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UBE Implementation Assessment in Bayelsa State

Implementation of the UBE Programme in Bayelsa State

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

                                                                                                                                                                               Background to the Study

Education has been recognized all over the world as a very important instrument for improving the quality of life of mankind. Its role in individual and national development is fundamental. Hence, the United Nations General Assembly in its “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in 1948 emphasized the right of everyone to education. Nigeria equally recognized this fact and made several efforts in the past towards providing popular quality education in Nigeria. These include: The free Universal Primary Education (UPE) in the Western Region in 1955, The Universal Primary Education (UPE) in the Eastern Region started in 1957, The Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme in the Federal Capital Territory of Lagos started in 1957 and The Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme nationwide started in 1976

Unfortunately, none of these attempts was able to make the desired impact as a result of factors bordering on improper planning and implementation. Of particular reference was the nationwide Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme introduced by the military administration of Obasanjo on 9th September, 1976. This programme which took off with enthusiasm and high expectations of meeting the felt socio-economic needs of the country crashed midway. Its failure was attributed to a number of factors such as financial problems, insufficient competent teachers, overcrowded classrooms, narrow curriculum content and high rate of drop-out (Fafunwa, 1986) as cited by Omotayo, Ihebereme and Maduewesi (2008). Jaiyeoba (2007) on his own part attributed failure to enrollment explosion, shortage of teachers, inadequate infrastructural facilities, inadequate funding among others.

It could be recalled that in the years after the collapse of the UPE scheme, education experienced some measure of neglect. This brought about decay in the education sector especially, at the basic education level, to the extent that the rate of illiteracy was unacceptably high, teachers were poorly trained and motivated, the condition of infrastructure was appalling, school drop-out was increasing at an alarming rate, while funding of basic education in particular continued to be poor (Tahir, 2003).

It was therefore a sigh of relief to many Nigerians when in a bid to address the afore-mentioned scenario, the democratic government of Obasanjo launched the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme on 30th September, 1999. The programme which is within the context of the 6-3-3-4 structure as stipulated by the National Policy on Education now assumes a 9-3-4 structure. Basic Education comprises nine (9) years continuous, free and compulsory education of which six (6) years is for primary education and three (3) years for junior secondary school education. Basically, it is aimed at eradicating illiteracy, ignorance and poverty as well as stimulating and accelerating national development, political consciousness and national integration.

The objectives of the UBE according to the Implementation Guidelines (FRN, 2000: 1) are:

Developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for education and a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion;  the provision of free, universal basic education for every Nigerian child of school-going age; reducing drastically the incidence of dropout from the formal school system (through improved relevance, quality and efficiency); catering for the learning needs of young persons who, for one reason or another, have had to interrupt their schooling through appropriate forms of complementary approaches to the provision and promotion of basic education; ensuring the acquisition of the appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for life-long learning.

The Implementation Guidelines further stated thus:

In seeking to achieve the objectives of the programme . . ., vigorous efforts will be made to counter the factors which are known to have hindered the achievement of the goals of the UPE programme… It is therefore envisaged that more appropriate approaches will have to be developed for improving the state of the following: Public enlightenment and social mobilization, for full community involvement; data collection and analysis; planning, monitoring and evaluation; teachers:- their recruitment, education, training, retraining and motivation; infrastructural facilities; enriched curricula; textbooks and instructional materials; improved funding; and management of the entire process.

As laudable as the objectives of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme are and despite the fact that well thought out strategies had been put in place towards achieving these objectives, the desired impact is yet to be made.

It is inconceivable that after several years of the launching of the programme, coupled with the federal government’s commitment to its success, millions of children still lack access to basic education. The former Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai attested to this fact when she was quoted as saying that 10 million Nigerian children lack access to basic education (The Tide News Online, 9th July, 2010). According to the Education for all (EFA) Regional Overview Report that highlights the situation in sub-Saharan countries, Nigeria with an Education for All Development Index (EDI) of less than 0.8 was among 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa very far from achieving EFA goals by 2015. This was due to widespread illiteracy and lack of access to education in the country (The Nation, Thursday October 16, 2008) in Ejere (2011). Also, in the Global Competitiveness Report for the period 2009-2010, Nigeria’s primary education level was ranked 132nd out of 133 countries that were surveyed (Daily Sun, Monday 12th October, 2009) as cited by Ejere (2011). Furthermore, in a retreat on “The Challenges Facing Basic Education Subsector and Charting the Way Forward” organized by the Federal Ministry of Education/Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) which held at the Yankari Games Reserve, Yankari, Bauchi State from Thursday 26th to Friday 27th June, 2008, the former Minister of state II for Education confirmed the numerous challenges facing the subsector. The minister, Hajiya Aishatu Jubrin Duku, who chaired the retreat mentioned that some of the challenges included insufficient and inequitable access, low learning achievement of students, lack of accountability and transparency in the use of funds allocated to education, acute shortage of qualified teachers, infrastructural decay and shortage, poorly motivated, ill-equipped and unskilled teaching force and insufficient instructional materials (UBEC, 2008). Also, Ibekwe (2013) reported that Nigeria’s primary education level was ranked 146th out of 148 countries that were recently surveyed in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2013–2014 by the World Economic Forum.

With the foregoing instances among several others not reported in this study, there is no gainsaying the fact that the basic education sub-sector is in a very poor state that calls for urgent drastic measures. The poor performance of many public policies and programmes in Nigeria, in terms of the achievement of their specified objectives arise primarily from implementation failure. Could poor implementation of the Universal Basic Education programme be responsible for the above state of affairs? There is therefore, the need to assess the implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme with a view to proffering suggestions where necessary, for improved implementation.

Statement of the Problem

The federal government’s commitment to the success of the UBE programme is not in doubt. The nine factors identified for reinforcement in the previous subsection if properly addressed will no doubt lead to a high percentage achievement of the stated objectives of the programme. Among these identified factors, teacher factor, infrastructural facilities, textbooks/instructional materials and improved funding are very crucial to the success of any education programme. However, it is instructive to note that it is one thing to introduce a programme with lofty implementation strategies and another thing to successfully implement it. Perhaps, the above factors were not effectively addressed in the course of implementation, hence the poor state of affairs in our basic education sub-sector. Obviously, the importance of the basic education sub-sector in our educational system cannot be over-emphasized as it provides the foundation for all other levels of education. Its failure therefore implies the failure of the entire educational system. The present poor state of basic education in our country in the 21st century, replete with advancement in all spheres of education, is therefore, worrisome and calls for urgent remedial measures. One question that comes to mind is: Could the neglect or inadequate consideration of such factors as teacher factor, infrastructural facilities, textbooks/instructional materials and improved funding in the course of implementation be responsible for the present poor state of basic education in Nigeria? This study therefore, assessed the implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme taking into consideration, the above mentioned four factors.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to assess the implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme in Bayelsa State. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. find out the adequacy of teachers provision in the basic education sub-sector in Bayelsa State.
  2. determine the adequacy of infrastructural facilities provision for the UBE programme in Bayelsa State.
  3. determine the adequacy of textbooks/instructional materials provision for the UBE programme in Bayelsa State.
  4. find out the adequacy of funds provision for the UBE programme in Bayelsa State.

Significance of the Study

This study would provide information on the status of implementation of the UBE programme at the primary school level. This information would be useful to policy makers and education managers as it would most likely provide the basis upon which decisions can be taken to address the inadequacies in key areas like provision of teachers, infrastructural facilities, textbooks/instructional materials and funding.

The role of the teachers as the implementers of the UBE programme cannot be over-emphasized and the need to motivate them to perform their tasks optimally is very vital. It is hoped that this study would also be beneficial to the teachers as recommendations towards their welfare, training, retraining, improved infrastructure and instructional materials were made, where necessary, to boost their productivity.

The recommendations based on the findings of this study, would create an environment conducive to learning, both in terms of human and material resources provision. In this respect, students would benefit as there is bound to be improved quality education delivery.

Primary education, which comprises the lower and middle basic levels of the UBE programme, is the foundation of the nation’s educational system. This implies that the success of the other levels of education depends on it. Hence, studies to address the challenges facing the primary level of education are by extension, studies to improve the entire educational system. Ultimately, therefore, the findings and recommendations of this study, if implemented, would assist in developing a credible and sustainable educational system in Bayelsa State.

Scope of the Study

This study which assessed the implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme in Bayelsa State, was limited to only public primary schools in the state.

The study covered teacher factor, infrastructural facilities, textbooks/instructional materials and funds provision for the implementation of the UBE programme.

Research Questions

The following research questions were posed to guide the study:

  1. What is the perception of Head teachers and Teachers on the adequacy of teacher provision for the UBE programme implementation in Bayelsa State?
  2. What is the perception of Head teachers and Teachers on the adequacy of infrastructural facilities provision for the implementation of the UBE programme in Bayelsa State?
  3. What is the perception of Head teachers and Teachers on the adequacy of textbooks/instructional materials provision for the implementation of the UBE programme in Bayelsa State?
  4. What is the perception of Chairmen and Directors on the adequacy of funds provision for the implementation of the UBE programme in Bayelsa State?

Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested for significance at the 0.05 alpha level in the study:

Head teachers and Teachers do not differ significantly in their perception on the adequacy of teacher provision for the implementation of the UBE programme in Bayelsa State.

  1. There is no significant difference between Head teachers and Teachers in their perception on the adequacy of infrastructural facilities provision for the implementation of the UBE programme in Bayelsa State.
  2. Head teachers and Teachers do not differ significantly in their perception on the adequacy of textbooks/ instructional materials provision for the UBE programme implementation in Bayelsa State.
  3. There is no significant difference between Chairmen and Directors in their perception on the adequacy of funds provision for the UBE programme implementation in Bayelsa State.

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