Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has called on the National Assembly to increase the 2013 budgetary allocation to education to 26 per cent of the total budget as recommended by UNESCO.
This, it said, should not be the end but rather the starting point of government's efforts to provide free and universal public education at all levels as enshrined in the constitution.
The group, in a statement issued by its National Coordinator, Mr. Hassan Soweto, said ERC was rejecting the N426.53 billion allocated to the education sector on the ground that the amount, which represented 8.7 per cent of the total budget, was too little to resolve the multitude of problems afflicting the sector.
"In any case, the ERC does not believe the 2013 budget reflects any commitment whatsoever on the part of the government towards improving the fortunes of the education sector. Instead, considering the 2013 budget proposal whose size is a whopping N4.92 trillion is about 5 per cent bigger than the 2012 budget, this allocation to education reflects completely the opposite. "Allocation to education only increased marginally from 8.43 per cent last year to 8.7 per cent in the 2013 budget.
"Meanwhile the President in his budget speech admitted that the 2013 appropriation bill is 5 percent bigger than the 2012 budget. Of course by the time the National Assembly finishes work on it which is really about inflating its own perks of office, the budget should be expected to be way bigger than this and the percentage allocation to education will drop further.
"Indeed at this rate, NANS' hope that the 2013 budget proposal is "a step in the right direction towards the attainment of our age-long agitation for the actualisation of the 26 per cent minimum allocation to education as recommended by UNESCO" will most certainly never be realised either now or in the foreseeable future," the group said.