2024 Budget: Students May Resume New Year on Strike As ASUU Slams Low Funds Allocated to Education

2024 Budget: Students May Resume New Year on Strike As ASUU Slams Low Funds Allocated to Education

  • The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has threatened to begin 2024 with industrial action
  • President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Oshodeke, said the union would mobilise for a strike if President Tinubu did not increase the budget for education
  • He said the budget for education did not meet the global standard as recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Legit.ng journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

In 2024, universities nationwide may face strikes due to insufficient budgetary allocations and inadequate compensation within the education sector, as the Academic Staff Union of Universities indicates.

Professor Emmanuel Oshodeke, in an interview, highlighted that President Bola Tinubu had pledged, during the recent campaign and election, to raise the education sector budget to 15% or higher.

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Tinubu, education, budget
President Bola Tinubu has been told to increase the education budget to meet global standards. Photo Credit: NESG
Source: Twitter

This aligns with UNESCO's recommendation of a 26% benchmark allocation for member states.

Oshodeke expressed disappointment, emphasising that Nigeria has the lowest professor remuneration globally.

Despite expectations, the 2024 education budget was unveiled at N2.18 trillion, equivalent to 7.9% of the total budget, reminiscent of the Buhari government's allocation.

Oshodeke stressed the need for a substantial increase, urging the government to engage with cabinet members to raise the budget to 15% or more for meaningful progress in the sector.

As quoted by Punch, he said:

“With this seven per cent education budget, nothing will change in the sector, it is just as we had during Buhari’s time. Tinubu during his campaign promised to increase the education budget but nothing.
“However, there is still a chance for him, to change. But if no improvement on this and our other demands, by next year, we will mobilise our people and we can’t stay like this because Oyo State has 15 per cent and Enugu State budgeted 32 per cent for education, but FG is giving less than eight per cent."

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Economic expert reacts to Tinubu's budget for education

In a recent interview with Legit.ng, economic expert Paul Alaje stated that the budget falls short of the UNESCO standard, which recommends a minimum allocation of 15 to 26 per cent.

He praised President Tinubu for achieving a notable 100% rise in the education budget for 2023 compared to the previous year.

Alaje said:

"I clearly notice over a hundred per cent increase in education, that is commendable. But when you compare it to what is required by UNESCO, it's still very abysmally low.
"The overall budget itself has increased sporadically, and that is not because we are now budgeting more.
"In the real sense, we are still budgeting the same way in dollar terms. So because of the devaluation of Naira, you could see the overall effect in our entire economic cycle, including our budget cycle."

ASUP condemns Tinubu's budget for education

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Meanwhile, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, expressed dismay at the consistent allocation pattern in the educational sector.

He highlighted the demoralising aspect of the allocation, noting that the sectoral share for education remains below eight per cent.

According to him, this inadequate allocation cannot address the diverse challenges plaguing the education sector.

Dr Ezeibe said:

"The allocation is inadequate and falls short of the expectations.”

Tinubu’s budget lacks strategic plan to improve Nigerians

In another report, President Bola Tinubu faces a litmus test to prove doubters and opposition wrong after presenting the N27.5 trillion 2024 appropriation bill.

There are criticisms that the budget lacks the potency to curb the sufferings and hardship of Nigerians.

Executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the budget needed more clarity in strategically delivering its objectives.

Source: Legit.ng

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