A former Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC), Peter Okebukola has said that the acclaimed 26 per cent United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) funding benchmark was nothing but a myth.
Okebukola disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the 8th Convocation and honorary award of doctorate degree of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos.
NAN reports that some Nigerian educational bodies and unions had always agitated for the implementation of “UNESCO-recommended” 26 per cent of national budget benchmark and six per cent of the gross domestic products (GDP) for funding of Education. But Okebukola dismissed the existence of such a benchmark.
“There is nothing like 26 per cent UNESCO benchmark anywhere, it is just a myth.
“In 2001, I was the Executive Secretary of NUC and I started hearing this 26 per cent UNESCO benchmark and wondered where it was coming from because I have been consulting for UNESCO.
“I have been writing on funding the university education everywhere, so I wonder where the recommendation was coming from and I told the then Minister of Education in October 2001 to attend the UNESCO general conference.
“I went to the Director General of UNESCO during the conference and asked about the 26 per cent, but he also wondered which 26 per cent I was talking about,” he said.
Okebukola noted that the acclaimed 26 per cent benchmark had become so popular even among the elite because when you keep telling lies every day it becomes like truth.
He challenged Nigerians to go to Ghana and other countries in world and also check literatures for confirmation.
According to him, they will not find such recommendation anywhere other than in Nigeria.
The Lagos State University professor said the acclaimed benchmark was made popular because it came from a union in the education system and the public is also quoting it.
Okebukola explained that when it comes to issues of funding, UNESCO does not usually peg any percentage.
According to him, UNESCO rather encourages all member states to provide financial resources for the education sector to meet the contextual need of their countries.
“UNESCO just advises countries to examine the decay in your education system and see what kind of money you can invest to address the need, which can be more than 30 or even 50 per cent, ” he said.
Recall that this position was also held by a former Deputy Director at UNESCO, Professor PAI Obanya in an interview with EduCeleb.com. The text of the interview can be found here.