Accountability group urges Kaduna Govt to improve investment in education sector

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By Philip Yatai

The Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM) has called on the Ministry of Education and all the departments and agencies (MDAs) in the subsector to increase the level investment to improve service delivery.

KADBEAM is a dialogue platform for government and citizens working together to ensure transparency and accountability in the delivery of inclusive education services.

Malam Tijjani Aliyu, Citizens’ Co-Chair, KADBEAM, said at a one-day interface with government officials on public investment in the education sector that building a resilient economy required huge investment.

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Aliyu said that the meeting was organised with support from the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a governance programme of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

He urged the MDAs to improve the release of allocated funds to fully implement planned education programmes and projects to improve education delivery systems for quality teaching and learning.

Mr Leslie Dongh, member of the Evidence Committee, KADBEAM, while presenting the education sector budget performance trend between 2021 and 2022 called for a balance between budget performance and service delivery.

Dongh explained that of the N61.9 billion revised 2021 education budget, N57.6 billion was spent, representing 93 per cent performance at the end of the year.

On 2022 budget performance, he said that N35.4 billion out of the N66.4 billion revised budget was spent representing 53.4 per cent, leaving a variance of N30.9 billion.

He expressed concern that as of the third quarter of 2022, the performance stood at 53.4 per cent.

“With barely three months in the last quarter of 2022 and performance is a little over 50 per cent, clearly shows a huge gap in terms of achieving close to 90 per cent budget performance for the year.

He added that beyond budget releases was the issue of improving education service delivery in line with the goals of the state Development Plan, 2022 to 2025.

He complained of a disconnect between what was spent and what was on ground in schools in terms of enrolment, transition, learning environment and learning outcomes.

“Our hypothesis on the implication of the performance of the education budget is reflected in the annual school census.

“The census shows continued fluctuation of enrolment and low completion rate year in year out,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Martins Dangwa, Chairman Evidence Committee, KADBEAM, urged the Ministry of Education and the State Universal Basic Education Board to ensure compliance to provision of the Kaduna State Procurement Law.

Dangwa explained that the law mandated all public procurement records be open to inspection by the public.

He also urged the state government to prioritise releases of budgetary allocations to the education sector to enhance timely delivery of planned education projects and programmes in the state.

The Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Halima Lawal, said that efforts were ongoing to improve budget release of allocated funds to improve performance.

Lawal, who was represented by Mr Abbas Shehu, Deputy Director (Planning), added that there were ongoing programmes to encourage enrolment, retention, and completion.

Also, Hajiya Umma Aboki, Commissioner for Planning and Budget Commission, said that engagement with citizens provided the needed solution to problems in education and other sectors.

Aboki, who was represented by Mr Tara Jeremiah, Point of Contact, Open Government Partnership (OGP), PBC, promised to sustain engagement with the citizens in line with the government commitment to open governance.

Mr Istifanus Akau, State Partnership Facilitator, PERL, said that the governance programme would continue to support dialogue between government and citizens, with a view to co-create and co-implement education programmes.

This, according to him, will improve citizens participation in governance, promote transparency and accountability and in the long run, improve service delivery in the education sector. (NAN)

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