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Senate Committee on Education has queried an imbalance in sectoral allocations of the N400. 1 billion as contained in the 2012 budget estimates of the Ministry of Education.

The Senator Uche Chukwumerije-led committee asked why five to seven per cent were allocated to educational institutions in comparison to 65 per cent allocated to the main ministry and its parastatals.

Chukwumerije said this during the Ministry of Education's 2012 budget defence before the committee yesterday.

'I see you having 65 per cent ratio and the educational institutions for which you exist are having only five to seven per cent ratio. Somehow, we must reverse this,' Chukwumerije said.

The Ministry has presented a total allocation of N400, 148,037,983.00 for Senate approval for the year 2012.

Out of this figure, the Ministry got N11, 764,187,275 while parastatals under the ministry were allocated N42, 642,379,462.

All federal polytechnics and Colleges of Education would get N60, 967,892,502 and N42, 590,609,535 respectively.

Federal universities got a total allocation of N206, 372,593,315 while unity colleges would receive N35, 157,722,794 this year.

The committee also queried some parastatals for spending their internally generated revenue without legislative approval. In their response, they said it was as a result of shortfall in budgetary allocation.

In her remarks during the budget defence, Education Minister, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa'i said the thrust of the 2012 budget is anchored on six priority areas, including strengthening institutional management of education, standard and quality assurance to improve education products, as well as strengthen teacher education and development. Others include access and equity, funding, partnerships and resources mobilization, as well as technical and vocational education and training.

The Minister added that the ministry was given an indicative expenditure ceiling of N55, 056,589,805 for the 2012 fiscal year.

In his reaction, Chukwumerije said that although the year's allocation represents about N43.6 billion increases from the previous year and a little over nine per cent of the total national budget proposal for the year, it was still a far cry from the 26 per cent UNESCO recommendation.

The chairman blamed the current challenges confronting the education on poor funding, outdated curricula and poor remunerations for members of staff.