A former Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has said that Nigerians spend N300bn annually in Ghana and an estimated N162bn annually in the United Kingdom on foreign tertiary education.
Abdullahi, who is also a former Minister of Sports, spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Friday on the sidelines of a summit of the Nigerian Union of Teachers.
He said the British Council had reported that the number of Nigerian students studying abroad had increased by 75 per cent since 2002, with a current estimate of about 19,000.
Abdullahi said, “In the middle of this crisis, government interventions over the years have been business as usual at best, and misguided at worst; indicating either a woeful lack of understanding of the problem or its sheer inability to apply the right measures of solution to bring about the desired turnaround.’’
The ex-minister stated that funding was about the most important issue in any conversation about education in Nigeria. He added that while government had argued over the years that it could not effectively fund education, the argument had become even more pertinent now that Nigeria is suffering from economic recession.
Abdullahi said, “Available statistics show that between 2000 and 2012, an estimated N800bn might have gone to the states in UBEC intervention alone. That is an average of N22bn to each of the states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“If we add other direct expenditure by the various state governments, this figure could go up to trillions of naira. Yet, evidence abound that the majority of our children completing basic education from our schools have not achieved the required standards in basic cognitive skills.”