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Universal Basic Education in Nigeria

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By Mercy Kelani

Funding is required to transform the educational sector of the country.

In Nigeria, the Federal Government has renewed its agreement to achieving Universal Basic Education (UBE) as it recognised funding as a major factor at the foundational level in education transformation. Recalling from the past, in 1999, the government initiated the UBE Programme with the major objective to ensure and provide massive access to quality education in Nigeria at the basic level. Strategically, Nigeria can establish an inclusive and strong educational system through the allocation of funds which will contribute to the nation’s development and empower the citizens.

Mr. David Adejo, The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, spoke on August 8th in Abuja at the Report Launch for the UBE Funds Tracking Project in Lagos State and the Basic Education Stakeholders Convocation, through Dr. Folake Olatunji David, his representative, soliciting support from partners in the sector across the nation to ensure a more quality future for the country. He stated that to transform basic education enough funding is crucial in Nigeria. This will enable execution of necessary improvement in training teachers and developing infrastructure.

UBE Act in 2004 advocates Universal, compulsory and free education.

Adejo said that strategic allocation of funds will aid Nigeria to establish a strong sector that will develop the nation’s prosperity. The adoption of the UBE Act 2004 was the aim of the government to ensure greater access to basic education. The bill “UBE Act in 2004” stipulates Universal, compulsory and free education, ranging from six years of primary school or basic grades 1-9, which is then followed by the junior secondary school (JSS). Also, the establishment of the UBEC (Federal entity) has provisions to organise the enactment of national UBE Program in Local Government Areas through Local Government Education Authorities (LGEA), the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEBS), and the national board.

He discussed that UBEC aims to develop communities through the provision of quality and basic education with universal access, also beneficial for LGAs in the country. The mandate of 2004 UBE Act on local, Federal and state governments says overall financing of basic education is within their duties to give support to elementary schools, through fiscal transfers from UBE Intervention Fund under the administration of UBEC to the states. 2 percent is guaranteed to be received by the UBE Intervention Fund of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

It works as the foundation for an inclusive society.

Further explanation was given by Adejo, explaining that, recently, 2019/2022 Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) has been evaluated to ensure results-oriented implementation, entrench strategic planning, and address system challenges at the state and national levels. The Human Development Initiative portrayed a visionary approach to foster economic and health empowerment, solid focus on education, and growth of individuals. He added that Basic Education works as the foundation for an inclusive and prosperous society in Nigeria. Mrs. Olufunso Owasanoye, the Executive Director of Human Development Initiatives, HDI Foundation, stated in her welcome address that the event merges tracking of years 2018, 2019 and 2020 Lagos SUBEB action plans with a concrete stakeholders’ dialogue session and convocation and the official report launch of the monitoring activities of the organisation.

She stated that the report titled “Tracking Basic Education Funds in Lagos State: Blessings and Lessons” is the account of HDI’s activities, challenges, successes and interventions in this sub-sector over the past seven years in Lagos. Mrs. Olufunso said that The UBEFT project was officially initiated in 2017 and it has been an amazingly interesting and resourceful one with its features. Although various difficulties have been encountered and lessons have been learned at various levels in the process of the project.

HDI leveraged on the Sandwich strategy by MacArthur Foundation.

The partnership between Community stakeholders and Government-side actors has been an intense project. HDI leveraged MacArthur Foundation’s “the Sandwich strategy” during implementation of this project, which was propounded by an American Professor, Jonathan Fox, who adopted a two-pronged strategy. The project focused on engaging stakeholders from the community which includes Community Development Associations, Parents Forum, School-Based Management Committees, and other Right Holders that hold matters of Basic Education in high regard to the Government. There are lots of achievements from the multi-level approach which includes appreciation from local stakeholders.

Related Link

UBEC: Website 

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