In the modern society, education is definitely one of the basic necessities for overall development. You will not be able to get good job opportunities without getting proper education. Pursuing higher educational courses can help a person to get high salary and live a good and comfortable life. Hence it is mandatory that you invest properly in education for the betterment of yourself and your family. Moreover, learning will also enable you to accommodate and synthesize new ideas and help you to keep your mind open.
Hence, it is important that free education is provided to all those who are incapable of
paying high course fees. Free education will not only help the general population but it will be also advantageous to the nation as it will lead the way to a more competitive economy.
At present, free education in Nigeria is becoming an impossible task due to the rapid increase in the number of student enrolments as well as schools. The education scenario in the country has been falling in standard since the last few years. The universities, secondary schools and primary schools are really in a bad state which is affecting the standard and quality of education. Furthermore, the current political scenario in the nation has also made a negative impact on free education schemes.
According to Dr. Bright Okogu, the Director General in the Budget Office (Nigerian Federation), free education is gradually becoming impossible although it was widely available during the early stages of educational development in the nation. Due to the rise in number of schools and students, free education is proving to be a real challenge. However, the government is still subsidising education and funding has increased to N432.76 billion in 2013 from N189 billion in 2007 and N65.4 billion in 2001.
The allotment does not include provisions to the Petroleum Development Trust Fund (PDTF), Tertiary Institution Trust Fund (TETFUND) and Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). Dr. Okogu believes that in providing financial support to the education sector, it is necessary to make considerations about the growing number of students and schools.
Funding per head was much higher before the 1980s as there was a lower rate of student enrolment was well as fewer schools, as compared to the present scenario. During that era, most of the funding was provided by the public sector. However, the present administration has been able to raise allocation to the education sector even though there are some revenue challenges. The current education funding system in Nigeria indicates that the authorities were subsidising education, particularly at the tertiary level, in order to reduce the burden of tuition fees.
The Director General has said “Tuition fee is as low as N16, 000 per session and N50, 000 at its peak for some federal universities. At state level it averages about N100, 000 per session. This subsidy in education is not rational as some people who oppose increase in tuition fee are willing to pay higher for education in private schools.”
He has also suggested innovative collaboration in order to improve the state of funding the education sector in Nigeria. Dr. Okogu also recommended that the government as well as parents of the students should share the cost of education as this will significantly help in improving the condition of the students and schools. He believes that the alumni window should be utilised in the same way as it is used in developed countries.
Although there are many challenges in improving the state of free education in Nigeria, the government has taken several steps to increase funding and develop the situation for the benefit of the children.
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