#BounceExclusive: ASUU Is Sad Over ‘Hypocritical' 2018 Budget Allocation To Education
An African adage says a man who consistently puts a rotten yam in the soil and expects a big tuber is only deceiving himself and shall continue to reap poor harvest.
The Nigerian government has consistently made this adage reflect in its education sector, expecting a miracle from nothing.
It is not rocket science and there is little prayer can do when the right seed is not sown.
With grave confidence, the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari allocated 435.01 billion Naira (Recurrent Expenditure) and 61.73 billion Naira (Capital Expenditure) to the education sector.
One union that is in the forefront in demands for reforms is the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
ASUU’s President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi says he is shocked by the dwindling allocation to the education sector despite loud cries for justice.
He told Bounce News on Thursday that the allocation to the education sector in the 2018 budget was hypocritical.
"Government has not taken human development seriously in all its programmes and activities.
"When you juxtapose the allocation with government's avowed declaration of emergency in the education sector, you will see that you cannot reconcile them.
"The government has not started tackling the problem. In the last 10 years, the best we have had was 14% to education and when we see this dwindling trend that is ongoing, we find it difficult to believe what the government is saying about rescuing education.
"Our belief is that for any nation to aspire towards development, education must be put in the front burner.
"It is education that will produce the scientists, researchers, inventors, researchers and the thinkers that we need.
"It is very bad when we see the government come out with this hypocritical response to the challenge of education," Professor Ogunyemi said.
The President of ASUU also knows that it is not everyone in the government that is bad; but he believes that there is no agreement within the federal caucus on how to implement the needed reforms.
All Talk And No Action
"Perhaps some individuals in the government mean well by advocating for the transformation of Nigeria’s education sector.
"But there should be an agreement which should be demonstrated in line with section 18 of the Nigerian Constitution where there is educational objective.
"It (Section 18) should be adopted as the framework for addressing the rot in the education sector.
"Now that the government has not adopted that section, you cannot see serious work.
"If the government adopts it, it will be easier for us to challenge anybody that comes to power, insisting that they are not doing what they are supposed to do in line with the constitution.
"Now that they are dodging the constitutional provision, it is difficult for anyone to take them to court," the ASUU president said.
The Fall And Fall Of Public Education
Professor Ogunyemi recommends that the government should first put education in the first line charge, quantifying the level of intervention required to address the situation, which he said was already an epidemic, and deploy all the intervention required to address it.
"What has happened systematically is that public education has been killed by design or accidentally.
"The activities of all of us – government, parents, teachers and even the students - have contributed to decay in the system.
"We are at a point where we are managing the fallout from years of neglect and pretence. We need to go back to the drawing board.
“ASUU is still in the forefront of the campaign for reforms and we will not stop.
"Public primary and secondary schools have been destroyed but ASUU will not allow the government to destroy public tertiary education.
"We want the media, parents, students, and everyone to join us to bring the needed pressure on the government to make it put education on the first line charge.
All hope is not lost.
1. The government needs the political will to transform the sector
2. Go ahead to motivate teachers
3. Provide facilities and make environment conducive for teaching and learning.
"It is only then that quality of education in the primary, secondary and tertiary levels will be restored," the President of ASUU stressed.