#BounceExclusive: Nigeria’s Education Sector - What Has Changed?
“I have searched for jobs, submitted my CV to different companies and have been called by few of them for interview but nothing came out of it afterwards. The worst is that I have been told that I am unemployable".
He look drained. He seemed exhausted. He walked away after our chat and I could still feel his frustration. There are millions more like Stanley across the country.
Every year, over 1.5 million graduates join the employment market in Nigeria. This is according to a statement made by the former Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala, before she left office.
There is population growth and its multiplier effect will surely constitute an increase in the number of graduates produced from the nation’s poorly equipped institutions.
Two levels considered as the foundation for education is the primary and secondary schools.
In the past two years, the oil-rich nation's budget to the sector is far short of what UNESCO had recommended.
UNESCO had mandated countries to earmark 26% of its budget for education, but Nigeria has consistently allocated something less than half of that percentage.
The current administration when it took over in 2015 drew up a budget of 369.6 billion Naira for the education sector, but that was 123 billion Naira less than the 2015 budget. This budget was far from the political party's promise during campaigns.
That allocation was less than 8% of the total budget.
In 2017, the government again put up a budget of about 540.01 billion Naira for the education sector. This again is less than 8% of the total budget of 7.44 trillion Naira.
At the primary school level, the administration had launched a school feeding programme to offer food to pupils of primary schools.
As at May 2017, the current administration said it has fed over 1,051,619 primary school pupils in Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, and Zamfara States.
While this is happening in the primary school level, there seems to be nothing much happening at the Secondary level expected to promote learning and understanding of different subjects to prepare them at this crucial foundation level.
With the budget, the Federal Ministry of Education is expected to take care of 36 federal universities, 25 federal polytechnics, 22 federal colleges of education and 104 federal unity schools.
As at December 2016 Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) still claimed its members were owned 124 billion Naira earned allowance from 2013 to 2016 and 495 billion Naira accumulated arrears.
ASUU has described the budget as grossly inadequate to push the nation’s education to the level it should be to ensure that graduates are employable after they have giving most of their lifetime to studying.
The president of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, described the allocation as a betrayal of trust after an agreement was reached that there would be a significant improvement in the budget allocation to the education sector.
Beyond the budget and the sums allotted, the nation need to speak to its people while the leadership shows a sincerity of purpose in investing in the people and not in the 'system'.