Nigerian universities nationwide may face disruptions in 2024 as a result of insufficient budget allocation to the education sector, coupled with inadequate remuneration, according to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Professor Emmanuel Oshodeke expressed disappointment, stating that President Bola Tinubu had promised to increase the education sector’s budget to at least 15%, aligning with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) recommendation of a 26% benchmark allocation for the education sector.
Oshodeke mentioned that Nigeria’s status is seen as that of the country with the lowest remuneration for professors globally. Despite President Tinubu’s campaign pledge, the 2024 education budget was announced to be N2.18 trillion, or 7.9% of the budget, which mirrors the same figure during the Buhari government, indicating limited progress in the sector without a budget increase.
ASUU urged the government to engage with cabinet members and raise the education budget to 15% or higher.
“With this seven percent education budget, nothing will change in the sector; it is just as we had during Buhari’s time. During his campaign, Tinubu promised to increase the education budget, but nothing happened. However, there is still a chance for him to change. But if there is no improvement on this and our other demands, by next year, we will mobilise our people. We can’t stay like this. Oyo State has 15 percent and Enugu State budgeted 32 percent for education, but FG is giving less than eight percent,” he lamented.
“He can still increase it. They should liaise with the executives and come out with a budget that is not less than 15 percent, as he promised during the election,” he added.
The national president of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, said, “It is demoralising to see the allocation follow the same trend as in the past. The sectoral allocation for education is less than eight percent and can barely provide solutions to the multifaceted problems in the sector. The allocation is inadequate and falls short of expectations.”