Out of school children: Reps seek 4% allocation for UBEC

Elizabeth AtimeMarch 21, 20243 min

The Bill seeks to address the over 10 million out-of-school children across the country and was read for the first time on November 28, 2023.

A bill seeking an upward review of the allocation of Universal Basic Education (UBEC) from the consolidated revenue fund to enhance the standard of primary education in Nigeria received support from members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The piece of legislation which scaled through its second reading is Sponsored by Rep. Muktar Shagaya (APC, Kwara) and seeks to amend the Universal Basic Education Act, 2004, to increase the share of the consolidated revenue fund allocated for UBEC from 2 per cent (2%) to 4 per cent (4%). 

The Bill seeks to address the over 10 million out-of-school children across the country and was read for the first time on November 28, 2023. 

Leading the debate on the Bill at plenary, Rep. Shagaya explained that the current 2% allocation to UBEC does not reflect the realities and is insufficient to address the challenges in basic education. 

A concerning trend also persists as a significant level of infrastructural deterioration plagues the majority of public primary schools across all 36 states of the federation,” he said.

Despite the proposed capital expenditure for the education sector in the 2024 budget, its potential impact may be limited. With an increment in school enrolment numbers and widespread infrastructural decay, the situation is indeed daunting. 

“It is imperative that we address this while also prioritising technological advancement and enhancing teacher’s training in our basic schools to align with global best practices.

“As we strive towards allocating 20 per cent of the national budget to the education sector to meet global standards, improve the quality of learning, and retain the best hands in the system, we must also remember that access to education is a recognised human right and one of the key pillars of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) to which Nigeria is a signatory.“

The lawmaker said the increase is a pivotal component of a “comprehensive strategy” to reform the education sector and propel sustainable development in the country. 

The lawmaker further stressed that the proposal aligns with the recommendations of UNESCO, adding that the goal is to ensure that the allocation to education meets the recommended benchmark of 15 to 20 per cent internationally. 

The legislator said the UBEC act is not a luxury but a moral imperative. 

It is an investment in human dignity, in social justice, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow,” he added.

The bill was passed when it was put to vote by the presiding officer, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Elizabeth Atime

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