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Govt not sincere about education funding –Afe Babalola

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Govt not sincere about education funding –Afe Babalola

Legal icon and Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, has accused government at all levels of being dishonest with her continued position that free education can be provided for the people.

 

He said the realities have shown that Nigeria lacks the capacity to provide quality education free of charge. Babalola, who spoke in Akure, Ondo State capital, at the weekend, as the keynote speaker at the maiden edition of Ademola Olorunfemi Annual Public Lecture, said the continued dishonesty of government is costing the country the deserved growth and development. Olorunfemi is the immediate past President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) who instituted the lecture as a contribution to discourse on pertinent issues of national interest.

 

 

While speaking on “Funding of Engineering Education and Training for Self-Reliance,” Babalola said “engineering education, like any other form of education, has experienced a major setback in Nigeria.”

 

The challenges facing engineering education, according to him, include poor funding, lack of functional policy framework, lack of adequate attention to research findings in engineering, inadequate functional workshop facilities, unstable engineering roadmaps, poor curriculum and decay in educational infrastructure, as well as non-implementation of educational budgets.

 

He said: “I have spoken at length on funding of education in Nigeria at different fora. Suffice to say that African governments, Nigeria in- clusive, have not been paying the deserved and required attention to education, including engineering education.

 

“It remains incontrovertible that apart from the late Premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who devoted 57 per cent of the resources of Western Region to funding education, no government in this country, federal or state, has come anything close to that feat.

 

“As a matter of verifiable fact, every successive government in Nigeria since 1966 has been devoting about six to seven per cent of their annual budgets to education against the 26 per cent recommended by UNESCO. In 2018/2019 budget, the amount earmarked for education is only seven per cent of the total budget.

 

“As I have said repeatedly, education is too important an enterprise to be left in the hands of politicians and governments who cannot adequately finance it in the face of many competing areas of need and that is why it has become incumbent on well-to-do COREN and NSE members and indeed members of the public to rise up to rescue our engineering education from the abyss of failure.”

 

Babalola suggested encouragement of private investors in the education sector, saying the Tertiary Education Trust fund (TETFund) should be extended to the postgraduate schools of various private universities for the purpose of investments in cutting-edge researches. According to him, all over the world, the best universities are established by private individuals and organisations, saying 60 per cent of universities in Japan are privately owned.

 

He, therefore, suggested that genuine owners of private universities must be encouraged by government through award and honour presentations, rather than the focus of the award decorations on politicians.

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