Rethinking Education Financing, Development and Sustainable Peace in Nigeria

Rethinking Education Financing, Development and Sustainable Peace in Nigeria

The Global Education Summit held in London, United Kingdom, a few weeks ago has come and gone, but the realities and the signposts for Nigeria’s education, development and peace agenda are germane and instructive, particularly with dwindling aid and investments from the global North.

The theme of the summit, Financing Education 2021 to 2025 – a Five Year Strategic Plan, is an initiative of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the United Kingdom, Kenya and other multilateral partners to leapfrog investment in the education sector in low-income and resource-poor countries. This is a welcome development, though long overdue, if the political will is there to drive the process of transforming education in less developed countries like Nigeria in line with best practices for qualitative life outcomes and competitiveness in the market place.

This article signposts and examines the urgent need to retool Nigeria’s education financing and strengthen partnerships with the private sector as strategic gatekeepers in up scaling infrastructure, learning and new technologies in line with global best practices and standards in order to restore hope in the sector in the interest of national development, economic growth and peace building.

Indeed, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has been providing funding and support ecosystems for building strong education in low-income countries, particularly in the area of girl-child education, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDGs 4) and other evidence-based educational systems across the world. The Global Partnership for Education has received contributions and pledges totaling US$ 7.4 billion since 2003 and the new funding commitments of US$5 billion from governments, private sector, and charity and foundations for the next five years for transformative changes in the education sector (GPE 2021).

Instructive of the summit is the sub-theme of Education Reset, Financing for Impact, Gender Equality and Ripple Effect, which is a strategic benchmark for seeking commitments for international, national and private sector funding of education for the next five years.

One of the major provocations and impediments to education and development in Nigeria is the meagre budgetary provisions at the local, state and federal government levels. From the perspective of the education funding ratio of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and national revenue index, Nigeria accounts for one of the lowest ratios in the world. Only N742.5 billion (5.6 %) was apportioned to the education sector in the current national budget (2021) which is the lowest since 2011 and it is consistently tumbling below the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) global benchmark of 15-20 % recommendation.

The value of President Muhammadu Buhari’s diplomacy pledge to ensure that the total spending on education increases by 50% over the next two years and up to 100% within the next five years (2021 – 2025), at the just concluded Global Education Summit in London, remains to be seen in the light of legislative-budgetary constraints.

President Buhari also made an ambitious pledge to increase education tax from the current 2% to 3%, in order to address the needs of tertiary education; and to also increase the allocation from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) from 2% to 4% through legislative means in order to support primary and secondary school education. Nevertheless, college education, particularly at secondary and technical levels, offers the most cost-effective way for Nigerians to learn and practice transferable, socio-emotional and entrepreneurial skills that will secure their future, whether they seek occupation or create their own businesses.

Sadly, according to UNICEF Nigeria (2019), 10.5 million children are out of school in Nigeria. The out-of-school children quandary is provokingly frightening, particularly with the ravaging kidnapping of school children and payment of ransom to bandits in some states. These dreadful experiences will continue to be a major challenge to the sustenance of primary and secondary school education enrolment. Therefore, the federal, state and local governments must renew their commitments to work with the private sector to improve education and skill development in order to ensure sustainable peace and security.

The public policy statements versus the education reality gap must be bridged. The federal and state governments can no longer fund education in a sustainable manner. Political leaders and the machinery of government at the state and federal levels have collectively failed to address the lingering issues of underfunding of education and its relationship with human development, peace and security, thereby endangering the prospects for a better future.

Indeed, the private sector must take the lead in financing education in Nigeria, particularly banks that declare supra-profits annually without corresponding social investment mechanisms to address the competency and skill development gaps in the labour market. The new financing mechanisms should take into account the importance of inclusive education: girl-child education, special needs education, adult and mass literacy, amongst others.

In addition, the government at all levels must, as a matter of urgency, initiate education remuneration reforms intended to bring its university system more in line with international best practices. The reforms should also promote increased institutional autonomy, university self-financing mechanisms, greater system differentiation, strengthened governance and mechanisms for quality assurance of accredited programmes and courses.

Furthermore, the gown and town should create more flexible courses and certification programmes that are of emerging industry relevance, alongside a creative and responsive system of university teaching and research ecosystem that in the long run will contribute centrally to national innovation capacity and productivity. The broader issues of real autonomy for universities and access to private sector financing beyond the bureaucratic channels of the paymaster (government) should be pursued so that the universities will be self-sustaining from revenues derived from research, teaching and endowments. ASUU must also look at its engagement strategies beyond strike actions to earn its respect as a conscience of the nation.

Curiously, teachers’ education and quality professional development are critical in financing education; yet the knowledge management profession at the tertiary level (lecturing) in Nigeria has become a subject of endless strikes and unnecessary industrial relations issues. The politics of fair wage, involving the paymaster and the notorious Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, must be addressed to give meaning to education and sustainable development. The country cannot sustain global competitiveness if she treats her eggheads with reckless abandon!

Finally, civil society and other international development partners must sustain advocacy for inclusive education at the subnational, national and regional levels. Civil society can reaffirm their commitment to the principles of democracy, development and peace by championing efforts to bridge the policy divide so that educational institutions can access funding for development.

Orovwuje is founder, Humanitarian Care for Displaced Persons, Lagos. 08034745325, orovwuje@yahoo.com

 

About the author

+ posts

Samuel Akpobome Orovwuje is currently the Founder/National Coordinator at Humanitarian Care for Displaced Persons, a not –for – profit organisation-providing research, advocacy, and social interventions. His research interest focuses on Diplomacy, International Economic Relations, Borders, African Migration, International Development, Gender, and Governance, Multidimensional Poverty, Sustainable Human Development and Development Paradigms.

He holds two Masters Degrees in Public and International Affairs, and Humanitarian and Refugee Studies from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a certificate in forced migration from the Prestigious Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

Share:

Samuel Orovwuje

Samuel Akpobome Orovwuje is currently the Founder/National Coordinator at Humanitarian Care for Displaced Persons, a not –for – profit organisation-providing research, advocacy, and social interventions. His research interest focuses on Diplomacy, International Economic Relations, Borders, African Migration, International Development, Gender, and Governance, Multidimensional Poverty, Sustainable Human Development and Development Paradigms. He holds two Masters Degrees in Public and International Affairs, and Humanitarian and Refugee Studies from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a certificate in forced migration from the Prestigious Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

Leave your comments

FIIFI BOATENG

Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.

NANCY KANKAM KUSI

Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.

AGNES ADWOA ANIMA

Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.

DORIS ODEI

Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.

PRINCE AKOWUAH

Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

MAXWELL APENTENG

Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.

IBRAHIM KWAKU GBADAGO

Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.

RUTH YAKANA

Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.

STELLA YAWA WOWOUI

Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.

KWAME ASANTE

Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.

GRACE AKPENE ZIGGAH

Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

JOHN P. FRINJUAH

John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.

GERVIN CHANASE

Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.

LEANDRE BANON

Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.

SAMUEL APPIAH

Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.

JIMM CHICK FOMUNJONG

Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

FRANCK A. SOMBO

Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.

OMOLARA T. BALOGUN

Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 10 years progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa. She joined WACSI in November 2009 as an Advocacy Consultant. And later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer in 2010 and Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit in 2015. As head, she offers strategic direction to the institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organized and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality.


Previously, Omolara served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria. She also served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa where she teamed up to design and implement two programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

KWABENA KRODUAH

Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.

CHARLES KOJO VANDYCK

Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.

NANA ASANTEWA AFADZINU

Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.