AN ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION IN TOTO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF NASSARAWA STATE
It is today universally accepted that Education is the fountain and foundation of all wisdom, therefore, the importance of education in any community cannot be overemphasized. Education is the major factor for sustainable development as well as a strong pillar around which every other action revolves. This is because education is the most necessary and effective weapon identified by the world over advancement of human progress and development. For rapid socio – economics and social political development of Nigeria, education or at least the basic one is indispensable (Wales,1996).
The biggest obstacle that needs immediate attention in Nigeria and other developing countries is how to reach the unreached. Education wise, how to take education to the door steps of the masses. A lot of researchers found that between 65% to 70% of children do not go to school. From analysis made by stakeholders, it was obvious that the explanations advanced that low enrolment among others was mostly financial. Many parents find it hard to enroll their children in the school and where they do, many of the children do not stay to complete their studies due to financial problem, poverty and low level of awareness on the needs to send children to school. The Universal Primary Education (UPE) Scheme was the first attempt at the national level by government to establish a universal education programme in Nigeria. It was launched in 1976 by President Obasanjo, the then Military Head of State, compared to the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme launched in 1999 (Isyaku, 2000).
The objectives of the UPE were more modest and directed by what was perceived to be the needs of the nation at the time it was; To ensure that every Nigerian child from age of six, attended primary school and remained therefore the next six years, under a free education scheme funded by the federal and state government (Obasanjo, 1999).
It is of interest to note that the UPE was not a total failure as general opinion tends to portray. This was so because the programme recorded and increased in the number of children in primary school from 6 million in 1977 when it started to `12 million in 1980 (Obasanjo, 1999).
The obstacle UPE faced, began from the middle of the 1980s were also acknowledged. The problems faced them were categorized in three broad groups. First, is the population explosion of the 1980s which led to sudden astronomical rise in the number of school age children who could not be accommodated within the existing school structure, this was in turn due to inadequate schools and acute shortage of trained and qualified teachers. Second was the decline in national revenue which militated against the allocation of sufficient funds for the expansion and quality improvement of the scheme. The third and final problem was political instability in the country which caused confusion in terms of what priority should be given to advance education at all levels for UPE to go beyond mere recommitment and for it to represent the actualization of the “expand vision”, all hands must be on deck (of those who lead, the led and those who stand between the leaders and the led) must occupy sincerity, transparency and accountability to implement the UBE programmes.
There was a world conference on education held in Jomtien, Thailand in 1991 which was popularly called Education for all (EFA). This conference was sponsored by the effort of some of the world organizations and attracted all the Ministers of Education from all the countries of the world. The outcome of the world conference on education was the recommendation of the concept of ‘Basic Education’ to be adopted by all countries in the bid to reduce dropout and illiteracy rates in every society.
The report on the state level policy dialogue on UBE programme organized by Nasarawa State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Primary Education Board states that every citizen of the world enjoys fundamental human right to education. To determine its exact nature and content depends on the context – political, socio – economic, cultural, technological etc of each society. UBE therefore entails the following:
– An enlarged view of education to integrate formal and informal possibilities for the development of human potentials.
– An attainment that is not confined to orthodox education agencies but which requires the input of other socio – economic development sector.
– An affair that is a lot more than the government organization and the entire civil societies.
– A strong emphasis on learning, that is, success in acquiring basic skills of literacy numeracy to learn as the most valuable end result of education.
“Education for all is the business of all” is the slogan used to summarize what UBE is all about (UBE Digest 2002) to narrow down UBE to the Nigerian situation, one can say that basic education in Nigeria encompasses vertical and horizontal dimension. The vertical dimension is the broad spectrum of formal and informal approaches to education. The horizontal dimension covers the linear vision of education from early childhood care and education of junior secondary school with respect to the scope of programmes, it goes beyond junior secondary school, since the concept of UBE is a life long based venture, as skills acquired are used for further learning according to changes, in individual and national development.
The basic aims and specific objective of the UBE as spelt out in the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) implementation guidelines for UBE programme (2000) are:
– The provision of free, universal education for every Nigerian child of school age.
– Reducing drastically the incidency of dropout from the formal school system through the relevant quality and efficiency.
– Catering for young persons who for one reason or the other have had to interrupt their schooling as well as other out of school children/adolescent through appropriate forms of complementary approaches to provision and promotion of basic education ensuring the acquisition of the appropriate levels of literacy, numerically manipulative, communicative and life skill as well as ethical moral and civil values needed for laying a solid foundation for life long learning.
There is need to identify the main areas of strategy, in implementing the UBE successfully. The key areas are: a teachers training programme for curriculum defines a building programme designed for the new curriculum. The infrastructure and facilities remain inadequate for coping with the system that is growing at a rapid pace. Lack of teaching and learning resources. The financial crisis left the existing facilities inadequately maintained and has retarded progress in building new facilities.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
One of the objectives of education in Nigeria, to which the nation’s philosophy is linked to, is the acquisition skill, abilities and competencies both physical and mental as an equipment for individual to line and contribute to the development of the society (UPE, 2004). Thus after completion of primary school, an individual can choose between continuing with his studies or opt for immediate employment because it is expected that he might have acquired some basic skills that equipped him or her for employment.
Nevertheless, the implication of this is that adequate facilities, like, classrooms, libraries, instructional facilities and enough qualified teachers will be provided in all the primary schools. This smooth implementation of the UBE also requires that adequate fund is to be provided for the procurement of facilities and training of personnel.
Educational system in Nigeria over the years has faced a lot of problems including lack of needed human and material resources. Inadequacy in this area has lowered educational standard in the country. For successful Implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE), the Education sector must make sure it manages its financial, physical and material resources properly.
This study is designed to appraise the Universal Basic Education in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of the study is to assess the implementation of UBE in Toto Local Government Area specifically, the study aims at.
1. Determining the availability of instructional materials
2. Determining the availability of Infrastructure
3. Determining the number of trained teachers.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The study will be beneficial to administrators and policy makers in the planning unit of Nasarawa State Ministry of Education towards professional training of sufficient teachers for sound implementation of universal basic education. The study will also be useful in determining how government will make effort to ensure successful implementation of the UBE programme.
The study will be useful to pupils and students as ways of improving the standard of education as determined at primary schools and JSS level so as to give the students, the required skills needed for employment or further studies in their various schools.
1.5 Basic Assumption of the Study
This study is based on the following assumptions;
i. That respondent to the questionnaire gave honest answers and were not influenced by their professional background, national identification and educational status.
ii. It also assumes that the information in the secondary data were accurate and unbiased.
iii. The research further assumes that the reader has a fair knowledge of basic national security terminologies. Therefore, only the variables shall be defined and explained.