An excellent educational system is responsible for increasing the rate of productivity amongst citizens, stimulating innovation, enhancing entrepreneurship skills, and propagating industrial advancement in a nation.
However, in a country where the National education budget barely meets the international standards, what would be the expected results of this underfunding on the country’s development?
If the federal government is paying a lackadaisical attitude to education, how about the lower tier of government?
BudgIT, A Civic Organization, released a report that showed the breakdown of states who are currently defaulting on the salary of their workers, and it was unfortunate to find out that Abia state is presently leading the defaulters’ list by a considerable margin.
Despite getting a share of the 13% annual derivation fund, coupled with its Internally Generated Revenue, Abia State still owes much more than others at the bottom of the list, like Jigawa, Ekiti, and Gombe states. This shows the highest level of financial impropriety that exists in the current administration in the State.
Although the Abia state government has owed their pensioner for 30+ months, the educational sector has been the one bearing most of the brunt of the financial misappropriation of the government. According to the report, state tertiary institutions workers have been owed 10+ months as of July 31, 2022, while secondary and primary school teachers are owed 5 and 6 months, respectively.
And the result? A complete disaster ensued in the academic system in the state of Abia. School buildings are in a dilapidated state. Facilities are an eyesore, and this has affected learning in the region. Reports abound of students studying in conditions unsuitable for animals, and teachers are trying their best to teach the students despite these tepid conditions. An investigation from the Sun Newspaper also revealed the bad learning conditions in Governor Ikpeazu’s village. Teachers barely have places to sit, and students rarely attend classes due to these problems.
The higher education sector isn’t left out from this rot as Tertiary institutions all over the state are currently in bad shape. Issues ranging from Insecurity to lack of basic facilities are rampant in the state. For example, on May 19, 2022, the leading state University in the state, Abia state University had to announce an indefinite closure of the school premises after students protested the incessant kidnapping of students and lecturers by herders in the state.
The body that oversees the operations of Polytechnic in Nigeria, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), recently withdrew the licence of the state-managed Polytechnic, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, after inspections carried out by the body. The outcome will be a drawback to the lives of innocent students in the school who were unlucky to study in a school run by a lazy government.
Despite lack of necessary amenities and lousy treatment of tutors, recents reports from West WAEC showed that in 2018, 82.28% of Abia public school students had five credits in subjects which includes Mathematics and English. This performance has to be attributed to the selfless acts of the teachers who refused to compromise their standards in raising future leaders.
Abia state administration needs to do more to prioritize education in the region. Efforts should be made to renovate schools, procure necessary facilities to aid learning, proper reimbursement of teachers and lecturers in the state, and efficient management to ensure that the state isn’t left behind while its other contemporaries are making strides. Education remains the only tool for progress, and the good people of Abia state deserve one.