Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, recently expressed grave concerns about Nigeria’s current state of education. According to him, the nation is in the midst of a profound learning emergency that necessitates urgent measures to be taken. Bobboyi, in his speech at a stakeholder conference in Abuja, emphasized the urgent need to address the learning crisis. He warned that if left unattended, this crisis could impede Nigeria’s progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This conference, titled Dialogue on Reading Initiative in the UBE Programme and the Use of Mother Tongue/Language of Immediate Environment as Medium of Instruction, lasted for two days.
According to a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), it has been revealed by the UBEC boss that an alarming percentage of children between the ages of 6 to 14 in Nigeria lack the ability to comprehend a text or solve elementary math problems. Specifically, it is estimated that approximately 75% of Nigerian children in this age group struggle with basic literacy and numeracy skills.
Limited availability of instructional materials is a challenge.
In light of this, he implored all participants attending the discussion to engage in open and honest conversations, striving to generate concrete measures that would not only benefit UBEC but also address the concerns of all involved parties, thereby improving the current state of affairs. The issue at hand persists, despite the significant efforts put forth by the Federal Government, State Governments, and International Development Partners. Numerous interventions have been carried out to combat this longstanding problem, yet the challenge continues to persist, defying the substantial amount of resources invested in its resolution.
This issue can be attributed to multiple factors. One major factor is the limited availability of instructional materials, particularly those related to the language used in the immediate surroundings. Additionally, the quality of teaching is poor, and parental guidance is inadequate. Another contributing factor is the lackadaisical attitude of States towards implementing the language policy, which emphasizes using the mother tongue or the language of the immediate environment as the medium of instruction in the lower grades of Basic Education.
Learning Crisis is a matter of concern for UBEC.
He emphasized that acknowledging the significance of essential education is crucial for fostering active participation in society, ensuring long-lasting progress, strengthening unity within a nation, and promoting harmony and success. Consequently, the imperative for engaging in meaningful discussions on these vital matters cannot be stressed enough, he concluded. He acknowledges that the Learning Crisis is a matter of concern for UBEC, however, they refuse to be discouraged by this predicament and are fully committed to tackling it head-on.
To overcome this issue, UBEC has devised a plan to solicit input from various stakeholders and utilize these insights to construct comprehensive strategies for transforming the current state of affairs. Prof. Ismail Junaidu, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), emphasized the urgent need to put into effect the National Language Policy during his powerful keynote speech. The goal and vision of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) is to establish a globally recognized organization that focuses on enhancing and regulating the quality of elementary education in Nigeria, in order to ensure consistency, excellence, and practicality.
Related Article: Universal Basic Education in Nigeria
The mission statement of the UBEC is to enhance the accessibility of high-quality basic education in Nigeria. To achieve this, there is a need for a proactive intervention agency with the mandate of coordinating, monitoring, and improving the capabilities of states, local government agencies, and communities. This agency aims to ensure unhindered provision of education by progressively enhancing the capacity of stakeholders involved. Truthfulness and Responsibility, Uprightness and Openness, and Collaboration fused with Dedication are the core values of the Commission.