Nigeria: Teachers call for more investment in public education to combat growing privatisation

published 5 July 2022 updated 20 July 2022

The national president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Audu Titus Amba, expressed concerns over the proliferation of unregulated private schools in Nigeria. These schools, with the sole aim of making profit, are detrimental to the achievement of quality education for all.

Amba participated in a workshop on the privatisation and commercialisation of education in Nigeria, held on the 28th of June in Abuja, as part of Education International’s Global Response campaign.

“The Nigeria Union of Teachers reiterates its stand against the brazen attempt to legitimise profit making in the provision of education,” Amba declared. “This is antithetical to our quest, desire, and commitment, as a nation, to provide free, inclusive and equitable quality education to all in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4.”

Amba stressed the government’s obligation to guarantee the right to education by providing “free, inclusive, equitable quality education for the benefit of the nation’s children and citizenry”. To achieve this, investment in public education must reach the internationally recommended benchmarks of six per cent of Gross Domestic Product or 20 per cent of the national budget.

According to Education International’s regional director in Africa, Dr Dennis Sinyolo, research has shown that the growing privatisation and commercialisation of education in Nigeria was caused, amongst other factors, by gaps created through poor funding of public schools. Sinyolo called for the strengthening of public education systems, particularly in Africa, through investment in well-supported qualified teachers and a quality learning environment.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Professor Josiah Ajiboye, emphasised the need to increase the education budget and urged the National Assembly “to ensure that it comes to fruition”.

He added that “challenges in the education sector today are coming from the private schools. Commercialisation and privatisation of education is what all Nigerians should stand up against because education is the right of every child.”