PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved the constitution of an inter-ministerial committee with a mandate to harmonise and develop a framework for a sustainable funding of education in Nigeria.
There are also indications that the Federal Government might increase to four per cent the current (two per cent) Consolidated Revenue Fund (FGN-CRF) allocated to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) in the states.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, inaugurated the committee in Abuja, saying the committee is saddled the task of building a synergy between education and all other development sectors, to accomplish inclusive and quality education through adequate and sustainable funding.
Echono, who doubles as the chairman of the committee, said members are expected to submit report to the president on or before 15th August, 2019.
He said President Buhari is keen on repositioning the education sector and has approved the constitution of the inter-ministerial committee to explore innovative ways of funding the sector.
Echono noted that members would interface with relevant stakeholders to collate their views and submit the report for the president’s consideration.
“The president accords top priority to this assignment to ensure that we provide the right framework for intervention in the education sector.
“Prior to this formal inauguration, I had the privilege of meeting with the vice president as well as the Senate president to discuss the core priorities in the education sector.
“The Federal Government alone cannot fund education adequately, and we need to look at other sources,” he said.
Part of the terms of reference read out to the committee by the permanent secretary include provision of effective strategies towards ensuring that adequate resources are made available to fund quality education at all levels.
Members of the committee include Professor Suleiman Bogoro, executive secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund; and Professor Abubakar Adamu, executive secretary, National Universities Commission.
Others are Professor Ismail Junaidu, executive secretary, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council and Dr Hammid Bobboyi, executive secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission.
The rest are Professor Josiah Ajiboye, registrar, Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria; the legal unit, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Echono noted that the constitution of the committee was based on the strength of recommendations by a two-day stakeholders’ workshop organised by the Ministry of Education in partnership with its Finance counterpart tagged, ‘Sustainable Funding for Education in Nigeria’.
Some of the recommendations of the workshop obtained by Tribune Education in Abuja include increase of the two per cent FGN-CRF UBE implementation to four per cent.
States were also urged to fast-track the process of accessing the UBE matching grants from UBEC to improve quality of basic education in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Part of the recommendation was also that the Federal Government should strengthen mechanism of corporate governance to ensure accountability and transparency in resource management in education, while also substantially and continually increasing education sector funding.