A former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, has said that successive governments in Nigeria paid adequate attention to education “on paper” but lacked the political will to “work the talk”.
Aliyu spoke while delivering a paper on “The Place of Colleges of Education in the Development of Nigeria” at the 50th anniversary of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto.
He noted that no government was allocating beyond 10% of its annual budget to education in the country.
“The total budget in Nigeria is N13.5 trillion and the deficit is N5.196 trillion while the debt servicing in the budget is N3.32 trillion.
“You deduct N8.516 trillion from N13.5 trillion, you are left with only N4.983 trillion to service all the federal government’s commitments including recurrent and capital services.
“The states also have their own deficit and debt to service.
“It is therefore very easy to appreciate why the successive governments in Nigeria failed to reposition the education sector in general.
“It also appeared that there was deliberate de-marketing of Colleges of Education by making them seem to be the last resort for those who failed in their areas of choice,” he said.
Aliyu said now is the time for governments at all levels to pay attention to education and teachers in Nigeria.
He called for state of emergency on education for a specified period of time to ensure no child was left out of the classroom.
The former governor said teaching must be adequately professionalised to attract the right people with an attractive and different salary scale.
He further advised that teachers unions must become more of professional organisation than a trade union while colleges of education must get the needed attention and funding.
He suggested that teachers must go digital and the best trained should be retained.