BusinessDay

UBEC says basic education suffering on low commitment by states

The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has said basic education is largely underdeveloped because of low commitment from some state governments to its promotion and development.

The Commission showed that a total of N76 billion representing 20 per cent of the total matching grants of N380 billion released to the agency as at October 31, 2017, is yet to be accessed by the state governments.

Hammid Bobboyi, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, made this known recently in Lagos while delivering the keynote address at a summit on basic education organised by the Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria (EWAN).

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The summit, which was chaired by Michael Omolewa, an emeritus professor and Nigeria’s former Representative to United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), was an intervention initiated by the group, which is peopled by journalists across print, electronic and online, who covers the education sector.

Bobboyi, who was represented at the event by his Deputy, Sharon Oviemuno, said N304 billion representing 80 per cent of the total matching grants has been judiciously utilised to revive the sector.

UBEC listed other challenges confronting it to include the huge figure of out-of-school children about 10 million and youths including the Almajiri and children with special needs and getting them into basic education schools; low level of budgetary allocation to basic education at state and Local Government levels; dwindling government revenue at all levels; general insecurity in schools occasioned by insurgency, kidnapping, rape, among many others.

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“Therefore, we must build on a rich intellectual culture to build a robust educational future not only for the states but for the entire country.”

Micheal Alogba-Olukoya, the National President of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), represented by the Union’s Deputy Chairman in Lagos, Adedoyin Adeshina said education was the bedrock for national development.

He also said the funding of basic primary education should not be handed over to the local government as being proposed, urging stakeholders to intervene.

Ngozi Osarenren, a former Edo State Commissioner for Education, commended the association for coming up with the programme, saying the theme; ‘Whither Basic Education in Nigeria?” was apt and instructive.

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She said until stakeholders decided to give children the best education standard, the country would not be able to meet up with global practices.

According to her, some admission seekers jumped into studying education because they could not meet up with cut-off marks of the initial courses they chose to study.

However, she contended mass failure recorded in Mathematics is a result of teachers skipping some topics in the subject because they don’t know it.

“You cannot give what you don’t have. Teachers that are not versatile enough cannot teach our children”, she added.

Tunbosun Ogundare, the Chairman of EWAN, in his welcome address, said the intervention has become necessary based on the dwindling fortune of education in the country.

He said beyond reporting action was needed on the part of a journalist to mobilise stakeholders to achieve the deserved progress in the nation’s education sector.

STEPHEN ONYEKWELU

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