The failure of state governors to prioritize basic education of their citizens has been cited as one of the major causes of the fall in education standards in most regions of Nigeria.
This was said by Mrs. Olufunso Owasanoye, the Executive-Director, Human Development Initiative (HDI) during a Community Stakeholders Sensitization Programme on Universal Basic Education (UBE) program held recently at the Sickle Cell Foundation Hall in Idi-Araba, Lagos State.
According to her, many state governors do not show interest in funding basic education. She lamented the flat footedness of these state governments in making efforts to access the UBE matching grants mapped out by the federal government to support states towards curbing the rate out-of-school children, and to provide quality education.
“Two per cent of Nigeria’s Consolidated Revenue Fund is dedicated to supporting states in providing quality education to implement the UBE programme,” she said. The states are expected to provide equal amount as counterpart fund in order to access the matching grant, in accordance with Section 11 (2) of the UBE Act, 2004. But sadly, many state governments seem uninterested to access the grants to improve education in their state. And it shows how low they prioritize basic education in their agenda.”
However, Owasanoye commended Lagos State for being proactive in accessing the UBE grants, and also expending it on improving infrastructure at the basic education centres. “Lagos State is trying. They have even accessed the grant up to 2016, while we have many states that have not even accessed the UBE grant at all since inception.”
Explaining the concept behind the utilization of UBE funds project, she said it was aimed at creating awareness on the UBE Act, and provide education stakeholders in the commune with information about their roles and responsibilities in achieving the objectives of the UBE.
“The programme is to bring together community members and stakeholders and sensitive them about the UBE, and to grow their capacity at what they can do concerning education especially basic education. Since they live in the community, they would be able to go into schools to know what is going on.
“The feedback we get from the sensitization has been amazing. Individuals in the community are happy and confident. They see that they have a voice and are active participants in the quest to enthrone quality standard of education.”
The programme which was a collaborative effort of the HDI and the MacAuthur Foundation, witnessed over 200 representatives of different schools in Mushin.
Impressed by the turn-out, Mushin Local Government Education Secretary, Princess Olafioye applauded HDI for the program, saying that it would reiterate the fact that achieving quality education is a responsibility of all, not only the government. “Many parents don’t show concern towards the education of their children. They believe it is the responsibility of teachers and the government. So I am happy at this sensitization drive. It would go on to tell our community members that achieving quality education is the responsibility of all.”