Nigeria’s Budget Allocation to Education From 1999-2020: The Perception of Sokoto State Education Stakeholders

This article is published in the FUGUS Journal of Public Administration and Management, Volume 2, Number 1, October 2023. FUJPAM is a peer-reviewed journal of the Department of Public Administration, Federal University Gusau, Nigeria. You can check below to download a full PDF of the article or visit the journal website at https://www.fujpam.com.



Dr. Ibrahim Yaro
Department of Public Administration,
Faculty of Management Sciences,
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, P.M.B. 2346, Sokoto, Nigeria
E-mail: yaro048@yahoo.com
Phone: +2348065672066


Bello Abubakar
Department of Public Administration,
College of Administration and Business Studies,
Umaru Shinkafi Polytechnic, P.M.B. 2356, Sokoto, Nigeria
E-mail: belloa323@gmail.com
Phone: +2348063449876


The ability of nations to develop depends on the education of the citizens. This also, depends on the amount of funds allocated to education sector. In view of this, UNESCO recommends allocating 26% of a country’s total annual budget to education in order to achieve quality output. In Nigeria for the past two decades, the funds allocated to education is inadequate. This resulted to unproductive nature of the education system. This study therefore, investigates the perceptions of Sokoto state education stakeholders on Nigeria’s budget allocation to education from 1999 to 2020. The stakeholders are ministry level stakeholders including policy formulators and policy implementers, legislative stakeholders i.e. the law-makers, school-based stakeholders including principals and teachers, and lastly, the societal stakeholders including parents. Qualitative method was used in analyzing the responses of the research participants. The findings revealed inadequate budget allocation to education in Nigeria and therefore, recommends more funding by the government. The government should in addition to this, ensure that education budgets are fully implemented. Government should also partner with private individuals to collaboratively and adequately fund education. Again, the personnel responsible for managing the funds should be train to have fiscal discipline in order to judiciously utilize the funds.

Keywords: Education funding, Budget allocation, Education Stakeholders, Nigeria


Government activities and programs depend so much on of financial resources. Indeed, availability of sufficient financial resources enables bureaucracies to function actively, and this makes it possible for them to effectively implement government policies (Abdullahi, 2013; Mathew, 2013; Kpolovie, 2013; Innocent, 2010). The need for adequate disbursement and judicious utilization of funds has therefore, become paramount for effective functioning of government institutions (Kpolovie & Obilor, 2013). As a result of the significance of this vital ingredient (financial resources),it is often said that the development of any nation largely depends on the quality of the educational standards of its citizens which is also depends on the amount of financial resources budgeted and allocated to the education sector (Ololube et al., 2012).The importance of financial resources in an educational set-up could therefore, not be over-emphasized.

It should be noted however that adequate education funding is a pre-requisite to achieving academic excellence (Greg & Agboro, 2014; Ejiog, Okeze & Chinedu, 2013; Oseni, 2012; and Adeyemi, 2011). Against this background, adequate budget allocation to education sector need to be given utmost concern by the government. Because with sufficient budget allocation, the goals and philosophy of education as outlined in the National Policy on education could eventually be achieved. These goals as outlined in the National Policy on education (2013) are:

a.             The development of the individual into morally sound, patriotic and effective citizen

b.            Total integration of the individual into the community, the Nigerian society and the world.

c.             Provision of equal access to qualitative educational opportunities for all citizens at all levels of education (primary, secondary and tertiary) within and outside the formal education system.

d.            Inculcating national consciousness, values and national unity.

e.             Development of appropriate skills, mental physical and social abilities and competencies and empower the individual to live in and contribute positively to the society (National policy on education, 2013, p.2).

The focus of this study is to investigate the perceptions of Sokoto state education stakeholders with regards to budgetary allocation to education in Nigeria as a whole. This is based on the fact that focusing on a single set of respondents that can provide the required information is better than obtaining the information from several or multiple set of respondents (Delbrio, Fernandez and Jonquière 2007). Apart from this, the choice of this set of respondents (i.e. Sokoto state education stakeholders) was due to the fact that Sokoto state is considered as one of the less developed states in terms of education in Nigeria. The adult and youth literacy rate in the state stands at 33.1% and 22.1% respectively (National Bureau of Statistics, 2010). This showed a drastic fall of educational standard in the state.

Another issue which also rampant in most public schools across the country, is the issue of inadequate infrastructures and facilities for effective teaching and learning in the state, lack of which leads to producing sub-standard graduates (Innocent, 2013; Bateye & Ogunyemi, 2015). For these reasons, the opinion of education stakeholders from the state were sought so as to identify the cause of the problem in Nigeria by taking budgetary allocation to education as a parameter. The education stakeholders that participated in the research are:

·               Ministry level stakeholders: whereby one policy formulator and one policy implementer were selected from the ministry of education Sokoto state.

·               State-legislative stakeholders: whereby three policy formulators from the Sokoto state Legislative Arm of Government or House of Assembly were selected.

·               School-based stakeholders: whereby five school administrators were selected.

·               Societal stakeholders: in which four parents were selected.

Problem Statement

Governments in Nigeria use education as an instrument for developing and moving the nation forward (Kazeem& Ige, 2010). Because education helps in no small measure in changing individual’s lives to be useful members within the society, and this is one of the goals of education in Nigeria. But despite this, and in spite of the fact that education is considered by the United Nation as a public good that no child should be denied (Dorathy, 2009), education sector in Nigeria is still being underfunded (Obi & Obi, 2014; Bright, Mercy & Henry, 2012). This apparently results to non-implementation of educational policies as well as the unproductive nature of the system. Peter and Isaac (2013), Sofoluwe (2012) and Adeyemi (2011) noted that the issue of education funding in Nigeria is alarming to the extent that the amount budgeted and allocated to the sector over the years, is insufficient to take care of the educational needs. In 2012 for instance, twenty (20) countries Nigeria inclusive, were sampled in order to determine the level of education funding. Out of these countries, Nigeria was the least, with education budget allocation of 8.4%. Ghana, Cote d’voire and Uganda are the top budget allocators to education in their respective countries in that year, with budget allocation of 31%, 30% & 27% respectively as in Table 1.


Table 1: Budgetary Allocation to Education of 20 sampled countries in 2012



% allocation




% allocation











Cote d’voire




U.S. A




















South Africa




Burkina Faso




























U.A. E














(Last) 20th

Source: World Bank, 2012

Budget allocation to education in Nigeria is against the recommendations of UNESCO. Accordingly, UNESCO recommends that for a country to have quality educational outcome, it should allocate at least 26% of its total annual budget to the education sector. Available statistics indicated that there has never been a year from 1999 to 2020 that the budget allocation to education in Nigeria exceeded 13%. This made the educational standard to be very low (Kazeem and Ige, 2010). Indeed, education sector in Nigeria witnessed consistent degradation over the years. Graduates of the educational system are often described as lacking in quality, low in perception and unfit in skills to the extent that employers have to send new recruits for more training and refresher courses in order to fit in the organization. The current trend of educational system in Nigeria is worrisome and threatens the future of Nigeria as a nation.

Furthermore, even with the meager amount of budget allocated to the education sector, had it been what has been allocated is fully implemented and judiciously utilized, there is bound to be a change no matter how insignificant it is. Nwagu (2015) noted that the Nigerian government failed to realize the full objectives of budgets from time immemorial, education budgets inclusive, due to ineffective implementation. Other factors that served as stumbling blocks include embezzlement and fraudulent activities (Felix, 2013). This clearly showed that apart from being inadequate, education budgets in Nigeria also face other serious drawbacks that made it difficult or almost impossible to accomplish policy goals. The objective of this research therefore, was to investigate Nigeria’s budget allocation to education from 1999 to 2020, from the viewpoint and perceptions of Sokoto state education stakeholders.

Literature Review

Budget: A Conceptual Clarification

Provision of essential goods and services for the purpose of enhancing social and economic well-being of the citizens is the responsibility of most governments. To accomplish this goal, government usually allocates financial resources to all sectors of the economy for the purpose of achieving economic plans among other objectives. The disbursement or allocation of the financial resources usually comes through the budget. Oke, (2013) opined that budget is an instrument stipulating policies and programs aimed at realizing the development objectives of a government. It is also seen as a financial or quantitative statement prepared and approved over a period of time for achieving a given objective (Nwagu, 2003). Similarly, Meigs and Meigs, (2004) defined budget as a detailed financial plan, setting forth the expected means of accomplishing financial and operational aims of an organization over a given period of time, usually one year. It is also described by Sachdeva and Sogani, (1980) as a document containing planned financial statement of estimates of revenue and expenditure for a year. The planning function of the budget helps to specify concrete achievement targets over the budgeted period, and determines how they are to be attained.


Budget allocation to education otherwise known as education financing, as an aspect of public finance embraces all aspects of education funding including the sources of the funds and how the money earmarked for education are spent especially for the purchase of goods and the services of men and materials (Agbobu 1983, Borokhovich, Bricker, Zivney and Sundaram, 1995). The fundamental reason for education financing is to prepare people for adaptation into the larger society through acquisition of useful knowledge, skills and capacity to gain knowledge of new techniques of production in order to be able to participate actively in development processes.

Trend of Nigeria’s Budget Allocation to Education:1999 to 2020

From 1999to date i.e. 2021, Nigeria is under a democratic system of government. It is however, believed that democratic governments usually provide more development in terms of improved education, sound health care services, adequate security and many more dividends. As such the reason for choosing this scope (1999 – 2020).During this period however, the budget allocation to education sector in Nigeria, showed an inconsistent and fluctuating figures, in addition to meager or inadequate amount being allocated as indicated in Table 2.For instance between 1999 and 2000, there is an increase in the allocation to the sector from 4.46% to 8.71%. This percentage allocation decreased in 2001 to 7. 13%. Again, there is a decrease in the subsequent year (2002) from 7.13 to 6.90%. However, in 2003, the budgetary allocation slightly increases from 6.90% to 7.75%. This amount drastically decreases in 2004 to 5.24%. But in 2005, the allocation increases to 8.21% an indication that the government is trying to do something better to the sector. In 2006, the percentage allocation again increases to 10.43% but slightly decreases in 2007 to 9.75%. In 2008, the percentage allocation increased to 10.04%. Between 2008 and 2010, there was a substantial decrease in the budgetary allocation to the education sector. The total percentage allocation for the period was 8.79% and 7.37% for the year 2009 and 2010 respectively. 

However, it is good to note that the budget allocation to education for the year 2011 differs from that of 2010 as there was an increase from 7.37% in 2010 to 9.32% in 2011. This further decreases in 2012 to 8.4%. While the allocation for 2013 and 2014 stands at 10.21% and 10.63% respectively, indicating a slight increase from the allocation of 2012. There was also a drastic decrease in the budget allocation from 2015 to 2020 with less than 10% of the total budget allocated to the sector for each year within that period.

Government’s budget allocation to education in Nigeria in the last two decades, indicated government’s lack of political will to spend appropriately on the sector. Perhaps this might be the reason for the unproductive nature of the sector and the reason why the sector has not been able to deliver over the years (Yaro, Rozita & Dani, 2015). Indeed, lots of problems emanates from inadequate budget allocation to education including absence of quality teachers. It is a well-known fact that 'no education can rise above the quality of its teachers. There is therefore, the need for these vital ingredients (quality teachers) because they are the nation builders. They are also the ultimate drivers of student’s achievement, and guides in creating suitable learning environment (Sacilotto, 2013; Harford). At present, most of the qualified teachers are leaving public schools to private schools that have better salary packages. In some instances, the qualified teachers in public schools are flying abroad in search of greener pasture, due to poor remuneration. This is indeed worrisome and affects quality output.


Table 2. Budgetary Allocation to Education in Nigeria from 1999 to 2020



% Budget Allocation



% Budget Allocation



































































Source: Field Work 2020


This research adopts the qualitative research approach in obtaining and analyzing the data. The choice of this research approach was informed by the fact that qualitative research method enables obtaining accurate and reliable information from the knowledge and experience of the research participants, especially in instances where there is no fear of consequences (Miles & Huberman, 1994). The research as well relied on secondary data from researches conducted in the field including review of empirical studies on budget allocation to education.


Research Interviewees and Sampling

A total of fifteen (15) research participants were selected for the study, but only six (6) of them spoke the issue. This is because the current research is part of a research conducted in order to find out what constitute quality education from the viewpoint and or perceptions of Sokoto state education stakeholders. However, “Adequate budget allocation to education”, is among the sub-themes that constitute quality education according to the research (Yaro, Rozita and Dani, 2017). Selection of the 15 research participants conformed to the views of Adler and Adler (2011), whom suggested that a total of twelve (12) interviews are adequate enough for a qualitative study.

Again, having the views of only six (6) research interviewees is in order because it is in line with what Creswell (2013) pointed out that the participation of between 4 to 5 people in a qualitative case study is acceptable. A purposeful sampling strategy was also used in selecting the research participants in order to obtain broad representation. Because in qualitative studies, authors usually select research participants that can purposely provide the necessary information about the study’s central concern (Creswell, Vicky & Clark, 2007).


Data Analysis Technique

The data collected through interviews were analyzed through thematic analysis which enables data coding and categorizing data into themes and sub-themes (Descombe, 2003; Gibson, 2006; McNamara, 2009). The data was first recorded during interview and later transcribed and transferred to the Nvivo 10 software for further analysis.

Results and Discussions

The theme obtained through the research on education funding is elaborated through the interpretive discussion that follows. Verbatim quotes are used to substantiate the theme.

Interpretation and discussion on the theme

The research interviewees said a lot about budget allocation to education in Nigeria. Most of them attest to the fact that the education sector is underfunded and calls for proactive measures in order to adequately address the situation. Extracts of some of their views are as follows:

One of the research participants stressed the need for increasing budget allocation to education so as achieve economic independence. According to him, without adequate funding, academic excellence will not be ensured and as such, the ability of such country to grow will be minimal or almost impossible. He stated that:

“As a matter of utmost importance, educational funding should be improved. Because the strength and ability of any nation to grow and achieve economic independence depends on the education acquired by its citizens which also depends on the amount of funds budgeted and allocated to the education sector

Another research participant also highlighted on the need for adequate educational funding in order to make the required facilities and infrastructures available, as well as for the purpose of training and re-training of teachers. This become necessary because without trained/quality teachers, effective teaching and learning will not take place. The aim of ensuring quality education will therefore, not be achieved. He stated that:

“Government should allocate enough funds for the provision of the required facilities such as furniture and conducive learning atmosphere for both staff and students. Funds are as well required for the training and re-training of teachers in order to achieve the philosophy and goals of education”


Indeed, instructional materials and infrastructure are instrumental in the teaching and learning process and is supported by the literature. Isola et al. (2011) and Adebule (2009) pointed out that adequate use of instructional materials increases student’s academic achievements. Instructional materials consist of items such as teacher manuals; textbooks; media collections; computer software; print and non-print materials; and video and audio recordings. They can also be consumables or non-consumables, depending on the nature of the teaching.

Similarly, Ige (2013) described school infrastructure as resources and items that enable effective teaching and learning in schools. Infrastructure includes buildings for academic and non-academic activities, equipment for academic and non-academic activities, areas for
sports and games, landscape, farms and gardens including trees, roads and paths, furniture and toilet facilities, lighting, acoustics, storage facilities and special facilities for physically
challenged persons (Ihuoma, 2008). Joseph and Philias (2013) observed that quality of
infrastructure is a strong contributing factor to student academic achievement. The
availability of both infrastructure and instructional materials has a great impact on teacher’s
effectiveness as well as students’ academic achievements which could further guarantee the
attainment of quality education (Ayeni and Adelabu, 2012; Asiyai, 2012).

Conducive atmosphere on the other hand, or high-quality learning environments suggests attention to three elements: physical, psychosocial and service delivery (UNICEF, 2000). The physical elements consist of high-quality school facilities, interaction between the school infrastructure and other quality dimensions as well as the class size. The psychosocial element consists of peaceful and safe environment, teacher’s behavior as it affects safety, an inclusive environment and non-violence. The service delivery element consists of the provision of academic and all-round health services.

Going further, a research participant re-iterated the need for private sector/individual’s participation in education funding. This is in spite of the fact that it is the government’s responsibility. In other words, private sector should invest in education. According to him,the responsibility is too much for the government to shoulder alone, as such the need for other stakeholders to come in. He stated that:

“Other stakeholders like the non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), community members and wealthy individuals in the society should come and invest in education because government cannot shoulder the responsibility of funding education alone. With this, the unproductive nature of the education system will drastically reduce”.

The view of the above research participant was further supported by another research participant who also supported the idea of private sector involvement in education funding. He stated that:

“Government should partner with private organizations and wealthy individuals interested in investing in education so that collaboratively, education can be fully funded. This will eventually give room for ensuring education quality”.


The above views are further supported by another research participant; who pointed out that in as much as an improvement is needed in education quality, there is the need for coming in of other stakeholders to invest in education. Because the responsibility is so huge to the extent that it becomes difficult for the government to take care of alone. He stated that:

“The responsibility of building classrooms, construction of hostels, laboratories, paying teachers’ salaries etc. etc. is too much for the government to shoulder alone. Other relevant education stakeholders need to come in so that collaboratively education can be adequately funded. With this, education quality could be improved”.

Bernard (2014) emphasized on collaborative efforts and synergy between the various education stakeholders and government officials charged with the responsibility of education provision. This portrays the relevance of stakeholder’s involvement in education establishment. As pointed out by Yusuph and Habibu (2015), stakeholder participation improves education quality. Similarly, Ayeni (2014) maintained that provision of quality education is a collective responsibility. Again, Takalani, Lufuno and Humbulani (2014) pointed out that quality education is paramount to national development, which is guaranteed through involvement or participation of stakeholders. In the light of these, Odia and Omofomwan (2007), supported the idea of increased education funding as well as private sector investment in education. Because apart from the benefit of increase in educational funding, stakeholder participation promotes effectiveness and efficiency of procedures for quality improvement and also improves quality of decision making (Brussels, 2011; Mualuko, Mukasa and Judi, 2009). Therefore, all hands must be on deck, so that collaboratively education can be fully funded.

In another view, a research participant indicated the need for an improvement in teacher’s welfare and motivation so as to boost teacher’s morale towards achieving academic excellence. the research participant stated that:

“In as much as there is the need for achieving educational policy goals of ensuring academic excellence, teachers should be adequately motivated. To do this however, government need to make sure that adequate funds are allocated to the education sector”.   

Teacher’s welfare is of paramount importance in an educational system as it leads to a school’s effectiveness (Emmanuel, Gbadegesin & Kemi, 2015).  Emmanuel, Gbadegesin and Kemi (2015) further pointed out that highly motivated teachers perform much better than teachers that are not. Teacher welfare in terms of salary increases and promotions, as at when due, is associated with student’s academic achievements (Victoria, Abayomi & Rotimi, 2015). Educational funding should therefore be increased as this is capable of ensuring that the right and quality teachers are employed and motivated.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Based on the responses obtained from the knowledge and experience of the research participants as well as the extant literature reviewed, it was observed that Nigeria’s budget allocation to education is grossly inadequate to carter for the needs of the nation’s educational system. This apparently led to ineffective implementation of education policies and non-achievement of the goals and philosophy of education in Nigeria. In the last two decades, to be precise from 1999 to 2020, the budgetary allocation to the sector is less than 13% for each fiscal year. This contradicts the recommendations of UNESCO of allocating at least 26% of a country’s total budget to education sector. UNESCO’s recommendation is aimed at ensuring that the required instructional materials including facilities and conducive learning atmosphere are provided in order to achieve academic excellence.

The incidence of inadequate budget allocation to education in Nigeria led to the dilapidated nature of most of the schools as well as the unproductive nature of the education system itself. This is indeed worrisome and threatens the future of the country as a nation. Concrete measures therefore, need to be taken in order to salvage the situation. to do this however, the research recommend the followings:

1.Those in power should remember or be reminded that they made a lot of promises to the electorates during campaigns, one of which is the provision of quality education to the younger generation and indeed to the entire populace. They should therefore, stick to their promises and allocate enough funds to the education sector. Because adequate education funding is a pre-requisite to achieving the goals and philosophy of education in Nigeria, which is aimed at developing and harnessing individual’s talents and capabilities. If this is done, definitely, things will change for the better.


2.There should be stakeholder participation in education establishment. In other words, education stakeholders should join hands with the government in funding education. Wealthy individuals and other private institutions gaining profits from their businesses in the society, should be made to know that it is only when the society is safe and free of social vices that their business can prosper. However, societies got free of social vices only when the citizens are educated. They should therefore, join hands with the government so that collaboratively, education can be fully funded. This will eventually give room for imparting sound education and inducing good moral values to the citizens especially the younger ones so that they can be useful members in the society.


3. The personnel responsible for managing education funds should be trained to have fiscal discipline. Because even if huge amount is allocated to the sector, once there is no fiscal discipline on the part of those charged with educational funds management, the funds allocated to different segments of the education sector will be misappropriated. This will perhaps make effective implementation of education policies very difficult or almost impossible.



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