The Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Barr. Eze Onyekpere, who disclosed this in a chat with journalists yesterday, during a paper presentation on “Presenting the Right to Education in Nigeria: The Review of Education policies against Federal Education Budgets 2009-2013”, in Abuja said Nigeria contributes 10.5 million out of the 57 million out of school children worldwide.
According to the CSJ chieftain, “The first National Implementation Plan (NIP) of the Federal Government’s Vision 20:20:20 seeks to fulfill the vision projection of establishing a modern and vibrant educational system that ensures the maximum development of the potential individuals and promotes a knowledge driving the society.
“However, a review of the financial projections in the first NIP and education sector budgets 2009 – 2013 shows a disconnection. It recorded a short fall of over N346.8 billion. Also, a review of fiscal projections of the Transformation Agenda and education sector budgets also reveal a short fall of #28.7 billion.
“Further, an analysis for the budgetary provisions for the years 2009-2013 shows that the budget has suffused with recurrent expenditure while capital expenditure received an average of 18.1%.
“This is below the education for all fast-track initiative benchmark of at least 20% of the sector budget being allocated to capital projects. On the average, over the 2009-2013 periods, only 55% of the total released capital budget for the sector was utilized for projects.
“This shows low absorptive capacity on the part of the Federal Ministry of Education. Further, the average utilization rate vis-a`-vis the overall education capital budget was 44.7% over the period. The percentage of the capital released on the average was 60.15% and the percentage of capital budget cash backed amounted to 57.22%.
“Also, on the average, only 63.1% of the cash-backed funds were utilized in advancing the right to education. Thus, the problem is not centered on the amount provided to the sector, but also poor releases and poor implementation of the budget.
“In general, Nigeria did not meet the 26 percent budget benchmark set by UNESCO for education funding”, he stated.
Barrister Onyekpere stated that, based on the recommendations of the study, some of the recommendations that will facilitate the realisation of the right to education in Nigeria include: Harmonization of the Fiscal Projections of High Level Policies and Plans; Increased Allocation to the Sector; Increased Capital Expenditure and the recruitment of more teachers amongst others.