MODALITIES FOR IMPROVING THE FUNDING OF PRIMARY SCHOOLS BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT EDUCATION AUTHORITIES IN EKITI STATE
Background to the Study
Education is a social service engaged principally in manpower development for the nation and enhancing knowledge for social and economic development. Consequently, most nations of the world strive to devote a sizeable proportion of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to develop the education sector. However, it should be noted that Nigerian education sector has consistently received less allocation than advocated for by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, (UNESCO 2002), every nation of the world should allocate at least 26% of its annual budget to education sector but Nigeria has not met this recommendation. In Nigeria, between 2008- 2013 only 8.2% and 8.7% of our annual budget was allocated to education (FGN, Annual Budget, (2008-2013).
In Nigeria, there are other levels of education, such as tertiary education, secondary education and primary education. All these levels of education play a significant role in the socio-economic and political development of the nation. Higher education as defined by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004: 36) in her National Policy on Education is the education given in universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and monotechnics after secondary education including those institutions offering corresponding courses.
As a matter of fact, education is an expensive project and the government alone cannot successfully handle it in the country. This is evidenced in the previous Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme which collapsed because of poor funding and it suffered multiple setbacks under the federal military government of 1976. In an attempt to achieve the ill-fated Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme, the federal government under former president Olusegun Obasanjo launched the Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme in 1999 to provide free compulsory basic education,, free adult literacy programme amongst to its citizens as a means of eradicating illiteracy in the country and free junior secondary education, Maduasi, (2005) but with the look of things, the scheme is having some financial challenges in terms of funding because since its launching in 1999, we have not seen great impact of the scheme in this country, (Enock and Okpede, 2000).
The head of primary school is the Head- Teacher. The Head-Teacher is the School Administrator who guides, leads and controls both teaching and non-teaching staff and the pupils in primary school to achieve the goals and objectives in the school. The Head-Teacher is to ensure the smooth running of the school and to ensure that he and his staff perform their duties effectively and efficiently to achieve the goals andobjectives of the school and also the seat of accountability in the management of funds lies on the Head-Teacher.
Local Government Education Authorities came into existence through Decree 3 of 1991 to manage and fund primary education in each local government area of the country, (Nwosu, 2005). Nwosu further stated that, the Decree empowers Local Government Education Authorities to recruit teachers and non- teaching staff on grade levels 01-06 into the teaching service in their areas of jurisdiction as well as payment of their salaries and allowances, submission of accounts and monthly returns to the state Primary Schools Board, now State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), raise vouchers for the payment of staff salaries and allowances, acquisition and distribution of materials and equipment to all primary schools, undertaking general maintenance of school buildings and infrastructure and stimulating, promoting and encouraging community participation in their areas of jurisdiction.
Statement of the Problem
The Nigerian educational system has witnessed a great deal of transformation in recent times. As the aims and objectives for setting up educational institutions has continued to widen, new subjects have been enlarged to reflect the critical needs of Nigerian society. In other words, high premium is placed on the funding of education, because the success of any project depends to a large extent on the availability of funds for the project.
There are many problems associated with the funding of primary education in Ekiti State. There is the general outcry in the state that primary education have not produced the desired objectives as stipulated in the national policy on education due to lack of proper funding. On the basis of this, there is the need for improved funding of primary education so as for the state to achieve the goals and objectives of primary education in the country.
In Ekiti State, there is a neglect of this sector of education by government for the past decade and more and if nothing is done to arrest the situation, for our children to acquire basic education will be a mirage. This is because of the following factors: there is an increase in pupils enrolment in primary schools without the corresponding increase in the number of professional teachers, delay in the payment of teachers salaries and allowances, inadequate supply of instructional materials, poor infrastructural facilities, lack of befitting building for learning, lack of effective supervision and motivation, lack of financial commitment by Parents Teachers Associations (PTA), non-challant attitude of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO”s) and educational philanthropists, total neglect of the rural schools in the state among others have continued to plaque primary school education in the state.
From the foregoing, it is clear that most of the problems confronting primary education in the state is poor funding and it is on the basis of these enumerated problems that the researcher saw it imperative to carry out the study on the modalities for improving the funding of primary schools by Local Government Education Authorities in Ekiti State.
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