From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government disclosed on Wednesday that, at least, N1.5 billion is allocated to states of the federation annually to fund basic education in their states.
Regrettably, it said that states have not judiciously used the funds, hence, the effects of the financial intervention has not been felt in the public basic education system in the states over the years.
Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, who disclosed the information at two-day international workshop on large scale assessment for basic education organised by UBEC in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday, in Abuja, said the Commission has put in place modalities to conduct assessment survey to ascertain learning outcomes in the nation’s basic education sector.
Dr. Bobboyi said the project, 2021/2022 National Assessment on Learning Achievements in Basic Education (NALABE), will also evaluate the impact of the multi-billion naira annual interventions at the basic education level.
He said: “UBEC is an intervention agency which implies that it provide resources for the basic education sector. In a good year, apart from 2020 that was affected by COVID-19 pandemic, we disbursed billions of naira to states every year.
“On the minimum, each state get about N1.5 billion and at least, N3 billion (summarily) on a yearly basis. But at the end of the day, you start wondering where the money and resources going to these states and agencies that are implementing basic education. How much of it goes down to the level of the classroom and making a difference in teaching and learning? It’s a worrisome situation for us.
“We measure our success by how much of money we are able to give out. We have disbursed this, we have done that, and so on. For instance, we have disbursed textbooks to states, but SUBEBs would wait for UBEC to pay for transportation of these text books to various schools, and most of the time, the textbooks are locked up in the headmasters’ offices awaiting instructions from their state ministries on what to do with them.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, in his remarks, described the planned large-scale learning assessment as a right step in the right direction.
The Minister who was represented by Mrs H. Lawal, said the national assessment was originally designed to be conducted every four years, stating that UBEC had carried out similar exercises in 2001, 2003, 2006, 2011 and 2017.
The Minister, thus, commended development partners for their collaboration with UBEC to ensure a successful exercise.
UNICEF’s Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, tasked Nigeria on improving learning outcomes among pupils.
He admitted that national learning assessment is critical to the future of every Nigerian child, pledging the unwavering support of UNICEF to UBEC on the exercise.