Nigerian educational system needs financial intervention including the ASUU strike. There is need for Central Bank of Nigeria intervention in ASUU strike. CBN has the financial capacity to intervene on the present ASUU’s strike which has been a recurrence decimal in the Academic calendar of Nigerian students. The strike actions, mostly blamed on the government’s non-implementation of agreement with the academic body, have disrupted the academic pursuits of most Nigerian students with an estimated 75 per cent graduating later than scheduled. In 2013, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, declared a strike on December 17, 2013, which lasted 6 months over non-implementation of 2009 agreement between the union and the Federal Government. It was eventually called off after the federal government agreed to some demands of the Academic body.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has disclosed that it introduced no less than 37 intervention programmes to boost the economy of the country. There is need for CBN to include ASUU on its intervention list so that our children can go back to their various universities. It is therefore not surprising if the bank can also step in to salvage the nation’s languishing education sector knowing that education is central to any development efforts.
Nigeria’s budget for the education sector has averaged around 5.3 per cent of the budget which is in sharp contrast to the recommended target and continues to drop. From a GDP perspective, the figure paints an even more dismal picture, as the education sector accounted for 1.94 per cent of the real GDP in Q1 2021 and 1.86 per cent in 2020.
According to data from UNESCO, about 76,338 Nigerians were studying abroad as of 2018, which is the highest recorded by an African country. From all indications, Nigeria’s persistent level of underinvestment compared to global standards does not bode well for any effort towards improving the nation’s human capital index, nor will it address the seemingly insatiable demands for foreign education.
The Nigerian education sector requires adequate funding as well as the willingness to build competitive value amongst its peers. CBN can intervene in ASUU strike at this critical crisis. It was perhaps in a bid to replicate the magic wand which has worked so well in transforming the Nigerian agricultural sector in the area of education, that the CBN under Emefiele delved into the education sector with different initiatives which if well implemented will place the nation’s tertiary institutions among the top 100 tertiary institutions in the world.
Among these initiatives are the N63 billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Centres of Excellence in nine Federal Government owned universities across the country to enhance post-graduate studies in financial related courses and the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES) to train and finance entrepreneurship ideas of Nigerian university graduates.
Inaugurating one of the centres of excellence at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria recently, the CBN Governor, Emefiele said that the project was part of the apex bank’s intervention in education.
He explained that the centres would be delivered in phases and the first phase, which comprised the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Ibadan and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria had been completed and ready for use by the institutions.
The Director Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr Osita Nwanisobi has stated that currently, the bank has about 37 purpose-driven interventions that are functionally based, well-thought-out and born out of the critical issues within the economic space.
“We know the issues of insurgency, insecurity, exchange pass through, issues of price adjustment in terms of power or fuel and others. All of these are parked together is what we are seeing as inflation today. That is also why CBN is doing massive intervention especially in agriculture,” he said. Mr Nwanisobi who said that CBN is diversifying the economy to non-oil sectors to boost the economy of the country disclosed that CBN is intervening massively in agriculture to reduce inflation and create more jobs for our youths.
It goes without saying that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the leadership of Mr. Godwin Emefiele as governor, has impacted Nigeria’s developmental strides more than any other in recent history of the bank. The apex bank’s intervention programmes in various sectors of the economy including the creation of a N100 billion targeted credit facility; N100 billion health sector intervention facility, Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), N1 trillion for the manufacturing sector and of course its legendary exploits in the agricultural sector through the Anchor Borrowers Programme, have all gone to show the commitment of the bank to the development of the country beyond monetary policy regulation.
According to the World Bank, human capital development is integral to any country’s sustainable development and poverty reduction goals. Critically, education and knowledge capacity building are critical drivers of human capital development.
Thus, investment in education is one of the bedrocks of society and helps determine the level of development recorded in an economy.
The value of education in an economy cannot be overemphasized, as it helps shape both individuals and the broader society, and forms a huge source of economic value.
Over the years, Nigeria’s education sector has suffered neglect of the worst order. In fact a review of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) data suggests Nigeria’s educational sector has suffered massive capital flight in the last 10 years.
Specifically, using the CBN’s balance of payment statistics, Nigerians have spent a hefty sum of $28.65 billion on foreign education between 2010 and 2020.
Needless to say that the high demand for dollars to pay these foreign educational institutions has affected the country’s foreign reserve (which currently stands at $33.39 billion), and contributed immensely to piling pressure on the exchange rate.
Inwalomhe Donald writes via [email protected]