ASUU: Corruption In Education Sector Undermining Our Investment – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed corruption in the education sector for the poor state of affairs.

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He said the direct consequence of graft in the sector has undermined investment from his administration.

The president stated this during the 4th National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector at the State House Abuja.

The president said his administration has consistently made the fight against corruption a cardinal pillar of its comprehensive commitments and agenda to reform the nation.

He explained that he signed up to the Open Government Partnership and adopted the Open Government Declaration under which his administration committed to have robust anti corruption policies, mechanisms and practices to ensure transparency in the management of public finances and procurement, and to strengthen the rule of law.

The president added that this year’s summit mirrors how corruption undermines educational policies, investments and creates an unfriendly learning environment for Nigerian youths.

“Incessant strikes especially by unions in the tertiary education often imply that government is grossly underfunding education, but I must say that corruption in the education system from basic level to the tertiary level has been undermining our investment in the sector and those who go on prolonged strikes on flimsy reasons are no less complicit.

“The 1999 Constitution places a premium on education by placing it on the Concurrent List, thereby laying the responsibilities of budgeting and underwriting qualitative education on both the Federal and State Governments.

“The total education budget for each year is therefore a reflection of both federal and state budgets and should be viewed with other financial commitments in their totality.

“The allocation to education in the federal budget should not be considered via allocation to the Federal Ministry of Education and also academic institutions alone, but should include allocation to the Universal Basic Education, transfers to TETFUND and refund from the Education Tax Pool Account to TETFUND,” the president said.

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He opined that he’s “aware that the aggregate education budget in all the 36 states of the Federation and that of the Federal Government, combined with the internally generated revenues of the educational institutions themselves are also a subject that requires the attention of critics of government funding of education.

“In line with the National Policy on Education, this administration has been implementing the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme to provide a free balanced meal per day for each child that attends public primary school in order to encourage school enrolment and facilitate access to universal basic education.”

According to the president, to mitigate the impact of security challenges on Nigerian schools, he signed the Safe Schools Declaration ratification document in December 2019.

He added that his administration followed up and developed the Minimum Standard for Safe Schools document in 2021, all part of the Safe Schools Initiative.

“The Safe Schools Initiative is an expression of the government’s commitment to continue to work towards the protection of students, teachers and the school environments.

“Government and stakeholders in the educational sector are concerned about the manifestation of various forms of corruption in the education sector. I am aware that students in our universities, for example, use different terminologies to describe different forms of corruption they experience on our campuses.

“There is sorting or cash for marks/grades, sex for marks, sex for grade alterations, examination malpractice, and so on.

“Sexual harassment has assumed an alarming proportion. Other forms of corruption include pay-roll padding or ghost workers, lecturers taking up full time appointments in more than one academic institution, including private institutions, lecturers writing seminar papers, projects and dissertations for students for a fee, and admission racketeering, to mention only the most glaring corrupt practices.”

The president assured that the Government will continue to fund education within realistically available revenue but stakeholders, including the media should equally advocate for transparency in the amount generated as internally generated revenue by educational institutions and how such funds are expended.

“Corruption in the expenditure of internally generated revenue of tertiary institutions is a matter that has strangely not received the attention of stakeholders in tertiary education, including unions,” the president said.

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