Reminiscing The Good Old Days of Elementary/Basic Education in Nigeria, —- ABUBAKAR YUSUF.
In spite the clamour, efforts and enabling environment created by the handlers of the country’s basic education, the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, some of the 36 states governors including the Federal Capital Territory had blatantly refused to access billions of funds set aside to improve not only basic education, but infrastructure, manpower development, capacity building and instructional materials in the last eight years.
The Governors whose only commitment to assessing the billions in the reserve of UBEC was only counterpart funding deviated from the fund owing to penchants of most state governments to diversion of the grants meant to sustain and improve the primary and post primary education in the states to mere policy somersaults.
For the second time in eight years, the authority of the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, in Nigeria had raised multiple alarms against the backdrop of the abandoned funds at the expense of poor education at various state levels, this was different from emissaries, appeals, corespondents and inter- fora conventions held among the stakeholders without positive response from the state governments.
All affronts and effrontery, the whooping 46B belonging to state government and FCT is still kept in the cooler towards the twilight of the present administration, with no positive response from the stakeholders, but at the expense of poor infrastructures, decayed instructional materials, dearth of trainings of both professionals, and adhoc staffs that will drive a robust and modest basic education in Nigeria.
The ugly response from the state governments with all efforts from UBEC portends not only great danger but serious threat to the abandoned funds, despite the good managers and management of funds at the commission that drives probity, transparency and accountability.
Feelers from state governments was obvious that a lot of feedbacks does not augur well for the development of primary and basic education, as state offices of the commission were always at logger heads with state governments over distortions in policy framework.
The state offices had regulated job execution, diversion of funds, ghost projects , as well as quality of jobs in the primary and basic schools to avoid any unforseen circumstances.
This development was against the global and domesticated fight against nipping in the bud the exodus of school pupils from public schools that had resulted in tripling the scourge of Out of School Children (OOSC), and bridging the wider gap created by proliferation of both private schools with substandard profile against the provisions of SDGs goals.
This ugly development occasioned by the state governments was far from what was obtainable in the good old days of elementary schools of primary 1-7, and later 1-6 and the federal government uniform arrangements of 6-3-3-4 system of education that had prioritized basic education with special body and commission to oversee its activities through adequate funding.
With concerted efforts of the federal government through the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, for the benefits of ordinary Nigerians, it is high time for the state governments to redirect their policies and ensure regular assessment of abandoned funds to the betterment of basic education in Nigeria.
The joint efforts and policy framework provided by the federal , state and global bodies, was to address funds pilfering, diversion, sharp practices and strict monitoring that will translate to a robust basic education that conform with the best practices and growing desire to boost education by the UN agenda.
With the abandoned funds, it is an opportunity for the incoming administration at the state level to redirect their policies and programs towards exhausting the readily available funds for the betterment of basic education across the country.
The trend been proposed to the state governments, when adopted will be a sharp departure from what was obtainable in the last eight years, and will not only improved basic education, but conform with the requirements of global communities and the new order.
The commendable stance of the commission for warehousing the state funds was worthy of emulation in the current trend of public service, as it had detonated the general beliefs that the terminal points of every administration normally characterized with abnormal activities particularly with public funds and till.
The insistence of the handlers that there was still an unspent whopping and huge funds to the tune of 46B was an indicator that a lot of developments, Innovations and initiatives will herald the incoming administration at the state levels, particularly with readily available funds for assessment based on the strict compliance.
With the exploitation of the available opportunities, no doubt basic education under Dr Hamid Bobboyi led UBEC as the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive officer will be relived and repositioned in Nigeria in the shortest time possible.
ABUBAKAR YUSUF, A Public Affairs Analyst, Writes from Abuja and can be reached on email@example.com.