8th May, 2013
It is sad that the Federal Government continues to relegate education to the background in spite of the salient role it plays both in personal and national development. According to findings recently released by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, Educattion for All Global Monitoring Report, Nigeria continues to lag behind in education with a Nigerian among five out-of-school children in the world.
The report that focused on 17 developing countries, including Nigeria, shows they could finance access to primacy school for 86 per cent of their out-of-school children or 42 per cent of their out-of school adolescents if they managed their revenues from natural resorces better.
“National commitment to education has to be supported by adequate resources. The 17 countries covered in this study face tremendous educational challenges that can be met only through additional financing to expand their systems,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO.
The findings are, indeed, not only shocking but also a sad commentary on the failure of governance in Nigeria. It is also pathetic when one realises that given the nation’s huge natural resurces, this could have been avoided. The report shows that Nigeria could raise nearly half a bilion dollars per year for education if 20 per cent of its oil revenue was invested in the sector. The amount raised would be almost three times what the nation currently receives in aid to education, the report also found out.
This goes a long way to reveal not just the endemic corruption in the country but also the blatant mismanagement of the nation’s human and natural resources and the Eldorado this country would have become were our resources properly utilised. We believe that if the wealth of this country is channelled to education, every Nigerian child will be guaranteed free and qualitative education up to university level.
However, the reverse is the case. Our political office holders prefer to steal billions of naira and deposit in foreign banks rather than invest the money in education. At the end of the day, the country is the poorer for it because the majority of the Nigerian population ends up uneducated. And if the citizens of a country are not educated, there is no way it can develop. This will also worsen the already high level of poverty, crime, thuggery, millitancy and violence in our society.
The current orgy of violence being unleased on Nigerians by the Boko Haram sect is partly a function of the mismanagement of our resources. Rather than providing amnesty to ‘ghosts’, as President Goodluck once referred to members of the Boko Haram sect, he should make sure our resources are channelled to education and other sectors of the economy. Granting amnesty to a terror group is tantamount to putting the cart before the horse. And it will definitely amount to nothing.
We hereby call on the Federal Government to declare a national emergency on education and other sectors in order to make governance more pragmatic and more people oriented.