The Education Partnership Centre (TEP Centre) has urged stakeholders in the educational sector to embrace transparency, accountability and probity while executing infrastructural projects funded by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to improve the quality of education.
Gbenga Poju, Program Officer of TEP Lagos made the call while addressing the audience at a 2-day Stakeholder Workshop on Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Basic Education Sector in Lagos State on Friday at the state capital in Ikeja.
The event organized by The Education Partnership (TEP) in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation and The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LSUBEB) had in attendance the Chairman of LSUBEB, Mr Wahab Alawiye-King, the Board’s directors and School Based Management Committee (SBMC) members drawn from various local governments across the state.
While delivering his presentation, Mr. Poju observed that activities such as monitoring and evaluation of LSUBEB projects in various local governments by SBMC members across the state will ensure that quality infrastructural projects are delivered.
He noted that this will greatly improve the quality of education accessible to pupils and students in government owned schools.
Responding to the call for transparency and accountability, the Chairman of LSUBEB, Mr Wahab Alawiye-King reiterated his commitment to tackling corruption in the basic education sector, further declaring that he had personally embarked on assessment of the various ongoing projects across the states.
The Chairman who harped on the importance of partnerships in tackling corruption in the basic education sector, also assured community stakeholders from different local governments across the state that complaints and requests formally addressed to LSUBEB will be attended to.
“Education sector requires engagements that are impactful, constructive and that can facilitate more rewarding relationships in the sector, and that is what we are doing. We have an organization that is facilitating this, to ensure projects are properly managed. We want to address the issue of corruption. We want to ensure there is transparency, accountability and probity in the way we do things in the sector, and one of the ways we do this is to have an effective monitoring and evaluation exercise, and that is what TEP is doing for us,” Alawiye-King said.
Speaking on the role of technology in facilitating transparency and accountability, the Chairman said part of the determination as a board is to transform the way things are done in the educational sector, and leveraging on technology is one way to do this.
“We want to base our decision on data. When you have reliable information you will be able to make informed decisions. We cherish data. That’s why we have our planning and research, statistics department to provide us with data. In data gathering you gather raw data and separate what is necessary for you to do your test”, he said.
On the rationale behind the stakeholder workshop, Opeyemi Oluleye, Team Lead of Communication and Knowledge Management at TEP, explained that the event is part of the organization’s efforts to promote accountability and transparency in the education sector by bridging the communication gap among stakeholders.
“In the last two years we’ve been involved in the All Nigeria Projects which is supported by MacArthur Foundation with a primary objective of promoting accountability and good governance in different sectors. But for us, since we’re education based, our focus is the education sector in Lagos”
“But we realised that there was a gap -Communication gap between SUBEB and the communities. The communities are aware of this UBE counterpart on the program which is a program between SUBEB which is state and then UBEC which is federal government. Over the years, we’ve realized the communication gap between the community stakeholders who have complaints but they don’t have the access to the authorities at the helm of affairs. The LSUBEB chairman and education secretaries. We thought it would be a good thing as a third party organization that neither work for the government nor the community to bring these two entities together, bridge that gap and get them to communicate their grievances, feedback and recommendations to the government.”
The Universal Basic Education Fund (UBEF) was introduced by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to eradicate illiteracy and ignorance through the creation of a foundation for skills acquisition and knowledge required for life-long learning.
The programme was launched in September, 1999 in Sokoto State while the act was signed into law in May 2004 by Obasanjo.
The implementation started in July 2005 with the appropriation of funds to Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and subsequent disbursement to states.
TEP Centre is Nigeria’s pioneer education partnership consultancy, specialising in research, design, implementation, support and evaluation of education programmes, projects and initiatives across the public, private and non-profit sectors.