The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has raised concerns over the meager budget allocated to the education sector and inadequate remuneration, suggesting the possibility of nationwide university strikes in 2024. Professor Emmanuel Oshodeke highlighted that President Bola Tinubu had pledged to increase the education sector’s allocation to at least 15%, matching the United Nations’ recommendation of a 26% benchmark for member states.
Expressing disappointment with the announced 2024 education budget of N2.18 trillion, representing 7.9% of the total budget, Oshodeke emphasized the need for substantial progress in the sector. ASUU urged the government to fulfill its promise and increase the budget to 15% or more, underscoring that the current allocation mirrored the situation during the Buhari administration.
Oshodeke warned of potential mobilization if improvements weren’t made, pointing out the disparity with some states allocating higher percentages for education, such as Oyo State with 15% and Enugu State with 32%. National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, echoed concerns about the inadequate allocation, emphasizing the negative impact on addressing sector challenges.
Addressing the brain drain phenomenon, Oshodeke and Ezeibe urged the government to enhance lecturers’ salaries, settle outstanding allowances, and raise the retirement age. They highlighted the need to attract international lecturers, citing Nigeria’s lowest remuneration for professors globally and advocating for universities’ autonomy to improve the system.
Ezeibe emphasized that improving funding, aligning wages with the African average, and restoring global governance standards in the education sector were crucial to curbing the brain drain and retaining motivated academics.