As part of the efforts to improve the standard of education in Ondo State, the state government has set up an Education Endowment Fund aimed at raising money towards repositioning the education sector in the state.
The endowment fund requires all taxable residents of the state to voluntarily contribute a sum of N1, 000 annually to support the government in funding the education sector of the state.
Speaking with journalists about the development in Akure, the state capital, the state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Femi Agagu, said the state government had set up a board comprising prominent indigenes of the state to judiciously administer and regulate the fund for the development of education at all levels in the state.
According to the commissioner, the number of schools the state government is funding was enormous, hence the need for collective responsibility from all residents to assist the government. He noted that the government was targeting over N1bn annually from the endowment fund if one million people of the state pay their N1,000 levy.
He said, “The fundamental conception is that the fund will have perpetual existence and that all and sundry within Ondo State and beyond will be encouraged and indeed urged to contribute to it according to their abilities and at all times as they feel able to do so.
“Contributions could be once and for all lump sums or periodic remittances of the standing-order type. International and national organisations, as well as individuals within and outside Nigeria, are welcome and strongly encouraged to contribute to the fund.
“Attainment of the desired place for education in our dear state cannot be shouldered by the government alone. Considering the number of schools the government needs to finance, aside from other sectors, funding education must be a collective responsibility. ”
He however mentioned that there was no penalty for whoever could not pay the amount, adding that the government would begin to embark on state-wide sensitisation to inform the people about the significance of funds to the education sector of the state.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa, in his remarks, said the fund would supplement capital projects being implemented in the education sector coupled with the budgetary provisions
“These funds are to enhance whatever the state has been able to do. The board is made up of reputable individuals. Nothing has affected the budget for education.
“We are able to fund our budget. The state is able to meet all its obligations in the budget as per education. This fund is to enhance whatever the state government is doing in the education sector. Whatever the government is able to do will be enhanced. We have met with the workers. What is key is to let people know the importance.”