By Sunday Ani
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, has vowed to champion the amendment of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act 2004, describing it as a matter of urgent national priority.
He made the promise at a recent meeting with a delegation of #AmendUBEAct Coalition at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja. He also used the occasion to sign the legislative declaration on COVID-19 and girls’ education, where he reaffirmed his commitment to free, safe and gender-responsive basic education.
Representing the coalition at the legislative parley which was part of the wider Malala Fund COVID-19 campaign strategy aimed at ensuring more gender-responsive legislation and plan for the recovery phase of the pandemic in Nigeria, were Invictus Africa, Malala Fund, PLAN International Nigeria, Save the Children and YouthHubAfrica.
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act amendment bill, seeks to extend free and compulsory education from nine to 12 years, ensure an increase in basic education financing and promote gender-responsive learning, among others, is at the committee stage at the House of Representatives.
Ihonvbere lamented that the burden of out-of-school children could hinder Nigeria’s quest for sustainable human and economic development. He noted that education had the potency to change children, communities and the country.
“I am committed to basic education sector reform and glad to sign this declaration. I am an academic and chairman, House Committee on Basic Education. I focus my entire constituency allowance on basic school renovations and furniture because if I do not make an impact on basic education, what else can I do?”