ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION (UBE) PROGRAMME
The study evaluated the implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme in Edo State in terms of the state of inputs and outputs variables during pre and post UBE periods in Edo State. It took a retrospective look at the efforts in the past by various governments either at the regions or states and national levels to provide free, universal and compulsory basic education in the country. Studies however, revealed that these efforts resulted in abysmal failure .These failed attempts on the part of previous governments to universalize basic education to its citizens in the past is one of the motivating reasons for this study. The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the implementation of the Universal Basic Education in Edo State with a view to identifying the possible factors that may hinder the realization of the aims and objectives of the Universal Basic Education programme and possibly proffer solutions to these identified problems. The variables of this study are pupils enrolment, teachers availability, school facilities, teachers training, monitoring and evaluation. Six research questions and null hypotheses were generated for this study. This study adopted the ex-post-facto research type. Kerlinger (1986) defined ex-post-facto type of research as a systematic empirical inquiry in which the researcher does not have direct control of independent variable because their manifestations have already occurred.. Data were collected using three sets of structured research questionnaires namely: Teacher Questionnaire (TQ), Classroom Situation Questionnaire (CSQ); School Questionnaire (SQ). The three instruments for the study yielded the following degree of reliability: TQ = (.80), CSQ = (.88), SQ = (.73) using Cronbach’s Alpha reliability test. The data collected in this study were analysed using Gross Enrolment Ratio, paired t-Test and diagrammatic representation. The findings of this study revealed that there was no significant difference in pupils enrolment between pre and post UBE periods in Edo State. There was significant difference in the availability of school facilities between pre and post UBE periods in Edo State. There was also a significant difference in teachers participation in in-service training programme in Edo State in pre and post UBE periods. There was a significant improvement in monitoring and evaluation carried at the basic education level. Finally, this study recommended that the mass mobilization unit or department of the State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) should embark on an aggressive awareness or enlightenment programme that will lead to an increased enrolment to justify government huge investment in basic education in the state.
Background to the Study
The current Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme in Nigeria is a product of an earlier educational scheme, programme and educational decisions. It is an offshoot of previous schemes, which could be said to have been bedeviled by problems and which the present scheme is expected to correct.
Social Studies according to Dubey (1980) is the investigation of human activities; it studies man at home, at work, workshop, in politics, at play, in the village, in the nation, everywhere, engaged in his busy programme of living and it is particularly interested in man’s problems about which decision must be made. The content of social studies is drawn from sociology, economics, political science, anthropology, geography, history, psychology, social-psychology, literature, arts and music, religion, philosophy, achealogy, demography, linguistics, communication, science… most of which constitute the social sciences and the humanities (Mezieobi and Domike, 1996).
The other sources of social studies programme include resource persons and places, oral historiography, contemporary issues, mass media, etc.
In the light of the definitions and descriptions of social studies as stated above, one of the contemporary public issues that affect the Nigerian society today is the introduction and implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme of which social studies is one the core subjects offered.
The 1950s laid the foundation stone for later educational developments in the 1960s and beyond. Educational efforts of the 1950s were themselves determined by the history of educational growth from the fourth decade of the 19th century. By implication therefore, explosion in education in the Western region had tremendous influence on other regions. It should be recalled that the 1950 Macpherson constitution created regional houses that were responsible to the central government in Lagos. The constitution also empowered the regional houses to make laws on education. The effect of this was that regions grew differently in educational provisions (Aluede, 1992), (Kosemani and Okorosaye-Oruibite, 1995).
In the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo had the opportunity of putting his own concept of education into practice. Thus, as the leader of the Action Group (AG), he placed priority on education by drawing up a comprehensive educational development plan for the whole of western region which Edo state was part of, and adhered strictly to this policy because he believed that to educate the children and enlighten the illiterate adults, is to lay a solid foundation not only for the future social and economic progress, but also, for the political stability of the region in particular and the country in general. He therefore, introduced free, universal and compulsory primary education (UPE) in 1955 which is synonymous with his name in Nigeria today (Taiwo, 1980).
The Eastern Regional House that introduced the UPE scheme under the leadership of Dr. Azikiwe in January 1957 followed the Western Region’s example. The Lagos area that was cut off from the educational programmes of the Western Region in 1954 when it was declared a Federal Territory, equally introduced the Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme in January 1957.
It should, however, be noted that educational development in the Northern Region lagged behind in what was being experienced in Lagos and other regions, because, while the Western and the Eastern Regions were struggling hard to surpass each other in the south, the Northern Region did not come to terms with the challenges of the time.
However, the Federal Government of Nigeria became conscious of the dangers of disparity in educational development in a nation state and therefore introduced the UPE scheme throughout the federation in 1976. Thereafter, there was the regularization of primary education system throughout Nigeria. The differences that had existed in the different regions were checked by the Federal Government’s decision that all states of the federation must run similar programme (Itedjere, 1997).
The recent re-launching of a similar programme – the Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme by the Federal Government of Nigeria on the 30th of September 1999 would suggest that after the failure of the earlier programme – UPE scheme, and a careful analysis of the factors that brought about the failure of the earlier scheme would have taken place.
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) is a programme designed to transmit a common cultural heritage. The training of children and adolescents in the norms, values and aspirations of the nation is a veritable instrument for national integration and development. It is expected that educational reforms or re-organization would be carried out to enable Nigeria’s education cater for the future professional needs (Ayeni, 2000).
In addition to playing the noble role of cultural transmission in the modern society today, the UBE programme is designed to provide universal literacy, numeracy and enlightenment. The desire to inculcate in children the skills of literacy, numeracy and the ability to communicate made the UBE programme worthwhile (Aboyi, 2004).
Apart from the above, there is the need to lay a solid foundation for scientific and reflective thinking, character and moral training and the development of sound attitude, and above all, develop in the child the ability to adapt to his changing environment (FGN, 1981).
The UBE programme, if faithfully implemented by governments, it will not only be a powerful instrument for achieving poverty alleviation, but also, a secured means of ensuring proper and adequate internalization of sound democratic culture. As a matter of fact, this type of political socialization is what we need in order to stabilize our polity, which will in turn guarantees economic growth and development (Osahon and Osahon, 2006).
Before the launch of the UBE scheme, the transition rate from primary school to junior secondary school was 43.7%. By implication, 56.3% of those in the nation’s primary school today are likely to grow into adulthood as illiterates and this would further compound the problems of an estimated 43% adults that have missed their opportunities of a formal education. It is for these categories of people that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) intends to provide a second chance UBE (2000). For Nigeria to attain the desired 100% national literacy rate soon, it is imperative that provisions should be made and actions taken to universalize basic education enthrone a conducive learning environment and improve quality and standards. The Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme is designed to address these challenges.
It will be pertinent here to provide a highly succinct meaning of Universal Basic Education and what it constitutes. UBE is an educational reform programme of the Nigerian Government that provides free, compulsory, and continuous 9-year education at two levels: 6 years of primary and 3 years of junior secondary education for all school aged children. There are three components of the UBE programme and these are:
- Early Childhood Care and Development Education (ECCDE)
- 6 years primary Education
- 3 years Junior Secondary School Education (JSS) (UBE, 2005).
The goals of the UBE scheme are to universalize access to basic education, engender a conducive learning environment and eradicate illiteracy in Nigeria within the shortest possible time. The specific objectives of the scheme are to:
- develop in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for education and a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion.
- provide free and compulsory universal basic education for every Nigerian child of school-going age.
- reduce drastically drop-out rate from the formal school system through improved relevance and efficiency.
- cater for drop-outs and out-of-school children/adolescent through various forms of complementary approaches to the provision and promotion of basic education.
- ensure the acquisition of the appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative and life skills (as well as the ethical, moral and civic values) needed for laying the foundation for life long learning.
Here in Edo state, the enabling law for the implementation of compulsory, free universal Basic Education was formally signed into law on the 10th of June 2005 by chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion, the former Governor of Edo State. Edo State Universal Basic Education law (2005).
Under the existing 6-year secondary school arrangement, Junior Secondary School (JSS) is separated from the Senior Secondary School (SSS) and this is referred to as disarticulation. UBE(2005).In other words, the two levels should be run by two separate administrations and eventually have separate locations and infrastructures. The existing 6-year secondary education is in contradiction with the existing policy of 6-3-3-4 and is to be discontinued. To ensure effective and successful implementation of UBE programme:
- The Federal Government has provided matching grants totaling N35.98b between July 2005 and July 2006 for disbursement to the states as Federal Government UBE intervention fund.
- Federal Government is further investing N10 billion of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) funds (from the debt relief granted by Paris Club of creditors in the following areas:
- Provision of science kits to primary schools.
- Improvement of teacher quality through in-service training for 145,000 teachers conducted by National Teacher Institute (N.T.I.) on annual basis.
- Recruitment of additional 40,000 holders of Nigeria Certificate in Education under the Federal Teacher Service Scheme (FTSC) programme for a two-year Federal Government guaranteed remuneration.UBE(2005)
- Programme implementation is guided by well articulated quarterly Action Plans that ensures that funds are applied to areas of priority needs.
- UBE has an all-embracing procedure for monitoring the utilization of disbursed funds and programme implementation.
Statement of the Problem
The Universal Primary Education (UPE), which resulted in increased access to basic education between 1960s and 1970s later, suffered huge setback due to lack of proper planning and implementation and the desired political will on the part of the leadership. The U.P.E. scheme failed because the Federal Government of Nigeria underestimated the number of pupils that would benefit from such a programme and could not also determine the number of teachers, school facilities and the amount of money that would be required for training and retraining in order to make the programme functional (Ayeni, 2000).
Before the launching of UBE in 1999, primary school enrolment (education statistics) for 1996 showed that only 14.1 million pupils were registered out of 21 million children of school going age, 14.8 million in 1997 and 15.5 million in 1998 (FME, 2000). What happened therefore to 6.9 million children that were not registered and were not in school? Will they not further compound the illiteracy situation in the country and in addition Nigeria has been facing the problem of recording low National literacy rate of 52%. An adjunct to this is the problem of teacher-pupil ratio which was put at 1:76. This is far from the World Bank ideal ratio of 1:25 (World Bank, 1998).
Closely related to the problems highlighted above is that of low levels of achievement in literacy, numeracy and life skills among pupils. A Federal Government/UNICEF and UNESCO sponsored study (FGN/UNICEF/UNESCO, 1997), which assessed the level of competence of primary four pupils in the three skills revealed very low levels of achievement. The national mean scores for numeracy, literacy and life-skills were 32.2%, 25.2% and 36.86% respectively (UBE, 2005). In the light of the foregoing, the question therefore, is how effective is the implementation of the Universal Basic Education in order to avoid the pitfalls of the past and to ensure that the goals and objectives of the programme are achieved?
The study sought to provide answers to the following research questions:
- Is there any significant difference in pupil’s enrolment in the pre and post UBE declaration periods in Edo State?
- Is there any significant difference in the availability of facilities in schools in Edo State in the pre and post UBE declaration periods?
- Is there any significant difference in the distribution of facilities across geographical locations (ie urban and rural) in Edo State in pre and post UBE periods?
- To what extent are teachers available in schools in Edo State in the pre and post UBE periods?
- To what extent are teachers participating in in-service training programme in Edo State in the pre and post UBE declaration periods?
- To what extent were the activities of Public primary schools monitored and evaluated in Edo State in the pre and post UBE periods?
The following null hypothesis will be tested in the study:
- There is no significant difference in pupil’s enrollment in the pre and post UBE declaration period in Edo
- There is no significant difference in the availability of facilities in schools in Edo state in the pre and post, UBE declaration periods.
- There is no significant difference in the distribution of facilities across geographical locations (ie urban and rural) in Edo State in pre and post UBE periods.
- There is no significant different in the availability of teachers in schools in Edo State in the pre and post UBE periods.
- There is no significant difference in teachers’ participation in in-service training programme in Edo State in pre and post UBE declaration periods.
- There is no significant difference in the monitoring and evaluation of public primary schools in Edo State in the pre and post UBE periods.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the implementation of the Universal Basic Education in Edo State with a view to identifying the possible factors that can hinder the realization of the aims and objectives of Universal Basic Education programmes and possibly proffer solutions to these identified problems.
The study will specifically ascertain the extent to which:
- Pupils’ enrolment in pre and post UBE declaration periods differs in Edo State.
- The availability of facilities in pre and post UBE periods differs in Edo State.
- Teacher’s availability in pre and post UBE periods differs in Edo State.
- Teachers’ participation in in-service training programmes in pre and post UBE declaration periods differs in Edo State.
- The monitoring and evaluation of the activities of public primary schools in pre and post UBE periods differ in Edo State.
Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study focused on the implementation of the primary school level of the Universal Basic Education programme in Edo State. Variables of interest in the study are pupils related, teacher-related and school-related. The results and conclusion drawn from the study shall therefore be limited to the level of basic education in the State.