The Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, on Monday identified poor funding as the major challenge of the Nigerian education sector.
Oloyede made the observation in his address at the 70th anniversary of the Ijebu Muslim College, celebrated by the Old Students’ Association in Ijebu-Ode.
Citing reports on comparative assessments on educational funding by countries, Oloyede noted that Nigeria had continued to rank poorly in budgetary allocations to the sector.
“It should be emphasised that a situation in which Nigeria is one of the worst funders of education in Africa, with regards to the percentage of national budget, should be reversed,” he said.
The JAMB Registrar commended the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, for developing a strategic plan to revamp the nation’s education system.
Oloyede, however, stressed the need for sustainable funding and heavy investment to translate the noble ideas into reality.
“Funding is especially a major challenge and the government has a lot more to do in investing in education in order to propel Nigeria to a higher height,” he said.
Oloyede noted that underfunding of the nation’s educational sector had continued to negatively impact on the youth, who he described as “lagging behind in cutting-edge education and technical training”.
According to him, the development has made the Nigerian youth to embark on perilous journeys across the hostile Sahara desert in search of a future.
Oloyede called for a well-planned and well-structured funding to move the sector to an enviable height.
“Through the process of sustainable investment and recapitalisation, the challenges of dilapidated buildings, inadequate facilities, obsolete equipment, poor methods of teaching and shortage of qualified teachers, among others, will be overcome,” he said.
The JAMB register, who admitted that education was capital-intensive, however, identified funding sources such as national pension funds, international funds and sovereign wealth grants.
Other sources, according to him, are the alumni, endowments as well as improvement on the internally-generated revenue capacities of educational institutions.
According to Oloyede, education is too important to be left wholly in the hands of the government.
He said: “Achieving change through education is definitely not the responsibility of the government alone, although it must take the lead.
“It is gratifying to note that the Federal Government is making concrete steps in this regard.
“It is desirable for all stakeholders to key into the current efforts of the Federal Government by making sacrifices that will engender better education for a secured future.”
Oloyede also called on parents, families, communities and civil organisations to get actively involved and committed to the future of the youth by committing adequate resources to the education sector.
Oloyede commended the old students’ association for taking the school to an enviable height and upholding the dreams of its founding fathers.
Corroborating Oloyede, Wale Babalakin (SAN), in his remarks, described free education system as a step in the right direction.
Babalakin, however, submitted that any free education system that negated or sacrificed quality education should be dispensed with.
The Principal of the school, Alhjaji Adegbeminiyi Salau, in his address, attributed massive developments in the school to the contributions of the old students’ association.