatum to the Federal Government and accused the government of deliberately ignoring its demands.

Some of ASUU’s demands include the payment of salary arrears of its members, payment of revitalisation funds of universities and the development of a new payment platform known as the UTAS platform.

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Planned Strike: ASUU Sets To Meet Next Week, Over FG’s Inaction

The Federal Government had, however, insisted that it was working hard on making sure that the association’s demands were met.

But Osodeke said, “For now, there is nothing new from their (government’s) side. They have deliberately continued to do this in a bid to make us bad.

“We have given them enough time and we are sure the public has heard our cries. The NEC will be meeting next week. No particular day yet but it is next week.

“We are hoping they do something before next week. When we meet, we will weigh our options and decision will be taken.

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“We will update you with other things. But we are meeting next week and they have till next week.”

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Killing, kidnapping of teachers threaten education in Nigeria – ASUSS

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Killing, kidnapping of teachers threaten education in Nigeria – ASUSS
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Killing, kidnapping of teachers threaten education in Nigeria – ASUSS

The Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools(ASUSS), has expressed regret over incessant killings, kidnappings and harassment of teachers and students across the country, saying the sordid scenarios were affecting the teachers’ productivities adversely.

Despite the situation, ASUSS lauded the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for employing 7,600 teachers, commending Kano and Adamawa, for legislating on extension members’ retirement to 65 years.

The ASUSS’ CWC said this in a communique issued after its meeting in Kaduna on Wednesday and made available to newsmen by its National President, Samuel Omaji and Secretary-General, Sola Adigun, who doubles as the Chairman of ASUSS in Ekiti State.

The communique reads: “We appreciate the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, for the recruitment of 7,600 teachers into its 9,000 Secondary School Tutors. This is laudable as it is geared towards quality and functional education.

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“We commend the government of Kano State for redeploying 11,000 trained teachers in its MDAs to schools to boost teaching and learning. The commendations also go to Oyo, Lagos and Delta States, for the up-to-date promotion of teachers”.

In spite of the above incentives to teaching, ASUSS frowned at the insecurity across the country, particularly, incessant attacks on schools, leading to the killing and kidnapping of teachers and students for ransoms.

“That the prevailing insecurity transcends ethnicity and politics; and for the umpteenth time, the union calls on governments at all levels to be sincere in handling security issues as it is their fundamental responsibility”.

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Killing, kidnapping of teachers threaten education in Nigeria – ASUSS

“ASUSS vehemently frowns at the recent harassment of teachers by students and parents; case studies were Plateau State where a student stabbed a teacher to death and Ekiti State where a police officer came to his child’s school with a team of three other policemen to harass the school principal and the teachers, while the police authority has refused to act on ASUSS complaints”.

It added further that its members are incurably committed to its objectives of raising future leaders and shall vigorously pursue them for meaningful and robust development of education in Nigeria.

ASUSS urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the bills to energise better welfare packages for teachers, saying dilly-dallying on the passage doesn’t correlate with the position maintained by President Muhammadu Buhari

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It stated: ” Other state governments should emulate Kano and Adamawa States that have gone ahead to legislate on elongation of service for their teachers with immediate implementation of same.

“That the leadership of the union is ready to organize all Secondary schools tutors, to scientifically pursue better welfare, improved terms and conditions of services, to enhance the dignity of members”.

ASUSS called on all other states that have allegedly denied teachers their privileges, rights and regular emoluments to do the right thing to alleviate the burdens and pains on members.

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Abia Poly Students Protest Over Non Accreditation, Rape Of Three By Police

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Abia Poly Students Protest Over Non Accreditation, Rape Of Three By Police
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Abia Poly Students Protest Over Non Accreditation, Rape Of Three By Police

Students of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, yesterday brought academic activities to a standstill as they took over the Aba-Owerri road in protest over the alleged rape of three female students of the institution by policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), in Aba.

This is even as the students also protested the non-accreditation of the Civil Engineering department of the institution.

Some of the placards displayed during the protest include; “Say no to rape”’, “Sell this school and give us our money back”, among others.

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Abia Poly Students Protest Over Non Accreditation, Rape Of Three By Police

The students of the Department of Civil Engineering lamented that they were being given certificates bearing Department of Building upon graduation and urged the Abia State government and the management of the polytechnic to expedite action to accredit the department to enable them to graduate with certificates bearing Civil Engineering.

On the alleged rape of students by RRS operatives, the students stated that three female students, residing at a Lodge, near the Aba North council headquarters, were raped and taken to an undisclosed hospital in the area. The students lamented that some personnel of the RRS team had been sexually assaulting them at their lodge.

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While addressing the protesting students, the Rector of the Polytechnic, Prof. Kalu Osonwa, explained that he got information that the RRS men were assaulting students.

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