Going into partnerships with educational donor agencies and encouraging private organisations to invest in education, has been canvassed as an avenues for state governments to get alternative sources of funding to improve the standard of basic education in their various states.
The Human Development Initiative (HDi) gave the clues recently during a training programme organised for members of Parents Forum (PF) in selected local government education authorities in Lagos state.
According to HDI’s Programme Officer, Mr. Johnson Ibidapo, funding of education is basically government responsibility. Hence, they should source for more money to augment what they have allotted to education in their budget.
“Government should fund education and beyond the UBEC intervention, state governments should source for funds. They should collaborate with the organised private sector to attract additional funds. Some organisations are seeking avenues to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR), many of them approach HDi to discuss ways for them to support education.
Government should initiate ways to attract these companies to support the drive for improved basic education. They should also attract International donors, and donor agencies that are willing to partner them for improved education, HDi, and others, for instance, are there to help states that are sincere in improving their basic education.”
Ibidapo affirmed that many of Nigeria’s problems could have been solved if only basic education was accorded seriousness by state governments. “ We advise the government to fund education more. Serious countries and states make education their priority. Education is key and the government at all levels should see the need to fund it, particularly basic education, because it is the foundation. After JSS 3, a child may decide not to continue with educational pursuits, at this stage, they’ve gotten the basic literacy, numeracy, and communicative skills which prepared them for life long learning. And even if they want to venture into other blue-collar careers, the basic education they acquired would set them up for the future. That’s why foundational education is very critical.”
Also, the Executive Director of HDi, Mrs. Olufunso Owasanoye decried the negative effects of lack of funding and identified it as the biggest threat towards achieving quality basic education for children in the country. “ To me, the lack of funds is the biggest challenge facing basic education. Because many schools don’t have enough teachers for some subjects and their are infrastructural challenges in so many schools. You’ll agree with me that if the school environment is not conducive, then effective teaching and learning cannot take place. So you need funds to get these done.”
On the PF training, Mrs. Owasanoye disclosed that the idea is to build capacity and responsibilities in ensuring an improved basic education. The training which was sponsored by American donor agency, MacArthur Foundation, had participants from 11 local government areas namely, Apapa, Agege, Mushin, Amuwo-Odofin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Etiosa, Kosofe, Ibeju-Lekki, Shomolu, Surulere, and Ojo. “We want to train them on what their contributions towards ensuring a conducive environment for students in their schools, and how they can function effectively in strengthening the existing structures that government has already put in place to improve basic education in the state.”