CLAIM: Oyo State Government’s 2021 Budgetary Allocation For Education Aligns With UNESCO’s Recommendation

Olakunle Mohammed, Adeyemi Okediran 

On November 23, 2020, the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde presented an N266.64 billion Appropriation Bill for the 2021 fiscal year to the state’s House of Assembly.

The 2021 budget proposal, tagged: ‘Budget of Continued Consolidation’, has N130,381,283,295.63 as capital expenditure and N136,262,990,009.41 as recurrent expenditure.

Allocation to the education sector in the budget is N56.35 billion; Infrastructure got N46.07 billion; Agriculture got N9.58 billion; Health got N13.29 billion in the 2021 proposed budget.

During the governor’s address to the assembly after laying the budget, he said the allocation to the education sector is well above the recommendation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

VERIFICATION

N-VA went on to fact-check Oyo state’s education allocation in the 2021 budget and the UNESCO recommendation mentioned by Makinde in his speech.

A breakdown of the state’s budget revealed that the Education sector had an allocation of N56,348,375,635.55 which represented 21 percent of the N266.64 billion Appropriation Bill.

Also, the current allocation for education has an increase of about N12 billion when compared to that of 2020.

WHAT IS UNESCO’S RECOMMENDATION ON THE EDUCATION BUDGET?

There is a viral claim that UNESCO recommends that budgetary allocation of states or countries to the education sector should be between 15-20 percent.

A search through UNESCO’s website revealed that the education allocation recommendation came from meetings held by the Education For All (EFA) and the independent annual reports published on this global movement.

What is EFA?

EFA is a global movement led by UNESCO in partnership with 164 governments and various organizations around the world, with a collective commitment to expand educational opportunities for children, youth, and adults by 2015.

The EFA was adopted by The Dakar Framework in April 2000 at the World Education Forum in Senegal. UNESCO was mandated to lead the movement and coordinate efforts that will ensure that education reaches all children, especially primary education.

EFA is pursued as an extension of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): the goals number two—universal primary education— and three — gender equality in education.

UNESCO initiated the EFA global monitoring reports (GMR) to monitor progress, highlight remaining gaps and provide recommendations for the global sustainable development agenda to follow in 2015.

Is there an Education Budget Recommendation by UNESCO?

Available documents revealed that the conclusions of the Sixth meeting of the High-Level Group on EFA which was held in Cairo from 14 to 16 November 2006, highlighted a recommendation under ‘Support and Financing,’ stating that:

“Developing country governments will continue to increase the proportion of national budgets allocated to education, seeking to reach 4%-6% of GNP for education.”

Though, there is no mention of a 15-20% budget benchmark in 2001, 2006 and 2008 EFA reports but the annual GMR gives account and analysis of Public current expenditure on education as a percentage of GNP and as a percentage of total government expenditure.

However, A UNESCO monitoring report titled, “Education for All, 2000-2015: Achievement and Challenges,” was released in 2015 as part of the Dakar framework for action. The report recommended governments to take lead in increasing financial commitments to EFA, with the EFA high-level steering committee proposing that 15 per cent to 20 per cent of annual budgets be earmarked for education.

Chapter 8 under the sub-heading, ‘Changing national financial commitments to EFA since Dakar,’ states that: “In 2006, the High-level Group on EFA proposed that governments should spend between 4 per cent and 6 per cent of GNP on education and that, within government budgets, between 15% and 20% should be earmarked for education.”

Also, the World Education Forum 2015 Final Report (published by UNESCO), dubbed the ‘The Incheon Declaration,’ in honour of the WEF forum held in Incheon, the Republic of Korea in May 2015. referenced the 20% benchmark.

Chapter 4 under the title, ‘Beyond the Incheon: rising up to the challenges of implementation,’ paraphrased that, “Many governments have increased spending, but few have prioritized education in national budgets, and most fall short of allocating the recommended international benchmark of 20 percent of public expenditure needed to bridge funding gaps.“

Meanwhile, Premium Times had earlier published a fact-check report on the UNESCO education recommendation, using available open-source documents and interviews with top echelons at the UNESCO’s office in Nigeria. It clarified that the educational organization recommended 15-20% budget allocation.

CONCLUSION

Based on the UNESCO’s official records from the EFA global reports and World Education Forum 2015, the claim that Oyo State Government’s 2021 budgetary allocation for education aligns with UNESCO recommendation is TRUE.

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