The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has commended the recommendation of the National Economic Council (NEC) that state governors should declare ‘state of emergency’ in the educational sector.
The decision was reached at the just-concluded NEC meeting in Abuja chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
NEC also recommended that the Federal and State Governments should allocate 15 per cent of their allocation to education.
Mr Adedoyin Adesina, Chairman, NUT, Lagos State Chapter, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos that the recommendations should be speedily implemented.
Adesina said that the declaration of state of emergency in the sector was long overdue, taking into consideration all the challenges confronting education.
He said the recommendation was timely; adding that government at all levels should prioritise their needs.
“Education is the bedrock of any economy; any country that fails to take its education seriously will have itself to blame.
“The recommendation is a welcome development because that is what we have been advocating for, that government at all levels should allocate 26 per cent of their annual budget as stipulated by UNESCO standard.
“In 2014, when the National Education Summit Group met, they told the government then that for the economy of this nation to grow, we must invest heavily on our teachers.
“If you want to get a Banker, Doctor, Nurse, Lawyer, Journalist, Engineer and others, who are suppose to create wealth and boost the economy, they are to pass through teachers at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
“The 15 per cent recommendation is not yet there, but it is better than what we have now. UNESCO recommended between 15 and 26 per cent. To set a good standard, it must not be less than 15 per cent.
“In the 2018 budget, only Lagos State allocated 12.07 per cent to education others including the Federal Government are single digits,” he said.
Adesina said the state of emergency should focus on curriculum planning, policy somersault, frequent change of textbooks, poor remuneration, training of teachers and infrastructure.
“Ordinarily, state of emergency is supposed to be declared so that we do not have half baked graduates that cannot read or write.
“No nation can develop beyond the level of its education, our governments are not priortising their needs,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Usman Dutse, President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), said that the implementation of the recommendations would determine the impact.
Dutse said many policies and recommendations had been made in the past to revampe the sector but received little or no commitment from government.
According to him, in the past, we have received fantastic and brilliant recommendations and policies that can help shape the system, but implementation has always been the problem.
“Many of these recommendations die natural death, they were never implemented.
“It is a welcome development but our concern is the implementation. Most of the time they are political statement, a pronouncement that government will just make without fulfilling it,” he said.
Speaking on the 15 per cent recommendation, Dutse said that the percentage was not significant, adding that it would not make significant changes required in the sector.
“UNESCO already set a benchmark and our thinking is that any pronouncement by government should be in line with it.
“Actually, if you see any country that has improve its education system, it’s either their budget is higher than UNESCO recommendation or it is 26 per cent.
“If truly they will implement what has been recommended with serious commitment, I believe it will bring a little succour to improving the sector,” he said.