By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The aim of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act cannot be achieved unless the government includes the ppaying of West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) and National Examinations Council (NECO) fees for final year senior secondary school students.
A social enthusiast and educationist, Mr. Ahmed Alaga observed this while presenting a paper titled An Overview of the Universal Basic Education Act at a One-day Media Parley on the Right To Basic Education in Kaduna on Thursday July 30, 2020.
“So many have dropped out of schools because they can’t pay WAEC fees,” he lamented.
On challenges of UBE, he expressed dismay that the “cart before the horse” syndrome, that implementation comes before the actual plans with political leaders making mere pronouncements of educational policies is a huge minus.
Inadequate resources he said, also lead to lack of human and material resources. Inadequate Infrastucture facilities, equipment, instructional materials, etc, adding that unqualified teachers still teach in Nigeria.
“Education plans are often succesful when the past and present condition are examined in order to predict future achievements,” he added.
Alaga advocated public enlightenment and social mobilization for full community involvement in UBE implementation.
“Problems of access due to disparities for example, the Girl-Child is denied education based on some cultures
“Identifying the salient issues of education as a tool for development (benefits of education),” he said, will go a long way in addressing some of the challenges.
He advised that quality education should be ensured through quality and quantity teacher supply, to update the teacher through in-service training, workshops, seminars etc.
“In Finland, the minimum qualification of a primary school teacher is a Master’s Degree,” he said.
He further suggested that quality assurance of teachers must be ensured through proper control and good governance with the absence of witch-hunting some teachers.
“Eradicate corruption and bottlenecks in UBE,” he emphasized.
He was however, optimistic that Nigeria has hope for its elementary education if UBE is fully implemented.
“When children and adults irrespective of age, sex, location and socioeconomic status have access to quality education,” he noted.
He said that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) launched by President Olusegun Obasanjo’s in 1999, was an attempt to build upon the then existing Universal Primary Education (UPE).
“The objectives of UBE include developing in the citizenry strong consciousness, ensuring acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, communicative and life skills, as well as the ethical moral, security and Civic values needed for laying for life-life learning,” he pointed out.
The project is sponsored by the MALALA Fund.