*UBEC laments low access to matching grant funds
Stakeholders at the second national conference of Fafunwa Education Foundation (FEF) have highlighted the factors hindering quality teaching and learning of basic education in the country, saying until all the challenges are addressed, it may be difficult for Nigeria to attain the desired heights.This is even as the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi lamented slow access to the UBE matching grant funds by state governments.
Various speakers at the event solidly maintained that effective implementation of UBE across the states is one sure way of achieving developmental goals, hence appealed to state governments to critically address issues and challenges in the implementation of the programme.
Bobboyi who presented a paper titled, “Issues and challenges in the implementation of universal basic education in Nigeria,” warned that any nation that neglects the subsector is undoubtedly putting serious obstacles on its path to national greatness.
“The task of realising a qualitative and functional basic education has always served as a key indicator of how seriously a nation takes its future and its role in human capital formation, including socio-economic development. It should also be pointed out that societies that place a high premium on building a universal, qualitative and functional basic education sector have found it easier to pursue dynamic socio-economic policies and to realise their developmental goals. The Republic of Korea is a case in point.”
“Sadly, in Nigeria, lack of political will and commitment on the part of some state governments leading to slow rate of accessing matching grant funds is a challenge. Also, actors in the sector are acting at variance with one another and in the end undermining learning. Poor attitude to learning assessment and disregard of evidence to guide innovation and practice is also a huge challenge.”
He listed other challenges to include increased number of out-of-school children and youths; dwindling government revenue at all levels; general insecurity in schools occasioned by insurgency, kidnapping, rape; low quality and inadequacy of teaching staff; lack of synergy between education actors at the state level; low level of budgetary allocation to basic education and slow assess of matching grant by states. He described late Prof. Babs Fafunwa, as a quintessential scholar who achieved the “major firsts” in the sector.
Also the keynote speaker and Professor of Educational Evaluation, University of Benin, Benin City, Omaze Anthony Afemikhe, who spoke on “Functionality of UBE in Nigeria,” stressed the need for implementers to move further than UBEC is presently doing, adding that such will make the functionality of basic education easily discernible.“Basic education has come to stay. Among its goals are acquisitions of basic skills. These are to prepare graduates who can live effectively and efficiently in modern society and contribute to the growth of the society. Attempts have been made to find out how well it is functioning with regard to acquisition of skills.