Young scholars in the giant of Africa, Nigeria felt nothing short of excitement and anticipation when in 2015, it was announced that provisions were made for them in the country’s 2016 budget which was the following year. Nigeria’s President, Buhari, that year, (2015) declared in the budget that University education will be free for Science, Education & Technology Students in the country. This policy was emphasized in the “Laying the Foundation for Sustainable Growth” section of the 2016 budget.
This and much more mouthwatering policies comprised the controversial 2016 budget which made international news for the wrong reasons. The release of the budget was followed by massive allegations of forgery, padding, misappropriation – issues which were succeeded by reports of a stolen budget.
Notwithstanding the controversy, the budget was finally signed into law by the Presidency in 2016. Despite the drama that surrounded the 2016 budget in Nigeria, the budget indeed contained propositions with incredible prospects. Summarily, the budget addressed the security, development, transparency, economy and education matters – making prospective workable plans to tackle them. Now, let us talk about the section where education was mentioned and dwelt upon. It may interest you to know that the most appealing part of the budget was the emphasis laid in the education department.
To start with, 369.6 billion naira was allotted to education matters in Nigeria; to cover a gradual but soon to be endorsed plan for public primary school feeding. According to a Premium Times‘ National Assembly correspondent, it was stated in the budget that 500,000 unemployed graduates and NCE holders would be trained and deployed in partnership with state and local governments.
Significance of 2016 Budget’s Education Policies on Nigeria
For every Nigerian, the most striking aspect of the education budget was the granting of free education for students who offer courses in science & technology; and education. This is because the aforementioned fields are of great significance to the country’s national development. Making a huge statement on the three had a lot to say about the way the nation wished to go for posterity.
The world is becoming more homogeneous under the lenses of technology and Africa as a whole is trying to fit into the digital world as we currently enjoy an increase in foreign investments.
Buhari’s declaration on the education sector favoured the promotion of science and technology in universities and also showed the government’s willingness to make significant efforts towards taking Nigeria and Africa alike up the enlightenment ladder.
The implementation of these policies has a potential of making Nigeria a much more manufacturing nation than it is already. It would mean making learning super available and affordable to a great number of people who could be talented in the science, technology or education fields but have no means of obtaining the necessary education to buttress their God-given talents. All things being equal, imagine what will happen if these tons of students make the best out of this golden opportunity?
Education is a basic necessity for any and every African country. There is a quintessential need to boost up the department because the core beneficiaries are the growing generation who will one day become leaders. In investing in the education of the young people, we are directly empowering an entire nation/continent. Nigeria’s President Muhamadu Buhari embraced this fact when he opted for free education for science technology and education students.
However, one thing remains vague; the media cannot categorically state that the policies made for the education sector are presently being implemented. The media cannot ascertain the actualization of the policy which also detailed that graduate teachers would be deployed to primary schools in a bid to enhance basic education in rural areas.
It is important for Nigerians to note that there is a pressing need for the prioritization of science and technology as well as education in the country if the giant of Africa must fly the flag of excellence economically.
The implementation of the policies mentioned in the 2016 budget with regards to education will indeed be explosive for the country’s economy. A country like Nigeria, though always in the news for controversial reasons, has potentials written all over her and would wow the whole world with a dramatic take off if only she utilizes the uncountable opportunities before her.