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THE SET GOALS OF THE UBE SCHEME AND HOW IT COULD BE ATTAINED IN AKWA IBOM STATE.
1.1 Background to the Study
The success of the Universal Basic Education (UBE in Nigeria) and indeed every educational programme is measured by the teaching and learning process (Akpa, 1999). In expressing hope in the efficacy of education for creating a modern and progressive society, it is no surprise that the government effort in implementing the National Policy on Education (2004:12) noted that: “Education in Nigeria is no more a private enterprise but a huge government venture that has witnessed a progressive and dynamic intervention and active participation”. The belief of the elites and particularly politicians, in the significance of education from the 1950s and the publication of Ashby Report 1969, influenced governments attitude towards liberalization and expansion of primary and secondary levels of education. The tremendous expansion in education in Nigeria was influenced by the social demand for education by individuals, families and ethnic groups and the intense aspiration of every community, the investigation of parents in the education of their children in the belief that education is passport for sharing in the national cake. Imhabekhai and Tonwe, (2001) clearly summed up the situation when they maintained that while at governmental level, education is the instrument for national development, at the individual level; it is the instrument for social and economic mobility.
The introduction of Universal Basic Education UBE on nine years compulsory education is one of the several reform initiatives by the Federal Government of Nigeria aimed at promoting societal development in particular and the social well being of Nigerians in general. The global debate on the place of education and training in social, economic, political and technological development cannot be overemphasized. It has been empirically proved and universally acknowledged that unless the citizens of a nation are well educated and appropriately trained the achievements of rapid economic and social development of such a nation cannot be guaranteed.
Education has long been seen as the bedrock of national development and the primary, level of education is the foundation required for this development. Therefore basic education in Nigeria represents the most facilitating and perhaps the most controversial to the education system. It is the most fascinating because there lies the greatest activities in the educational system. It is also the most controversial because the decision to make education free and compulsory at this level has led many people to conclude that quantity is being bought at the expense of high standards and quality.
Nigeria’s commitment to the ideals of education for all (EFA) of 1990 to which she is a signatory, was further reinforced by the launching of Universal Basic Education (UBE) by the Federal Government in 1999 and passed into law in 2004 as one of the strategies aimed at implementing the education components of the MDGs. The UBE programme is a reform measure by the Federal Government aimed at rectifying the existing distortions in the basic education subsector of Nigeria’s educational system. It is a second attempt by the Federal Government of Nigeria at providing access to basic education at the national level, the first being the Free Universal Education (UPE), which was effected in September, 1976, but could not be sustained due to inadequate planning and faulty estimation. Its major goal is to bring about positive changes by making programme implementation responsive to the needs of the people and ensuring that individual and communities become actively involved in the provision of basic education(FGN,2004).
Prior to the commencement of the UBE scheme, the Nigerian 6:3:3:4 educational system which means six years of primary, three years of junior secondary, three years of senior secondary and four years of tertiary education, the primary education was free but not compulsory and expanded the curricular to contain literacy and numeracy, study of science, study of social norms and values of the local community through civics and social studies, study of health and physical education, moral and religious education, encouragement of aesthetic creative and musical activities, the teaching of craft, domestic science and Agriculture. To achieve the above mentioned effectively, junior libraries are provided for primary school children, science equipments were sent to primary schools, special teachers were trained to teach creative arts, crafts and music at all primary schools.
Also at the primary school level, the new system de-emphasized memorization and regularization of facts but rather encourage practical exploratory and experimental methods. Although, it could be said that one of the characteristic feature of this system at the primary school level is its emphasis on the teacher pupil ratio of 1: 30, some factors like financial and scarcity of qualified teachers have made this very programme unrealistic. Although Universal Primary Education (UPE) was launched nationwide in 1976 by the military regime but failed without achieving many success as attendance was not made compulsory for pupils of school going age. But with the passage of the UBE Act, by the NationalAssembly in 2010 all tiers of government (Federal, State and Local Governments) in the country are mandated to provide free and compulsory nine years Universal Basic Education of primary and junior secondary school. Parents are required to ensure that they register their children/wards for and complete the basic education.
The UBE vision statement is as follows:
At the end of the nine years of continuous educationevery child that passes through the system shouldacquire appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy,communication, manipulative and life skills and beemployable, useful to himself or herself and thesociety at large by possession of relevant ethical, moral and civic values.
The UBE mission statement is also spelt out as follows:
To serve as prime energies of a national movementfor the actualization of the nation’s UBE vision,working in concert with all stakeholders thusmobilizing the nation’s creative energies to ensurethat education for all becomes the responsibility ofall.
To facilitate the achievement of the vision and mission statement of the UBE in 2002, the Federal Government took some steps which include the contract award of 300 classroom blocks to be constructed in different parts of the country, supply of furniture for both pupils and teachers in all the completed UBE classroom blocks throughout the country, and the appointment of new consultant to replace the university consultants to ensure adequate supervision of projects in the state. In addition about 200,000 exercise books, rulers, pencils, ball point pens, erasers, school bags and first aid kits were also procured and distributed to schools. To further ensure effective implementation of UBE, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) set some short and medium-term objectives withappropriate performance indicators.
Some of these objectives include;
a Widening of access to primary and junior secondary education.
bPeriodic review and effective implementation of the curriculum.
c Improving gender equality.
dReducing the spread of HIV and mitigating the impact of AIDS
eMobilizing and developing partnerships with international agencies, private and local communities.
A cursory look at some of these objectives shows that they are targeted at achieving the basic components of the MDGs such as universal primary education, gender equality, combating HIV/AIDS and developing global partnerships for development. The formation of UBE therefore, was one of the approaches adopted by the Nigerian government to meet some of the MDGs and also fulfill its commitment to Education for All (EFA). The Nigeria’s plan document entitled “National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies’’ (NEEDS), recognize-education as a vital transformational tool and a formidable instrument for socio-economic empowerment. The document which was prepared by the government in its efforts to meet both the development challenges of Nigeria and the MDGs acknowledge that the delivery of education in the country has suffered from years of neglect especially during the military era.
In spite of its laudable objectives and foregoing modest efforts the UBE programme contended with a lot of problems since 2002 till date.
The most worrisome were:
i) Quite a number of activities designed could not be implemented due to difficult terrain, lack of cooperation from some of the contractors and under politicisation of the projects and partial implementation of the budget by the executive. As a result of this, most of the activities that were funded and fairly executed were those supported by the World Bank and UNDP before the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDG) took it up
ii) Funds were not available to meet such personnel costs as promotion, annual increment and employment of new staff to address manpower shortages in such vital areas as research, planning and statistics, monitoring and evaluation.
The management of the UBE in Akwa Ibom State are involves in planning, formulation of educational policies or programmes and administration with a view to achieving the UBE set goals. Effective management is the management system that optionally utilizes the elements of management listed by Peretornode (1999) not only to achieve the salient goals of the organization but also for achieving the supplementary goals, especially those that pertain to improving human efficiency, motivation and acquiring material resource. The management functions to be vigorously pursued for successful implementation of the UBE programme in Akwa Ibom State as enshrined in the Universal Basic Education (2000) include; public enlightenment; teacher quality and motivation; update of infrastructural facilities; enriching the curricula; enhancement of instructional materials, monitoring and evaluation; improved funding and implementation of the entire process. These objectives if vigorously pursued, would checkmate those factors that bedeviled the past UPE which as mentioned by Obasanjo (2006) were funding, lack of facilities, dearth of qualified teachers, poor supervision, poor teacher motivation unconducive school environment and power politics.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
The general view often expressed in newspapers, conferences papers, magazines and other educational writings as well as in news commentaries and public meeting is that the public school system as a whole has resource constraints that inhibit it from attaining statutorily its goals. Government pronouncement over the years indicated that a high portion of the national budget is allocated to education. In the UBE programme, it is expected that theoretical and practical knowledge will be transmitted to learners in its simplistic form. This involves starting from the scratch and being able to carry the learners along. This education is the aggregate of all the processes by which a child or young adult develops the abilities, attitude and other forms of behaviors, which are of positive value to the society in which he live: UBE by definition must provide minimum education to citizens and easy access to it and should be free in the implementation guidelines for the UBE programme there is a commission which runs the affairs of the UBE. They set-up minimum standards of primary, Junior, Secondary and adult literacy throughout Nigeria. It is expected that stiff penalties should be imposed on persons, societies or institutions that prevent children, adolescents and youth from benefiting from UBE.
The programme is also expected to provide basic education which is expected to be terminal, such education (UBE) is not meant for school age children alone, it is also designed to take care of the educational needs of the young people and adults who have not had the opportunity to receive adequate schooling. Thus, the UBE programme will include; nomadic education, education of migrant fishermen, school drop-outs, out school children and adult education. The UBE programme is intended to be universally free and compulsory. These terms imply that appropriate types of opportunities will be provided for the basic education of every Nigerian child of school age. The UBE programme has enormous implications for various spheres of the nation and the state, from budgetary expenditure to other developmental programmes. This programme must fully justify the opportunities cost that goes with it implementation.
From the foregoing, the UBE is unique but has been hampered by the following problems. The UBE programme in Akwa Ibom State may not have been properly implemented indicating that implementation is a major problem facing the programme. The inability to coordinate and effectively manage available resources may have hindered the effective implementation of government policies. This is because policies are formulated but implementation often becomes a long awaited issue. There is also the issue of poor funding, that is to say that inadequate funding is a problem that is facing the prospect of the UBE prgogamme in Akwa Ibom State. Other areas of concern include inadequate qualified teachers, population explosion and lack of infrastructures in schools.
In view of the above, the major concern in this research is: to what extent has the Universal Basic Education (UBE) achieved it stated goals and objectives in Akwa Ibom State.
On this note, the following questions guide the study.
(1) How does the level of public enlightenment relate with access to free compulsory UBE, primary in Akwa Ibom State?
(2) What relationship exists between teacher quality and the academic performance of pupils in public primary schools in Akwa Ibom State?
(3) To what extent does the updating of infrastructural facilities relate with acquisition of literacy skills by pupils in public primary schools in Akwa Ibom State.
(4) What relationship exists between curriculum environment and the acquisition of manipulative skills of pupils primary schools in Akwa Ibom State?
(5) What relationship exists between the enhancement of instructural materials and reduction of school drop-out rate in the public primary schools in Akwa Ibom State?
(6) What relationship exists between monitoring and evaluation and acquisition of life skill by pupils of public primary schools in Akwa Ibom State?
(7) Does any relationship exists between the level of funding and the transition rate from public primary to public junior secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State.
(8) What difference exists between UBE management and goals’ attainment in the rural and urban public primary schools in Akwa Ibom State?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
To examine the set goals of the UBE scheme and how it could be attained in Akwa Ibom State.
(a) To determine the relationship between funding and attainment of UBE programme goal in Akwa Ibom State.
(b) To assess the outcome of the implementation of the UBE policy in Akwa Ibom State.
(c) To examine the relationship between infrastructures in schools and the quality of learning in public schools in Akwa Ibom State.
(d) To suggest ways which the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme could be effectively implemented and managed to achieved its stated goals.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
a) Poor implementation of UBE Scheme in primary schools tends to affect negatively the level of literacy.
b) Poor funding of primary schools in Akwa Ibom State tends to affect negatively goal attainment in primary schools.
c) Poor infrastructure tends to affect negatively the level of literacy in primary schools in Akwa Ibom State.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will be of benefit to the government and all other stakeholders in the educational sector. From the theoretical point of view, the study will add and contribute to existing body of knowledge and literature on the implementation of UBE programme in Akwa Ibom state.
Empirically, the findings of this study will contribute specifically to discovering the lacuna in the implementation process, the challenges and the milestone covered so far in the UBE programme in Akwa Ibom state. Accordingly, it will also help the researcher to either support or disagree with previous study carried out in this field.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
This study is interested in examining the relationship between UBE and goals attainment in Akwa Ibom state, and covers the time period, 2002-2012. To this end, the study investigates alongside the level of achievement of the UBE objectives for national development, as well as, the challenges of the programme in Akwa Ibom state.
The foreseeable problem that hasbeen encountered in the course of carrying out this study was lack of adequate funds for gathering of information. Other difficulties experienced in this study included: the inability to cover in its entirety, all the rural areas that were selected for this study; the delay in retrieving all the questionnaires that were administered to the respondents; finally, some of the principals and teachers consulted hoarded information on the subject from the researcher.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Universal Basic Education (UBE): In this context is a reform programme that integrates junior secondary with the primary education.
Universal: Connotes an inclusive programme that is meant for all facts of the society, the rich, the poor, the physically fit, the physically challenged (people with special needs) the brilliant, the dull the regular students, the dropout including every other individual that is ready to acquire knowledge.
Basic: The term basic in this context refers to be base, take off point. It connotes the root, thee bottom or the foundation from which other parts get supported.
Education: Connotes the acquisition of knowledge that leads to a permanent change in behavior.
Basic Education: According to Jointien Declaration and Framework of Action on Education for All (EFA) is not defined in terms of years of schooling, neither is it limited in terms of years of schooling, nor limited to formal schooling. Basic Education is seen in its broadest sense as a close articulation of the formal, non formal and informal approaches to learning and mechanisms for the awakening of an all round development of the human potential. Basic education in the context of this study is limited to public UBE-primary in the formal setting.
Free: In this context connotes that in addition to tuition fee, all the services rendered to pupils of primary school shall be free.
Compulsory: Here connotes that parents, guardians and communities are under an obligation to ensure that children take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the UBE programme.
Literacy: Refers to the ability of pupils of public primary schools to read, write and communicate effectively.