FG Assures Of Commitment To Achieving Universal Basic Education In Nigeria

The federal government has reiterated its commitment to achieving Universal Basic Education, UBE, in the country just as it identified funding as a critical factor in the transformation of education at the basic level.

The government which recalled that it introduced the UBE Programme in 1999 with the aim of providing greater access to and ensuring the quality of basic education in Nigeria, noted that by strategically allocating funds, Nigeria can create a strong and inclusive education system that empowers its citizens and contributes to the nation’s overall development and prosperity.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr David Adejo, spoke on Tuesday, at the Basic Education Stakeholders Convocation and Report Launch for the Universal Basic Education Funds Tracking Project in Lagos State, held in Abuja.

The event, organised by the Human Development Initiatives, HDI Foundation, marked the end of the Universal Basic Education Funds Tracking, UBEFT Project in Lagos State.

Adejo, who spoke through his representative, Dr Folake Olatunji David, however, solicited the support of partners in the nation’s education sector to create a brighter future for children.

“Adequate funding is a critical factor in transforming basic education in Nigeria. It enables the implementation of essential improvements in infrastructure, teacher training, learning resources, and access to education.

“By strategically allocating funds, Nigeria can create a strong and inclusive education system that empowers its citizens and contributes to the nation’s overall development and prosperity. By embracing these principles, we pave the way for a more prosperous, equitable, and educated Nigeria.

“Nigeria is committed to achieving Universal Basic Education. The Government introduced the UBE Programme in 1999 with the aim of providing greater access to and ensuring the quality of basic education in Nigeria and adopted the UBE Act in 2004.

”This Act stipulates free, compulsory, and Universal Basic Education, from grades 1-9, or six years of primary school followed by three years of junior secondary school (JSS). It also included provisions for the establishment of the UBEC (Federal entity) to coordinate the implementation of the national UBE Program in states and in local government areas through the State Universal Basic Education Boards, SUBEBS and Local Government Education Authorities, LGEAs, respectively” he said.

He explained that “UBEC aims to improve the capacity of states, LGAS and communities in the provision of universal access to quality basic education in Nigeria.”

“While the 2004 UBE Act mandates that the overall financing of basic education is the responsibility of state and local governments, the Federal Government provides support to basic education (in states) through fiscal transfers to the states from the UBE Intervention Fund managed by UBEC. The UBE Intervention Fund receives at least 2 per cent (guaranteed) of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) (total federal government revenue)”, he further explained.

Adejo further explained that ”The most recent Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) 2019 2022 being currently reviewed focuses on addressing system challenges, entrenching strategic planning, and ensuring results-oriented implementation at the national and state levels.”

While noting that, the Human Development Initiative represents a visionary approach to fostering the holistic growth of individuals, with a strong focus on education, health and economic empowerment, he said:” In Nigeria, Basic Education serves as the foundation for a prosperous and inclusive society.”

Earlier, in her welcome address, the Executive Director, Human Development Initiatives, HDI Foundation, Mrs Olufunso Owasanoye, explained that the special event combines an official report launch of the organisation’s monitoring activities, cum tracking of years 2018, 2019 and 2020 Lagos SUBEB action plans with a critical stakeholders’ convocation and dialogue session on basic education development.

She said: “This report which is titled: “Tracking Basic Education Funds in Lagos State: Blessings and Lessons” is a chronicle of HDI’s activities, interventions, successes and challenges in the Basic Education sub-sector in Lagos over the past seven years.

“Indeed, the end of a thing is better than the beginning thereof, according to the Holy Book. The UBEFT project which officially kicked off in the year 2017 has been a highly impactful and interesting one, with its peculiarities. We have encountered different challenges and have had to learn, unlearn and relearn at different stages during the project life.

“It has been a project of intense engagement, with both Government-side actors and Community stakeholders. This is because, in implementing this project, HDI leveraged the Sandwich strategy, introduced by the MacArthur Foundation and was propounded by Jonathan Fox, an American Professor who advocated for a two-pronged approach, where Opening from above meets mobilization from below.

“The project did not merely focus on engagement with government actors to bring about the needed change, but much more, engaged with Community stakeholders including School-Based Management Committees, Parents Forum, Community Development Associations /Committees, among other Rights Holders, to hold the Government to account on matters of Basic Education.

“This multi-level approach to engagement has birthed quite a lot of accomplishments, including local stakeholders now appreciating their roles in the development of basic education; contractors delivering projects in the right quality and quantities; strengthening the capacities of government actors and community stakeholders for effective service delivery in the basic education sector,” she said.

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