Academics have accused the Federal Government of underfunding the education sector.
They said the government allocates less than nine per cent of its annual budget to education, instead of the 26 per cent that obtains worldwide.
While speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH in separate interviews, they identified shortage of funds, poor power supply and decay of the laboratories as the major problems in the nation’s education system.
The immediate National Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, said the revenue being shared among institutions by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund was inadequate to tackle the challenges facing the sector.
He said, “The major funding of education is supposed to come from the national budget but it is unfortunate that the government spends less than nine per cent. There is a need to identify the goals we want to achieve with education, as a nation. We need to review the education policies and their implementation to know whether we are still on course or not.”
Similarly, a top executive of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, who preferred to be anonymous, identified the epileptic power supply as a major challenge to teaching and learning.
He said, “One of the biggest challenges facing us is inconsistent power supply. It affects teaching and learning adversely. Without it, you cannot teach or learn sciences, especially those that require practicals in the laboratory. If you don’t have energy, nothing can be taught or learnt. There is also an urgent need to upgrade the laboratories.”
He said the government needed to spend more on education and advised managers of tertiary institutions to manage their limited resources judiciously.
Similarly, the Head, Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Prof. Albert Ebuehi, said no amount spent on education was too huge for a nation that valued it.
He said, “The government is not giving enough to universities. What it is paying is just a token compared with what the sector requires.