The President, Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) and former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi have joined in the call for improved funding of the sector saying this is the only way to make the nation’s education system globally competitive.
Mahmoud, who was the keynote speaker at a fund raising dinner for Dominican University in Lagos, posited that funding education is important for long-term economic growth and socio-economic development of the country
According to him, ‘Government must continue to invest heavily in education. As percentage share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), our educational spending must be scaled up. We must match if not surpass African leaders in this sector if we must lead the continent. Any spending less than 10 percent of GDP in my view is not ambitious enough’.
Mahmoud who also called for a robust policy reforms in the sector to achieve stability and continuity.“Education policies are far too important to be left in the hands of government alone. Already, huge successes have been achieved in this area. We have many examples of very successful private sector investment in schools and universities. It is clear that private universities have a great role to play and have clearly come of age.
The NBA boss also made a case for interventions such as private/public partnership or even private/private partnerships.“The partnership between Babcock University and Tristate Cardiovascular Associates is a very good example. This is an example of a great partnership that leverages local resources and diaspora talents, advanced knowledge and skills. The Aliko Dangote Foundation, Africa Initiative for Governance and the Tony Elumelu Foundation offer different models of intervention by which they invest in education through partnerships, collaboration, scholarships, grants and endowments.
On his part, Obi, who is the Chairman, Governing Council of the university, observed that ‘the problem we have in Nigeria today is as a result of government’s failure to adequately invest in education, and this is because successive leaders see it as an expense not investment. I funded education in Anambra State and we moved from 26 to number one.’
“The more government invests in education, the better our society. Comparing Nigeria with other countries in Africa like South Africa and Egypt between 2010 and 2016, our budget for education was $13.2billion. South Africa, which is the second biggest economy’s budget for education in 2016, was $15.4 billion with a population of 55million. Egypt that is the third economy had a budget of $13billion for 2016, with a population of 95 million.
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