A former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili has warned that the advocacy to increase budget in the educational sector will not redress the challenges in that sector.
Ezekwesili stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during the launch of Human Capital Africa, an accountability and advocacy initiative which she spearheads.
The theme of the event was “Securing our future: The fierce urgency of now”.
According to the former Minister, there is a need to tackle the root problems of educational deficit across the country before increase in funding.
She said, “By 2030, 90 per cent of the poor people in the world will be in Africa. Right now, it is about 52 per cent. Now let’s imagine what it means to be abandoned badly to the extent that we will now be the only place poverty would be.
“Though funding for education is important, but when I was the minister of education, I usually told my team that if you keep funding a dysfunctional system you won’t get a good outcome. If you have a structural problem, there is a need to correct it before pumping money into the system.
“Existing budget is not giving us the right outcome because the money is not going to the right area. For instance, changing a teaching method is a simple thing that doesn’t need billions to achieve. The worst thing therefore is to keep funding a dysfunctional system.”
Ezekwesili further noted a World Bank report which stated that nine out of 10 children in Sub-Saharan Africa do not achieve basic reading and numeracy skills by the age of 10.
She said, “Out of 100,000 children born in each day in Africa 90,000 are unable to read and write before the age of 10. Our region is the only place in the world where girls learn less than boys. If people are not able to learn at the right time, that means the future would be bleak.
“Those denied quality education are victim of a system that has resources to fix the crisis but won’t manage to do that. We need to fix the foundation because if we do that the rest of the level of any structure will stand.”
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