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Ezekwesili points pitfall in Nigeria’s education, calls for increase in cost of learning
OBY Ezekwesili has said the problem faced with Nigeria educational sector isn’t funding, but the collapse in the price of tertiary education which has compromised its value.
The former minister of education said this at the launch of Edfin, Nigeria’s first educational micro finance bank on Thursday.
She said the low cost of education in Nigeria has deteriorated its quality, calling on the government to increase the cost of tertiary education to sustain its value.
“You must have a solution that the pricing of education does not get taken down to the level where it cannot sustain quality that is what’s going on now”, Ezewesili said.
She said the problem with the sector isn’t funding, “If you fund a dysfunction well, you will get a well-funded dysfunction.”. She says failure to address it, has put the country into trouble.
“Our country is in trouble because education is in crisis. A decade plus ago, I told the mission that if we did not address the crisis in education that in a matter of years. In fact, my prognosis at that time was that by 2020 that we will produce the most hardened criminals,” Ezekwesili said.
She underscored the challenge of the sector, as one where, parents are comfortable paying N500, 000 in top secondary school for their children but protest about learning cost at the tertiary level, which compromises educational relevance and quality
Ezekwesili, therefore, says “those who have the capacity to pay should pay the right price for tertiary education and for those without the capacity to pay, edufinance and a subsidy from the federal government that is well designed will come to ensure that they are not left out of education”.
Edufinance as described by Bunmi Lawson, managing director of the microfinance bank, is that which ensures access to finance for educational needs.
“We are here today to mark the start of a journey one wherein the future everyone who wants to has access to quality education; where those who need finance; or you are a parent, you may be a student wanting to further your education or a teacher who need loans to improve their standard of living or their teaching skills. All stakeholders in the education ecosystem having easy access to the finance they need are the future we envisage.”
However, Reports show that funding is the biggest problem confronting Nigeria’s education system. The percentage of the budget allocated to education annually is abysmally low. In 2018, only 7.04 per cent was allocated to education. This is far below UNESCO’s recommended 15-26 per cent.
Nigeria’s educational system also is in crises of infrastructural decay, neglect, waste of resources and sordid conditions of service.
The increase in privatization of government-owned universities has led to tertiary education becoming the exclusive preserve of the rich upper class; in a country where more than 90 per cent of the population is currently living in abject poverty.
Those in the public institutions also are continuously faced with a plethora of industrial actions, hindering the liquidity of the education system, while many can’t gain admission into them either.