I've just received this by email. Its refreshing to read incisive analysis of this standard about Nigeria:
MONDAY QUARTER-BACKING: The 2006 Education Budget for Nigeria - A
Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD
Burtonsville , Maryland, USA
October 9, 2006
Currently, a crisis is brewing between the Education Ministry in Nigeria and the Nigerian Labour Congress over moves to "privatize" the 102 federal government colleges, aka Unity Secondary Schools, in the country. The controversy has led to the possibility of all staff of such schools going on indefinite strike [see attached news item] to protest the development. In an announcement by Education Minister Oby Ezekwesili, she disclosed that while only 120,718 students and 27,200 staff are in the 102 federal Unity Schools – out of a total national
population of 6.4 million secondary school students and about 300 secondary schools - a whopping 78 per cent of Federal Government's budgetary allocation to the ministry goes into the Unity Schools.
If that were the case, then in fact, there is a serious disequilibrium in financial resource allocation with respect to these unity schools
which must be looked into and corrected immediately. As a result, a
new public-private partnership might indeed ameliorate the situation.
But what is the true situation?
I went looking at the 2006 budget to answer that question.
THE 2006 BUDGET AND EDUCATION
For those who have the patience, the full 1190 page-budget will be found here.
whose publication on the Internet for any one who cares to read it must be regarded as one of the dividends of transparent democracy, a legacy left behind by former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The summary Appropriation bill approved by the National Assembly in February 2006 will be found here:
However, Table 1 below is a re-formatted version of this NASS document for easier reference.
More specifically, the Education Budget section of the 2006 budget will be found here:
which again has been summarized in Table 2 below.
SO WHAT ARE THE TRUE FIGURES?
Table 1 shows a total 2006 budget of N1.9 trillion, out of which the
Education sector is N166.6 billion or 8.77%. This is far below the
recommended 26% UNESCO international target, an issue which the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been plaintively asking to be corrected for years now, and which continues to be a sore
point between it and successive Nigerian governments. Thus, in fact,
on a macroscopic scale, the Minister of Education should actually be loudly demanding for a doubling to tripling of the education budget.
Next, Table 2 shows that of that N166.6 billion for Education, payroll takes a whopping 69.5%, with capital projects taking only 22.4% and overhead rounding out the rest. The Table however shows that Unity Schools take up only about 11% of the total Education budget., with
its own payroll (53.6%) and Overhead (27.9%) both taking up a
Recurrent total of 81.5%, with the Capital project being about 18.5%..
It is ONLY this recurrent total of the Education budget that comes ANYWHERE close to the 78% mentioned by the Minister of Education, an
observation that needs to be quickly clarified. One hopes that she
has not been misinformed in her new position as Education minister.
WHITHER THE UNITY SCHOOLS?
The above disclosures must be looked at separately from the desirability of the federal government to give up all of these Unity
Schools onto new administration. Granted that the historical mission
of the unity secondary schools has been to provide an early educational forum in country where young minds can interact with those from other parts of the country, as well as to provide models of excellence to other secondary schools, one questions whether it is ONLY the federal government that can ensure those desirable outcomes.
After all, secondary education is really a remit of states in our
1999 Constitution rather than the federal government, and states too understand why unity schools are important.
Thus, rather than give the unity schools up to PRIVATE persons to manage or to own outright, one believes that the right of first refusal should be given to STATE GOVERNMENTS, since the 102 schools mean on average about 3 schools per state. This additional number of new schools under state administration will therefore not be an unusual burden to the states, particularly if a significant take-off fund is provided to the states by the federal government.
Finally, while we are discussing a change in management of unity schools, we might as well discuss reversal of management of mission and other private schools that were taken over in the fever of over-centralization of the late 1970s and 80s. As many as possible of those too should be handed back to their former owners by state governments – as has been done by Lagos State and more recently Rivers State - with possibly five-year transition agreements worked out so that staff salaries and pensions as well as the inevitable increase in students' fees will not lead to deleterious effect on the various stakeholders.
NEWS ITEM: FROM "THE NATION" NEWSPAPER
Privatisation: Unity Schools' teachers begin strike today 9/10/2006
By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu and Kofoworola Belo-Osagie
Academic activities will from today be paralysed in Federal Government's Unity Schools, This is Labour's reaction to the proposed privatisation of the colleges.
The Minister of Education Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili said the privatisation move is to free the schools from total collapse as "many of them (schools) lack basic infrastructure and have become sorry sight in the landscape of secondary education."
She also disclosed that 78 per cent of Federal Government's budgetary allocation to the ministry goes into the Unity Schools which have a total student population of 120,718.
Not only that, Dr Ezekwesili said: "Our greatest concern, however, is the fact that the ministry spends an inordinate amount of time and resources on these schools that constitute only 30 per cent of the secondary schools in the country. out of 6.4 million scondary school students, only 120,718 are in the 102 Unity Schools."
Labour said many teachers and non-teaching staff would lose their jobs in the process of privatisation.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Adams Oshiomhole described the planned privatisation as "perhaps the most retrogressive step ever taken in the history of education administration in Nigeria."
The NLC President believes that the attempt to privatise the schools was targeted at the poor and the middle-class.
"In the past, Unity Schools have enabled many gifted children of the poor to break out of the poverty cycle through quality and affordable public education.
The privatisation of the schools was an escapist, simplistic, anti-poor and reactionary measure in the face of the problem that required bold steps," he said.
Oshiomhole also warned the Minister to drop the idea of privatisation otherwise labour will mobilise Nigerians against the auctioning.
"We wish to warn the Minister and those invisible forces outside driving this policy that we will mobilise progressive and patriotic Nigerians, parents, teachers, the poor, middle-class and indeed all Nigerians, against the auctioning of these schools," he said.
The Minister, in response to Ohsiomhole's act burst had said the Unity Schools have already been privatised by poor management and the inefficiency of some people.
"We are proposing public/private partnership management to restore the efficiency that is lacking in the schools.
"Mounting propaganda against the proposal would not out of 27,200 staff of the Ministry of Education are employed in 102 Unity schools is a disservice to the country," she said
The Secretary-General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) Comrade Solomon Onaghinan last week appealed to Nigerians to rise against the proposed privatisation.
"We are calling all well meaning Nigerians to rise up and stop their action. From Monday October 9 (today), there will be no more lectures in all the Unity Schools nationwide.
We are giving parents long notice in order for children until the matter is fully resolved.
"A week after (today), there will be no more services in the schools, there will be no service whatsoever. All the schools will be closed, so as to give everybody the opportunity to assess what is on ground.
We have not seen any rationale behind what is being done by the minister. She can tell the parents what she means by wanting to privatise the schools."
One of the parents whose children are at the Federal Government College, Ijanikin and who simply introduced himself as Mr Akinola, told The Nation that " this government does not want the children of the poor to be educated. They want our children to serve their (the
rich) own children in future."
"Anybody can come to Ijanikin and see the state of the FGC there. The Parents/Teachers Association (PTA) is doing its best in that school, so I don't know what the minister is talking about.
"All I know is they should think about God and stop oppressing the masses," he said .
Meanwhile, parents are set to withdraw their children from the schools because of the strike that begins today.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Mr Solomon Olaghinon, told The Nation on phone that the strike would likely continue until the issue is resolved.
He faulted claims by the Federal Government that allocations given to the schools are misappropriated, adding that for the past 15 years funds have not been given to the colleges for development projects.
"All the things the government is saying they are wrong. For the past
15 years has the government given out money for contracts? They would allocate money but it would not get to the schools. Where do they want us to get money to develop the schools? Is it from our salaries? Let the government tell us which principal, director or minister carried away the money they allocated to unity schools," he said.
For the next one week, Mr Olaghinon says teachers would keep away from the classrooms. He also confirmed that the association would likely organise rallies along the line.
Dr Ezekwesili had in a parley with the media held in Lagos recently, debunked claims of the privatisation of unity colleges.
Rather, she explained that the Federal Government was only going to franchise the brand to capable private managers but would still monitor everything that goes on in the colleges.
TABLE 1: NIGERIA 'S APPROPRIATION BILL 2006 (All Amounts Are in Naira Currency)
For an earlier version of this Bill, see also here:
Amount (in Naira currency)
Schedule Part A - Statutory Transfers
Schedule Part B - Debt Service
Schedule Part C - Recurrent (Non-Debt Expenditure
Schedule Part D - Capital Expenditure
PART A - STATUTORY TRANSFERS
National Judicial Council
Niger Delta Development Commission
Universal Basic Education Commission
Total - Statutory Transfers
PART B - DEBT SERVICE
NATURE OF DEBT
Total Debt Service
PART C - RECURRENT (NON-DEBT) EXPENDITURE
Monday, November 06, 2006
I've just received this by email. Its refreshing to read incisive analysis of this standard about Nigeria: