AN EVALUATION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION (UBE) PROGRAM IN ONDO STATE.
Background to the Study
Education system in Nigeria before 1999 was six years primary school, three years, junior secondary and three years senior secondary school. But in an attempt to encourage pupils to stay in school, and learn appropriate skills that will make them self reliant, the compulsory nine year basic education programme was introduced. The UNESCO (2002), Ofoegbu (2002), Obanya (2002), Arikewuyo and Onanuga (2005) and Adeyemi (2004) conceptualize Basic Education as all forms of organized education and training, including access to information to equip the individual to cope better with work and family responsibilities and change his/her image . In like manner, the Jomtien Declaration and Framework of Action on Education for All (1990), defines Basic Education as a process which encourages close articulation of formal, non-formal and informal approaches to education and structures for the awakening of all round developments of human and capital potentials. Basic Education, therefore, is a “life-long” form of education. This involves “learning to learn”, “continuing education”, “mass literacy” and “Adult Education”. The Federal Government of Nigeria (2004) in the National Policy on Education is very clear on the importance of basic education. The new idea of basic education is expected to cover primary and junior secondary education for all children (encompassing the first nine years of schooling), nomadic and education, and literacy and non-formal education.
Basic Education, according to the Jomtein (1990) declaration and framework of action on education for all, is not defined in terms of years of schooling and also not limited to formal schooling. In the same vein, Jegede (2000) advocated for the non-formal and informal media to work together complementarily to ensure that all categories of Nigerians have access to Basic Education. Obayan (2000), described basic education as that level, type and form of learning needed to build firm roots for literacy and numeracy, to inculcate basic life skills and more importantly, to consolidate the skills of learning how to learn.
The Universal Basic Education mission statement observed that at the end of nine years of continuous education, every child that passes through the system should acquire appropriate levels of literacy. According to the mission statement, skills like numeracy, communication, and manipulation of life skills are to make individuals employable, useful to him/herself and the society at large by possessing relevant ethical, moral and civic values. It also states in part working in concert with all stakeholders by mobilizing the nation’s energies to ensure that education for all becomes the responsibility of all.
The implementation guideline of the Universal Basic Education programme (1999) proffers some strategies which are to aid effective implementation. The strategies include the fact that provision of educational programme should be universal, free and compulsory and efforts are to be made to counter the factors that were impediments to the realization of previous education programmes for example, the universal primary education scheme.
Education for decades has remained a tool in capacity building and maintenance of the society. It is a weapon of acquiring skills, relevant knowledge and habits for survival in the changing world. Education is widely regarded as a veritable instrument for social change, national development and integration. Society and its many structures are subject to constant change, the education system which serves as an agent of change must be dynamic, innovative and sensitive to societal expectations, aspirations and goals.
Any nation that does not support an environment that attracts, sustains, retains creativity and globally resourceful individuals, will eventually lag behind in the scheme of events in the affairs of the world. The role of education in such nurturing is most apparent as it is the primary supplier of such individuals. Hence, it is a priority sector in every meaningful society. Thus, Eden (2004) referred to it as a major force in economic, intellectual, social and cultural empowerment. Its value in bringing about character change ranks as important as its ability to reshape human potentials for desired development. Encyclopaedia Americana (1989) shows the function of education as both social and individual. While the social function of education is to help an individual become a more effective member of the society by passing to him the collective experience of the past and present, it also makes him to have the ability to handle new experiences successfully.
Nigeria regards education as an instrument per excellence for effecting national development (National Policy on Education: 2004). This belief is incorporated into the philosophy of education, which is reflected and emphasized in the objectives at each level of the Nigerian Education System.
Nigeria is a developing, but leading country in Africa located in the West African sub-region of the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) with an estimated population of about 140 million (2005 census), it is the most populous country in Africa and one of the largest in terms of land area,(about 923,768 square kilometres). According to Gidado (2005), educational statistics show Nigeria in 2005 with illiteracy rate of about 52%. About 35% of the nation’s population consists of school age children that is, those who require Basic Education, aged between 6-14 years; unfortunately, majority of them are not in school. Out of this 35% school age children, 3.7 million are in primary schools and 7.9 million of the 35% are in junior secondary schools.
According to Ijaiya (2003) every nation dreams of literate citizenry because it makes the people easier to carry along. Such society is likely to be pro active, and good for national development. They are likely to be more politically conscious, economically productive, more alive to civic responsibility and sensitive to their rights which are basic for development. This is further captured by the federal government in the National Policy on Education (2004:8) which says:
Education shall continue to be highly rated in the national development plan because education is the most important instrument of change, any fundamental change in the intellectual and social outlook of any society has to be proceeded by an education revolution
To this end, “lifelong education shall be the basis of the nation’s educational policy” (NPE 2004: 9). Education implementation right from the introduction of western education in Nigeria to date has been geared towards improving the quality of education. To this end, government has made several attempts at socializing her citizenry towards the attainment of self actualization, better human relationships, effective citizenship, national consciousness, socio-cultural, economic, scientific, and technological advancement (FGN, 1998).
In order to actualize her educational goals, Nigeria joins other nations of the world to universalize educational access in accordance with the stipulation in the 1948 universal declaration of human right. According to Eya (2000), regions, states, and federal government in Nigeria have shown a keen interest in education. This can be seen in the introduction of
Universal Primary Education (UPE) in the western region on the 17th January, 1955, in the eastern region in February, 1957 and in Lagos (then Federal Territory) in January, 1957. The
Federal Government on September 6th, 1976, launched the universal free primary education (UPE) scheme. The 1976 UPE scheme which gave Nigerians the hope of a literate society was besieged with lots of problems. Problems such as the Federal Government’s inability to estimate the number of pupils that would want to benefit from such a programme, its inability to determine the number of teachers, school buildings and the amount of money that would be required to make the programme functional, all culminated to it being abandoned. Nwagwu (1976) noted that the implementation process of the UPE scheme became hampered by the surprising and hasty reduction in the funding of the programme by the Federal Government which affected the provision of facilities such as classrooms, furniture, instructional materials and teachers, needed to make the programme work as expected. There was a shortage of everything except pupils. The new initiative, Universal Basic Education Programme (UBEP) was majorly triggered by the World Conference on Education for All which was held in Jomtien, Thailand 1990 and organized by the World Bank, UNDP, UNESCO and UNICEF was however, launched in September, 1999, by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The launching of the UBEP in Nigeria, would have suggested that the problems that hampered the realization of the UPE scheme having been given a careful analysis, a more careful planning would have taken place.
Universal Basic Education is the transmission of fundamental knowledge to all facets of the Nigerian society from generation to generation. It has three main components: Universal, Basic and Education. Universal connotes a programme that is meant for all facets of the society – the rich, the poor, the physically fit and the physically challenged, the brilliant, the dull, the regular students and the dropouts including every other individual that is ready to acquire knowledge. Basic is a term that is related to the base, the take- off point, the fundamental, essential springboard, bottom line required and of course the expected.
Thus Basic Education is the starting point in the acquisition of knowledge. Basic education is that type of education that can help an individual to function effectively in the society (Adewale, 2000). Edho (2009) described it as a form of education which is essential for life. To them, Universal Basic Education is a form of education which mostly equips an individual with the necessary skills to survive in his environment. In the UBE programme, it is expected that theoretical and practical knowledge will be transmitted to learners in its simplest form. This involves starting from the scratch and being able to carry the learners along. Universal Basic Education is the transmission of fundamental knowledge to all facet of the Nigerian society from generation to generation.
Universal Basic Education is a programme which aims at addressing problems of access, quality and equity in primary and junior secondary schools. It is a 9-year educational programme of six years duration for the primary segment and three years of junior secondary. These two levels of basic education are universal, free and compulsory for all Nigerian children aged 6-15. The UBE programme also stipulates learning from the early years of 3-5+ which is called Early Childhood Care Development and Education (UBEC, 2008).
The implementation guideline of the Universal Basic Education program (1999) proffers some strategies which are to aid effective implementation. The strategies include the fact that provision of educational program should be universal, free and compulsory and efforts are to be made to counter the factors that were impediments to the realization of previous education programs like the universal primary education.
The Universal Basic Education Act (2004) provides for compulsory Universal Basic Education and stipulates penalties for parents who fail to comply with the provision. On the issues of the curriculum and its relevance to the society, Ehindero (2000) and Adesina (2000) have raised doubts as it has been observed that there is a growing rate of poverty which is an indicator of problems in the system. It was, therefore, suggested that it should be so structured that each individual will be equipped to perform life roles such as role as an individual, producer, citizen, national consumer and as a family member. As for the provision of human and material resources, Adebimpe (2001) opined that for the UBE to succeed adequate provision should be made to produce sufficient qualified teachers and make them relevant within the limit of their areas of specialization, salaries should be paid as at when due, as it serves as a motivation factor towards productivity.
Education, according to Fafunwa (1976), is the aggregate of all the processes by which a child or young adult develops the abilities, attitudes and other forms of behaviour which are positive to the society in which he lives. Yoloye (2004) observed that, the concept of basic education is not completely a new term to the Nigerian society and that within the last decade; it has assumed a global significance and its meanings have been broadened. The expanded vision of UBE comprises the universality of access and promotion of equity, focusing on learning and enhancing the environment of learning and strengthening partnership.
It is against this background that this researcher is set to make an assessment on the field experiences of the programme by stakeholders – the school head teachers (principals and headmasters), teachers, SUBEB officials and Education Secretaries as well as the efforts of government in the mobilization and participation of the community in complementing effective implementation of the UBE programme in Nigeria.
Statement of the Problem
Education policies in Nigeria have been faced with problems and the UBE Programme is not an exception. The implementation of the UBE programme in line with its stated objectives is faced with a lot of challenges. The achievement of the UBE objectives as reflected in the implementat ion strategies and results obtained has not been encouraging especially at the state level and in Rivers State in particular. This work sought to evaluate the implementation of the UBE Programme in accordance with the objectives establishing it in Ondo State. Hence, the problem is to what extent has the UBE Programme been implemented in line with its objectives in Ondo State?
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to Evaluate of the Implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Program in Ondo State.
Specifically, the study seeks to:
- assess the adequacy of instructional and infrastructural facilities provided for effective implementation of the UBE;
- investigate the personnel capacities in the delivery of a sound basic education for all citizens in Ondo state
- assess the adequacy of funding for effective implementation of the UBE programme;
- investigate the effectiveness of the monitoring and evaluation process of the Universal Basic Education program;
- find out the extent of involvement of stakeholders’ participation in the effective implementation of the UBE program;
The study seeks to answer the following research questions.
- are the instructional and infrastructural facilities on ground adequate for the effective implementation of the Universal Basic Education programme?
- what are the personnel capacities of Nigeria in the delivery of sound basic education to all her citizens?
- how adequate is funding for the effective implementation of Universal Basic Education programme?
- how effective is the monitoring and evaluation machinery of the implementation of Universal Basic Education programme?.
- what has been the involvement of stakeholders in the implementation of the Universal Basic Education programme?.
Based on the research questions above, the following hypotheses are raised.
- there is no significant difference in the opinion of stakeholders with regards to the adequacy of instructional and infrastructural facilities on ground for the effective implementation of the universal basic education programme in Nigeria;
- there is no significant difference in the opinion of stakeholders on Nigeria’s personnel capacities in the delivery of sound basic education to all her citizenry;
- there is no significant difference in the opinion of stakeholders on the adequacy of funding for effective implementation of the Universal Basic Education programme in Nigeria;
- there is no significant difference in the opinion of stakeholders with respect to the effectiveness of the supervision, monitoring and evaluation machinery put in place for the implementation of the Universal Basic Education programme in Nigeria;
Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study is an evaluation of the implementation of the Universal Basic Education in Ondo State, Since research involves ability of the researcher to have control over respondents, the study covers both public primary and junior secondary schools in Ondo State, thus involving a large number of respondents which could create problem of control over the respondents and data. Therefore, the study is delimited to Ondo states
Significance of the Study
The study findings will be highly significant to stakeholders including UBEC, Federal Ministry of Education, MDG Coordinators, SUBEBs e.t.c. in UBE programme in Ondo of Nigeria and beyond as it will serve as formative evaluation for the programme after its 10 years of existence since the time it was launched in the study area In this way, it will avail the stakeholders of information as regards the journey so far. This will give them basis on which to make amends where need be and to navigate better into the future, e.g it will expose to the government where they are failing, may be in infrastructure provision, teacher recruitment, motivation and retention, full enforcement of UBE Law, e.t.c. so that they will come alive to their responsibilities and thus save the programme from dying like UPE.
SUBEB will also benefit from this study as the study will unveil the true state of infrastructures and learning facilities in UBE schools in the study area. It is hoped that this will be used as a basis for promoting effective provision of infrastructure and learning materials in UBE schools in Ondo of nigeria for effective teaching and learning. The study will also be useful to SUBEB as it will provide them with information that will assist them in controlling dropout rate in UBE programme, this they can achieve through provision of adequate training centres, infrastructure in UBE schools and development of learner or need based programmes.
The LGEAs Will find this study useful as it will provide relevant information as regards pupil enrollment, teachers recruitment, retraining and provision as well as provision of infrastructure in UBE schools. The study will also provide the LGEAs with informations that will serve as a basis for taking good management decisions that can guarantee effective implementation of UBE programme in their domains.
This study will as well expose to the teachers their failures and successes which will give them basis for striving for improvement like in the area of curriculum implementation. This will at the long run enhance effective curriculum implementation in UBE in Ondo state of Nigeria.
The study will also enlighten the parents/society on the prevailing realities in UBE programme and help them see the existing disparity in rural and urban areas in regard to UBE programme which will pose a challenge to those lagging behind and propel them to improve in other to catch up. This will help in achieving education for all in the zone particularly and the nation at large; thus the nation can reap the gains of a literate society which hitherto eludes us.
Another significance of this study is that it will assess the implementation process of UBE so far and identify loopholes which when corrected will ensure the availability of education generally and basic education in particular to the nationals of this country (Nigeria). This will help to reduce poverty and eradicate illiteracy on the Nigerian soil.
Furthermore, this study will avail the stakeholders in UBE generally and Ondo in particular of the state of affairs in the programme i.e it will give them feedback on their inputs in the programme. This will help them to decide further what next to do to guarantee the programme‟s success.
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