The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), has revealed that it has so far disbursed the sum of N48.6 billion to support the State Governments for training and re-training of teachers and education managers in public basic education institutions in the country.
This intervention under its Teacher Professional Development (TPD) Fund, is implemented through on-the-job training, seminars, workshop, conferences and in-service training and mentoring.
Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, made this known in Abuja on Friday at a two-day capacity building for members of Education Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ECAN).
Bobboyi, who was represented by the Director of Social Mobilisation at the Commission, Mr Bello Kagara, however, lamented low participation of the private sector in the delivery of basic education in Nigeria.
He said education is a vital tool for a viable development of the country and that the ultimate goal should be to reach the Nigerian child in any part of the nation with quality education.
He noted that to put Nigeria’s basic education sub-sector on a sound footing would require the active support of the organised private sector through the adoption of schools, the building of more classrooms and other forms of infrastructure in schools, especially in local communities across the country.
Mr Kagara in his keynote presentation at the event corrected what he described as a common misconception by many Nigerians that whatever happens at the basic education level is the responsibility of UBEC, stressing that the Commission intervenes only on behalf of the Federal Government in line with the provisions of the UBE ACT 2004.
According to him, education being on the concurrent list, the implementation of basic education in Nigeria is vested on the states and local governments while the Federal Government regulate the system to ensure quality and uniformity.
He noted for instance that as at 30th June 2020, the total statutory releases by the Federal Government as matching grant to states (FGN-UBE Matching Grant), for the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE), stood at N503 out of which a total sum of N449 was disbursed to 36 states and FCT, Abuja leaving a balance of un-accessed in the sum of N53 representing 22.75 per cent.
Kagara said despite this intervention, some of the challenges in the delivery of basic education in Nigeria remains inadequate funding, poor teacher quality and low participation of the private sector.
He expressed fears that UBE funding was going to be reduced because of the effect of COVID-19 pandemic and that if this is done, basic education would be greatly imperilled.
Chairman of the Education Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ECAN), Mr Chuks Ukwuatu, called for the more sustained partnership of UBEC with the media organisations in the actualisation of its mandate while the Public Relations Officer of UBEC, Dr Ossom Ossom, appealed to the media to be fair and objective as well as avoid sensationalism in the reportage of basic education issues.