The Human Development Initiatives in collaboration with the Civic Media Lab and Daily Trust Foundation has launched a report on the activities of the Universal Basic Education in three states in Nigeria.

The report, which was launched in Abuja, was done after a research was carried out on the six years of UBE activities with focus on Kaduna, Lagos and FCT.

The report primarily centred on the spending of the Universal Basic Education Commission in the three states.

It was revealed that about 80 per cent of State Universal Basic Education Board and UBEC funded projects were completed while some were not with no deliberate effort to recover funds released for such projects.

Presenting the report in Abuja, the Coordinator of Daily Trust Foundation and leader of the investigative team, Dr Theophilus Abbah, said the research team observed that most of the funded projects selected from Action Plans between 2010 and 2015 for primary and junior secondary schools in Lagos, FCT and Kaduna were completed. 

Some of the findings, according to the report, are that most of the infrastructure projects executed become useless as a result of the lack of maintenance; classrooms were not enough in many schools, leading to overpopulation and poor teaching-learning experience; and that many schools built in recent years lacked proper fencing and adequate security measures, thereby exposing pupils and students in basic schools to danger.

“In many schools, the ratio of teachers to pupils was very low and this was very obvious from the overpopulated classes.

“Millions of naira was expended on toilet facilities in schools, but the toilets could not be put to use due to the lack of water,” the report added.

The Executive Director of Human Development Initiative, Mrs Olufunso Owasanoye, in her opening remark explained that in 2018, HDI in collaboration with Daily Trust Foundation and Civic Lab Media supported by MacArthur Foundation set out on fact finding mission of UBEC spends for six years between 2010-2015 in Kaduna, Lagos and FCT. 

She noted that despite the huge amount spent on Universal Basic Education, there was little to show for it.

The Africa Director of MacArthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima, in his remark established why the foundation supported the research to improve quality of education received by all Nigerian children irrespective of background, social status, ability, ethics and gender. 

He said, “The report will help stakeholders pay attention to key challenges facing the basic education sector in Nigeria."

The representative of the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Mr Mayowa Aleshin, applauded the MacArthur Foundation and Human Development Initiative for making it public that education for all was a responsibility of all. 

Mr Aleshin emphasised that basic education was a mandate of state governments only supported by the Federal Government through UBEC.

He said, “HDI had presented the report to UBEC and the commission made inputs in it, the report is putting us on our toes to keep doing what we are supposed to do.”

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs Abosede Adelaja, said despite huge resources expended in basic education in Nigeria, the country was still experiencing increasing number of out-of-school children. Adelaja called on parents and other stakeholders to be involved in issues related to developing basic education in Nigeria.

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