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ASUU Urges Government Action In Education, Says Nigeria Ranks Lowest in West Africa Education Budgets

ASUU President Osodeke has called for increased education tax to enhance funding and tackle sector challenges.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday decried the neglect of the education sector, saying Nigeria ranks lowest in education budgets across the West African sub-region.

ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said this at a one-day workshop on ‘’Emerging Areas of Students Needs in Beneficiary Institutions’.’, organised by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in Abuja.

He also reiterated the union’s call for an upward review of education tax to 10 percent, saying it would increase TETFund funding from the current N600 billion annually to N3 trillion.

“We have done a survey of West African countries. The least budgetary allocation to education by any country in West Africa is 15 percent. The highest is 32 percent.

“We are in a country where we give 4.5 to 7 percent out of which less than 70 percent is released. But the Obafemi Awolowo government was allocating over 30 percent to education,” he said .

He singled out Enugu, Abia and Oyo states for earmarking more than 20 percent of their budgets to the sector.

Osodeke berated many universities vice chancellors for their failure to carry necessary stakeholders along in the utilisation of TETFund allocation to their schools.

“The TETFund inviting us as stakeholders to this meeting is an example of how it should be. But, you remember that when you were allocating money to universities VCs, we agreed that they would call stakeholders meeting before that money is utilised.

“We had our National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting some days ago, less than 10 percent have called for that stakeholders meeting.

“I want to plead that any university that does not take the stakeholders along, should not be allowed to have access to the fund. The funds belong to the Nigerian people,” he said.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary, TETFund, Sonny Echono, said funding educational activities required careful consideration of different needs and expectations.

Echono said that funding must also be directed at essential programmes which align with the strategic objectives in terms of outcomes of investment in either physical or content development that the funding usually supports.

“The provision of physical facilities must be accompanied by corresponding programmes that will ensure maximum impact and benefit to the target group.

“As such, the Fund is constantly and critically reviewing its operations and interventions with a view to ensuring that the interventions meet the actual goals that are intended at conception,” he said.

Kuni Tyessi

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