The Katsina State team that represented Nigeria at the International Debate Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has emerged winner of the competition after beating the hosts Malaysian team.
The Katsina team secured the ticket to represent Nigeria after becoming runners up at the 2021 Presidential Inter-Schools debate championship in Lagos.
Malam Aminu Badaru, the spokesperson of Katsina State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), disclosed this in a statement issued to newsmen on Sunday in Katsina.
He said that the debate was conducted on current affairs, especially the crisis, Public and Private schools and also on two party systems of government.
According to him, the championship, held between Sept. 14, and 22, was conducted successfully and without hitches.
Badaru added that, “six students from Junior Secondary Schools (JSSs) in the state represented NIgeria at the competition, out of which four were females.
” He said that the SUBEB’s Executive Chairman, Alhaji Lawal Buhari-Daura, who led the team, described the performance of the Nigerians as wonderful and commendable.
“Buhari-Daura also said that winning the trophy by the team was a clear testimony of the commitment of Gov. Aminu Masari’s resolve to resuscitate the lost glory of education in the state.
The SUBEB boss also appreciated and commended the state government for sponsoring the trip that enabled the state to represent Nigeria at the debate.
He assured the Presidential Schools Debate of Nigeria (PSDN) that the Katsina team would continue to make the state and the country proud in all future competitions.
Buhari-Daura commended the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for its support towards the development of basic education in the state.
The SUBEB Desk Officer for debate and quiz competitions, Alhaji Suleiman Umar, said winning the trophy was not by surprise, considering the concerted efforts of the state government and vigorous grooming and training the team had before its departure.
According to him, the team has since returned home.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has charged the Nigerian government to address barriers responsible for the increasing number of out-of-school children in the country.
UNICEF Country Representative to Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins said this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria Forum, a special interview programme, in Abuja.
Hawkins identified poverty, proximity to school, and inadequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities, among others, as factors hindering retention in school and the completion of education in the country.
According to him, one of the biggest problems is the reduction of the number of schools from basic to post basic level, especially for the girls.
“What you find is a village where the schools are full of girls and boys and it is incredible, it is fantastic.
“But immediately they have to go to junior secondary education, you see a massive drop in enrollment and going to school.
“Because of security concerns, distance concerns; there’s poverty concerns and so on and so forth, as one.
“Two is the issue of access to quality education and you see it is in many communities, especially rural communities, can they afford to let the children go to school?
“Now, Nigeria is very good at its free education, basic education is free for all.
“But it is the transport to the school and, when you get to the schools, there’s the uniform; whether it is the books and all of these unintended consequences that are all costs that are there.
“So, we need to find how to reduce those barriers, making the school closer to the villages is an obvious way.
“The third is that many rural communities don’t have the means to sustain their children.
” The UNICEF official said that parents in rural areas, therefore, resolved to send their children to the towns with the hope of receiving some sort of learning.
He also identified the menace of Almajiri (pupil of non formal Qur’anic school) in parts of the country as one of the reasons for the increasing number of out-of-school children.
“And we know that the phenomenon of the Almajiri in different parts of the country has perpetrated a vast number of children who are out-of-school; who are learning but not the full scope of the learning.
“Spiritual learning is fantastic and we should encourage it, but it needs to be complemented by numeracy and literacy, to ensure that the child has it in the right environment.
” On the conflicting figures of out-of-school children by UNICEF and the Federal Ministry of Education, Hawkins said that the Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) put the out-of-school number at 10.2 million.
He said the figure was produced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and other relevant agencies, hence stood by it.
According to him, all the figures have been produced by the government; the MICS is by the NBS of Nigeria.
“The Statistician-General agrees and produced those figures; we support them in doing it and give them the technical and financial support to be able to do it.
“We also support Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to produce the figures for out-of-school children at basic education level.
“So the figure of that is 10.2 million and that is agreed and that is the UBEC figure; 8.5 million in secondary education is the agreed figure that the Ministry of Education produced.
” According to Hawkins, the most important issue to deal with is not the figures but the impact it would have on the children.
Worried by deplorable conditions of public primary schools and poor remuneration of primary school teachers across the South-West zone, stakeholders in the education sector have called on the three tiers of government to address it.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Ibadan, Akure, Ado-Ekiti, Osogbo, Abeokuta and Ilorin, they called for urgent measures by the governments to ensure improved performance.
The respondents were of the view that primary school education, which they described as the very foundation across the world, should not be handled with reckless abandonment.
In Ibadan, Prof. Adams Onuka, a retired Professor of Education Evaluation, University of Ibadan, described the conditions of public primary schools nationwide as unconducive for effective learning.
“The facilities are just not there.
When the existing ones become obsolete or dilapidated, they are not replaced; buildings are not maintained,” Onuka said.
He said that the situation in the rural areas was, however, worse.
According to him, some schools have no roofs, some have no walls and in some cases, pupils are learning under the trees.
“Schools in rural areas are hardly adequately staffed.
The amenities are not attractive, so teachers don’t even live there.
“They use their meagre salaries, which are sometimes not regularly paid, to shuttle, for which reason, they don’t go regularly to the rural schools,” he said.
Onuka, however, did not see the private primary schools, especially in the rural areas, as anything better, saying, “There is nothing to write home about them”.
He identified the challenges of educational institutions from primary to the tertiary to include: lack of facilities, understaffing and poor remuneration, both in the public and some private schools.
“The situation in the nation’s education sector needs declaration of a state of emergency, if we are to get things right and shortly.
“May God help us to get our priority right, so that we can give the sector its rightful place and our nation can then move forward,” Onuka said.
Also, a Director in Oyo State Ministry of Education, Mrs Bolaji Adeoti, said the present administration, since its inception over three years ago, had completed many projects in the primary education.
According to Adeoti, the projects, which are majorly infrastructure development, include construction and renovation of several blocks of classroom.
She said the projects had improved the learning atmosphere of thousands of pupils in the public primary schools.
On the remunerations of primary school teachers, the officer said that government was doing all it could to improve welfare of the teachers.
He said that 129 teachers, wrongly dismissed by the immediate past administration, had been reinstated by Gov. Seyi Makinde-led administration.
“This is another way of catering for the welfare of the teachers, as thousands of family dependents, who have been subjected to untold economic hardship, due to layoff of their breadwinners, will now have a new lease of life.
“In addition to this, recently, a total of 9,227 primary school teachers on Grade Level 13 to 15 were presented with letters of promotion.
“This gesture, by the present administration, was to boost the morale of teachers in the public primary schools, whose promotions have been pending for years under the immediate past administration.
“All these and other efforts are being carried out by Makinde’s administration to improve the welfare of primary school teachers.
“It is also to reduce the deplorable condition of public primary school buildings to zero,” he said.
Also, Mr Moses Solanke, the Convener, CVG-AFRICA, a nonprofit organisation with interest in child education development, said: “How much a nation values its children is determined by value of the nation’s primary education.
“You cannot claim to value your children when you keep denying them quality primary education; for this is the bedrock of, not just the child, but also of the nation.
“Standard education is beyond the provision of tables and chairs or of buildings, as government is widely making us to believe.
“All of these are important, but much more is the provision of human resources – the teachers and non-teaching staff, who are, in a sense, all teachers.
“Education should also be considered beyond academics, as scoring high academic grades may not always mean that a child has been educated.
“The child’s extracurricular experience and other soft skills translate to a complete and healthy education that can make the child become relevant anywhere in the world,” he said.
Solanke, however, called for the involvement of individuals, old students, religious organisations and other stakeholders in the development of education, saying that government had shown enough signs of lack of interest.
In Akure, Mr Opeyemi Aje, a parent, said that little could be achieved in the primary school system where teachers were not adequately remunerated and attended to.
“You can hardly expect good things from teachers who are not well compensated; they cannot put in their best as expected.
“I don’t blame them, because they too have their responsibilities,” he said.
Aje explained that though, public primary schools in the state have good building structures, the academic and behavioural teaching being meted out to pupils were not satisfactory.
According to him, pupils in the private primary schools perform better than pupils in the public primary schools in the external examinations.
He, therefore, advised the government to do the necessary things that would motivate teachers for the outstanding performance of the pupils.
“There is no magic anywhere.
Government should do the needful that will ensure that teachers are motivated,” he said.
In her response, Mrs Kehinde Aruleba, a Teacher, described the state of public primary schools in Ondo State as improving, when compared to what it used to be in the past.
Aruleba said the immediate past administration in the state came up with transformational policies in the primary school system that made the public primary schools pride of the state.
She added that the current administration was able to spend resources on developing the infrastructure of primary schools, making the primary school system attractive.
According to her, the mode of recruitment of teachers into the system should, however, be on merit and not by influence or any other inclination.
Aruleba urged the state government to invest heavily in proper and constant training of teachers, so as to make them attain international standards.
She also asked the government to pay teachers promptly with lots of incentives, urging the state public primary schools to focus more on the quality of teaching.
Also, Mr Mathias Fafeyiwa, a retired Headmaster at Methodist Primary School, Okitipupa, said that government was no longer according premium to qualitative education in general.
According to Fafeyiwa, the government is not conforming with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) expected budgetary allocation to education, which should be at least between 15 and 20 per cent of the total national budget.
“Yearly allocations to education in the budgets are nothing to write home about; this is why public primary education has been in shambles and deplorable conditions,” he said.
Fafeyiwa said that the government’s negligence of primary school education was rubbing off on primary school teachers.
“The teachers are not getting the best attention as well, which is militating against giving their best in the discharge of their duties,” he said.
Fafeyiwa pointed out that the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) was created by the government to oversee primary education in the country.
“But unfortunately, the board is not doing enough to salvage the situation.
“Primary education is the bedrock of education anywhere in the world, because it forms the basis of education for any child, before furthering at the secondary and tertiary institutions.
“The inability of Nigerian Government to give proper attention to education in the budget have eroded the standard of primary education; this is responsible for the deplorable state of primary schools in the country.
“Recently, the Federal Government signed the establishment of several universities into law without, even minding how to give facelifts to the ones on ground.
To me, this is a case of misplacement of priorities.
“I am surprised by the way some government functionaries handle education in Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, a whole lot of them benefitted from free education immediately after our independence.
“The basics of education remain the primary school and governments need to rise up to their responsibilities by going back to the old ways, where education, especially primary education, was made compulsory for everyone.
“Government must also deal with corruption, which have been a draining pipe for the government functionaries to siphon money meant to develop education.
“Any nation that jokes with education, especially primary education, may not likely survive, because knowledge with information is power and liberation,” Fafeyiwa said.
In Ado-Ekiti, Mr Michael Babajide, called for urgent decisive measures, aimed at returning the lost glory of primary education, through projects that would make the school environment learning-friendly.
He also called for the enhancement of remuneration of teachers.
In his contributions, a retired teacher, Kayode Boluwaji, said it was unfortunate that in spite of years of intervention in schools’ infrastructure development by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in many states, officials do not apply the funds appropriately.
A parent, Mrs Temilola Olugbenga, said that the negative development was gradually making teaching profession unattractive to the young ones across the country.
Mr Bode Afolayan, a serving primary school teacher, said the inadequate welfare and remuneration had led to the Exodus of good hands in the teaching profession to other means of livelihood.
Afolayan said that teachers in the primary segment of the nation’s education sector were worst hit in terms of poor working conditions, delayed promotions, training and retraining.
“Our voices are least heard by those concerned with our welfare and wellbeing.
“Generally, teachers are, of course, amongst the most maltreated workers in the country; the situation is more than worrisome in the primary segment.
“This is the reason most of the best hands in the profession retraced their steps to find greener pastures elsewhere,” he said.
Also, Elder Mathew Abegunde, a retired Principal, said that advent of private Nursery and Primary School system made the public school system a second fiddle, thus suffering from neglect.
“The poor working condition of teachers and the bad state of infrastructure in many public primary schools had made many parents to prefer the private schools and this is dangerous for the sector.
“These parents are of the belief that they will get the desired quality education in addition to better welfare and good environment they want for their children and wards from teachers in the private schools.
“It’s a well-known fact that the poor working conditions in many public schools have created redundancy and poor morale among teachers and pupils.
“Unfortunately, this has continually affected pupils’ performances,” Abegunde said.
Also, Mrs Christy Aduloju, a School Proprietor, described the primary sector of the nation’s education as the bedrock and foundation, which should not be toyed with.
“If we miss it at the primary level, it will be very difficult to get it right at other top levels of education,” Aduloju said.
Expressing disappointment at the deplorable level of public primary schools in the country, she said that stakeholders, especially the National Assembly, should urgently rescue the situation through proper legislation.
In her remarks, the Headmaster-General in Ekiti, Mrs Olawumi Omonijo, said her office was not unaware of the challenges in the primary school, saying efforts had always been to address the noticeable areas.
Omonijo said she had never relented since assuming office in February to ensure that the welfare and wellbeing of teachers were adequately taken care of.
The headmaster-general said that as part of her monitoring and supervision roles, she had been going round schools in the state to have a first hand assessment of the situation on ground.
She said that Gov. Kayode Fayemi-led administration would continue to add value and impact positively on the standard of education, just as it had always done.
However, Alhaji Kabir Adekomi, the Osun Chairman, National Union of Teachers (NUT), said that though, many variables were responsible for the deplorable conditions of public primary schools, government neglect was the major.
Adekomi said it was sad to see that public primary schools, built by the old Western region government, under its educational system, had been neglected by successive governments.
“Primary schools had been in existence before other tiers of education came into being and it is disheartening that most of the classrooms built long ago by past governments are still being used today in their bad conditions.
“Government played lukewarm attitude toward renovating the old classrooms or building new ones; that is why most of the classrooms are not conducive for learning.
“The government act as if the public primary schools are for the commoners, children of the poor and illiterate parents.
“So, over the years, they have refused to upgrade the classrooms to international standards.
“Government has also failed to upgrade the learning processes and equip the schools with modern facilities like computers and e-libraries, especially schools in the rural areas.
“Most of the primary schools in rural areas are seriously neglected and most of their classrooms have become dilapidated, broken down and now being used as hideouts by criminals.
“Primary school teachers are not given adequate training, which is needed for them to upgrade their knowledge and compete favourably with their counterparts in other parts of the world.
“The way to improve on primary education is for government to improve the welfare of teachers and equally monitor activities in the schools.
“Government should not look down on primary school education, because it is the foundation of education in the country,” he said.
However, an Abeokuta-based education Consultant, Mr Peter Akinlabi, noted that primary school teachers were poorly remunerated, pointing out that the situation cut across public and private primary schools.
Akinlabi added that the working environment, as well as the conditions of service for the teachers, were not motivating.
“Many of the classrooms are not conducive for teaching, while many allowances that workers in other professions enjoy are not applicable to them.
“Often times, teachers are not motivated and cannot give their best, because they are not inspired,” he said.
Akinlabi attributed the situation to poor funding of the education system, adding that governments at various levels had continued to pay lip service to education.
A parent, Mrs Fauziyah Adebiyi, said that for a very long time, most primary schools in Ogun built in 1980s, had been in shambles.
Adebiyi said she had to withdraw her daughter, who was in Primary Three from a public school in Ijebu-Igbo, because she was not comfortable with the quality and standard of education at the public school.
She called for recruitment of more teachers, training of the existing ones and provision of adequate infrastructure at the schools in order to reposition them for optimal performance.
“There are still many schools in the state with leaking roofs and in some cases without roofs.
“Some don’t have enough sitting facilities and pupils are made to sit on the floor while learning,” Adebiyi said.
She, however, commended Gov. Dapo Abiodun’s efforts at providing infrastructure in a number of primary schools in the state.
“He has restructured some of the dilapidated schools and provided the needed facilities,” Adebiyi said.
Also, Mr Samson Oyelere, the NUT Secretary in Ogun, said that the education sector, particularly the primary school had continued to improve since the inception of the Abiodun-led administration.
Oyelere explained that with the support of the governor, the state primary school education had been transformed from “analogue to digital”.
He, however, said that there were still more to be done, particularly in the area of recruitment of teachers, adding the ratio of pupils to teachers needed to be improved.
The NUT Secretary appealed to the government to fulfil promises made before its assumption of office and ensure recruitment of more teachers.
According to him, the government has not done badly in the provision of infrastructure at the schools.
He said: “We only appeal that between now and the resumption date, the promises made should be fulfilled and they should look at how they can employ more teachers.
“More efforts should also be geared toward the provision of teaching and learning materials in our schools.
Teaching and learning require adequate teaching aids.
“Teachers’ incentives should be looked into.
Salary deductions should be released on time, promotion should be released on time, leave allowance should be paid to time, while rural allowance should be favourably considered.
” Commenting, Mr Azeez Adeyemi, the Special Assistant to the State Governor on Students’ Matters, described primary schools as pivotal to the development of the state.
According to him, it offers basic education in the state, while representing foundational and preparatory education for everyone.
Adeyemi said that the state governor had continued to deliver the dividends of democracy to Ogun people through quality education.
“Out of the numerous interventions by this current administration, the yellow roof innovation, across public primary schools in all local governments, has attracted so much commendations from all and sundry.
“Renovation and complete construction of primary school buildings across the length and breadth of the state has ensured a very serene and comfortable environment, which effectively facilitates teaching and learning for our pupils,” he said.
Adeyemi said the government had scrapped all education levies at all levels of education, adding that it had brought a great succour to parents and guaranteed optimum affordability of primary education.
“The state government conducts a Unified Education Scheme.
This approach has been reported to be the best for effective teaching-learning process.
“The teacher will cover up schemes of work, while the pupils will be at par in terms of competition with pupils from other regions,” he said.
Also Prof. Medinat Salman of the Department of Science Education, University of Ilorin, called for funding of all levels of education.
Salman said that no nation or educational system could rise above her teachers’ quality.
She explained that the role of teachers at all levels of education was emphasised in the National Policy on Education.
The educationist underscored the need for teachers’ effectiveness in the teaching and learning process.
“It is the teacher’s competence, ability, resourcefulness and ingenuity, through effective utilisation of appropriate language, methodology and availability instructional materials that could bring out the best from the learners, in terms of academic achievement,” she said.
The don advocated better remuneration for teachers for effective discharge of teaching as well as better infrastructure for schools at all levels.
Citing example of teaching Mathematics, the educationist said that the poor performance of the subject could be traced to the poor foundation at the primary school level.
Salman called for the training and retraining of teachers at all levels.
According to her, there is need to shift from teacher-centred method of teaching to problem-solving instructional strategies, especially in subjects such as Mathematics.
“I have carried out research and have deduced the fact that the mode of instructions, especially at both primary and secondary levels of education, remains overwhelmingly teacher-centred.
“This is with greater emphasis on the use of the lecture mode of instruction and the use of textbooks rather than engaging students in critical thinking, across subject areas and in applying the knowledge acquired to solving real life problems,” she said.
Some stakeholders in the education sector in the North-East have identified poor school infrastructure as the major bane militating against delivery of quality education at basic level in the region.
They also enumerated lack of good remuneration of teachers as factor behind poor academic performances.
They stakeholders including educationalists, parents and civil society activists spoke while responding to a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria in Bauchi, Damaturu, Maiduguri and Gombe.
Mr Mohammed Yunusa, an educationists in Damaturu dismmsed the state of public primary schools in the state as ‘pathetic’.
He said most of the schools, especially those in the rural areas lack good infrastructure, teaching and instructional materials.
He said the classrooms has been crowded, a situation which forced pupils to take lesson under tree shades.
“In one of the school with over 2,000 registered pupils, its condition is terrible.
“The school needs urgent intervention to upgrade existing structures and construct new ones to accommodate the population,” he said.
Mega School YobeMalam Abdullahi Ali, a resident of Yadin-Buni in Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe, said many primary schools vandalised by Boko Haram insurgents had been rehabilitated.
He, however, said the schools had not been put to use, a trend which overstretched the few functional schools in the area.
He also decried shortage of teachers in the schools due to their locations and vulnerability to security threats, adding that, “teachers decline posting to such vulnerable schools for fear of the insurgents”.
Malam Abdul-Rahman Aminu, who corroborated earlier opinion, said the problem was further compounded by lack of qualified teachers to teach in the schools.
He said teachers in such schools could not put in their best in view of the poor remuneration and working conditions.
A teacher, who pleaded anonymity decried the poor renumeration, noting that it resulted poor performances in the schools.
She said the salary of N27,000 for teachers was below the N30,000 national minimum wage, adding the take-home pay is demoralising to the teachers.
“The salary is meager and unattractive that cannot sustain the life of a teacher,” she said.
Newly constructed classroom, MaiduguriFurthermore; Mr Abdullahi Yelwa, a lecturer with the Department of Crime Management and Control (CMC), Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi, said the remuneration of teachers at the basic level was not attractive.
According to him, poor remuneration of teachers and deplorable condition of primary schools is affecting the foundation of education in the country.
He attributed the deplorable condition of the schools to poor funding of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) by respective state governments.
“Before, primary education has been fully supported by local governments through LEAs, because the people know who to hold accountable for successes or failure of education at the grassroots.
“Presently; the local government councils are not receiving their statutory allocation in the name of Joint Account, thereby making it impossible for them to fund education at basic level.
“The establisment of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) caused more damage than the expected positive outcome in the education sector,” he said.
The lecturer advocated for the review of UBEC programme as part of measures to reinvigorate the basic education sector.
To address the problem, the state governments in the region had initiated viable infrastructure and teacher development programmes towards raising standard in the sector.
Mega school, Gombe In Borno; the state government had executed 194 school infrastructure projects in the past three years.
According to official document, the projects include rehabilitation, completion and construction of new 21 mega primary, secondary and technical colleges across the 27 local government areas of the state.
It showed that 33 of the projects had been executed in Askira Uba; eight in Bama, six in Bayo, six in Biu, nine in Chibok, two in Damboa, two in Guzamala and eight in Gwoza.
Others were 12 school projects in Hawul; 25 in Jere, five in Kaga, 19 in Konduga, four in Kwaya Kusar, six in Mafa, one in Mobbar, 48 in Maiduguri, four in Monguno, four in Ngala and two in Gubio.
The government also distributed 221,000 assorted text books to the schools.
Also, Mohammed Jibrin, Chairman of the Nigeri Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state, commended Gov. Babagana Zulum for approving new minimum wage for teachers.
He said the gesture would motivate the teachers, adding that good remuneration was necessary in getting qualified teachers.
“The teachers are impressed as it would improve teaching and learning process in the state.
“In Borno, the government has done well in area of infrastructure, what we need now is more qualified teachers to manage our schools,” Jibrin said.
Mega school, GombeIn Gombe, the state government says it has renovated 715 basic and post schools, constructed 612 classrooms and 10 administrative blocks in 10 schools.
Mr Babaji Babadidi, Executive Chairman, Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), reiterated government commitment towards improvement of teachers’ welfare He said the board was working towards the implementation of the teacher promotion, adding that the state recorded 539,831 pupils enrollment in 12,637 schools across the state.
According to him, the government has recruited qualified teachers to address shortage of manpower in the schools.
This, he would encouraged school enrollment and reduce the number of out-of-school children in the state.
, In the same vein; Yobe government has constructed seven mega primary and secondary schools across the major towns in the state to decongest classrooms, create enabling teaching and learning environment.
The state government also constituted a technical committee on basic and secondary education to rejuvenate the sector.
For his part; Bello urged government at all levels to increase funding to the education sector to encourage infrastructure and teacher development programmes.
“The state governments should invest heavily and demonstrate interest in education because you cannot say education is compulsory at the basic level and it is not available”.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has called for adequate motivation of teachers, saying they are regarded as the determining factors of every educational policies of any country.
The Policy Advisor, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), Mrs Odinaka Ahanonu, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.
Ahanonu said that the motivation level of teachers all over the world had been found to be a significant factor in influencing the delivery of quality education.
She said that this invariably affected the attainment of learning outcomes in classrooms internationally.
“Teachers determine what ultimately happens to educational policies, to curriculum guidelines, the use which teaching-learning materials are put, and in fact, it determines the fate of a nation’s huge investment in education.
“The fundamental objectives and principles of state policy (Chapter two of the Nigerian Constitution , Section 16) expressly states this.
“It states that it shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government to ensure that the control of state economy is directed to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice, equality of status and opportunity and a reasonable minimum wage.
“This underpins Nigerian teachers long drawn demand for the implementation of the Teachers Salary Structure,” she said.
Ahanonu said that low salaries, lack of fringe benefits, poor working conditions, poor teachers’ public image, lack of job satisfaction, lack of retirement benefits, among others contribute to lack of motivation for teachers.
According to her, all these underscored the fact that no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers.
“No nation can rise above the quality of its education and the fate of this nation depends on the education of its people and hence the quality of its teachers.
“Achieving the SDG 2030 goals will depend on achieving basic education of good quality that will depend on retaining and recruiting well qualified and good remuneration for teachers,” she said.
She said of importance was also education infrastructure as an important factor in determining the quality of learning and students being churned out.
Ahanonu said that most public schools lacked basic infrastructure such as laboratory, library, classrooms, electricity and quality learning environment.
According to her, these are crucial elements of learning environments in schools and a strong evidence that high-quality infrastructure facilitates better instruction, improves student outcomes, and reduces dropout rates, among other benefits.
“Poor learning environment can be a direct barrier to attendance for some marginalised groups of children including girls and children with disabilities.
“This negative perception of the school’s social climate contributes to high absenteeism.
In turn, that contributes to low test scores and poor academic achievement.
“School buildings that are in good condition and attractive may signal to students that someone cares and there is a positive social climate, which in turn may encourage better attendance,” she said.
She noted that Nigerian education was in an emergency situation that required an urgent intervention.
She said the government both federal and state must commit at least 15 to 20 per cent of their annual budget to improve the standard of education.
“Education is a basic minimum for the development and sustenance of democracy, therefore governments’ initiatives in this sector should prioritise the needs of those who run the programme – the teachers ahead of quick win political gains.
“Government at all levels should professionalise teaching in Nigeria by ensuring the newly approved special teacher’s salary scale is fully implemented.
“States should make conscious effort to access the intervention fund from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC),” she said.
Ahanonu advised that a monitoring team should be set up that would ensure that education fund was spent in a transparent and accountable manner.
She said this would amount to a strong coordination, communication and consultation between different government line agencies such as development partners, CSOs and the media to ensure policy coherence across all sectors.
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has hailed the drop in the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria from 10.5 million to 6.9 million under President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group noted that the current figure was contrary to various figures in the media space.
The BMO said this in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Niyi Akinsiju, and its Secretary, Mr Cassidy Madueke, on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the organisation, the figure recently cited by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, is more authentic than figures from any other source.
“In recent times, various figures have been quoted by different individuals and groups as the number of out-of-school children in the country without recourse to the actual authorities.
“What we find surprising is that many have opted to ignore data supplied by the education ministry as far back as 2020 and prefer to hold on to outdated information for whatever reason.
“We recall that at the 2020 annual ministerial press briefing of the ministry addressed by Minister Adamu Adamu in January 2021.“He was emphatic that Nigeria now has 6.9 million out of school children contrary to the previous figure of 10.5 million that was first released in 2015, but still being cited by many individuals and groups,” the BMO said.
It recalled that only recently, the minister used the occasion of another ministerial briefing to emphasise that the number had since 2020 dropped to 6.9 million.
The BMO said the minister had explained that this was as a result of some of the initiatives introduced by the Buhari administration.
It added that an initiative known as Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) had been instrumental in improving enrolment in schools in many parts of the country.
It said the BESDA was the singular most important initiative by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration that had helped to drastically reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country.
“This initiative, which was launched in 2018 and backed by a $611 million World Bank funding, has focused on increasing school enrolment in 17 states considered as having the highest number of out-of-school children.
“Data obtained from the education ministry shows that in one year alone, a total of 1,053,422 out of school children were enrolled in schools in the 17 beneficiary states under the BESDA programme,” the BMO said.
The organisation listed the states as Adamawa 25,714; Bauchi, 83,391; Borno, 62,336; Ebonyi, 65,471; Gombe, 52,600; Jigawa, 47,416; Kaduna, 39,091; Kano, 302,434; Katsina, 26,555; Kebbi, 25,556, and Niger.
73,568.Others were Oyo, 40,007; Rivers, 22,782; Sokoto, 71,000; Taraba, 24,246; Yobe, 72,000 and Zamfara, 19,055.“We also know that the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has just kicked off the process of ascertaining the accurate number of out-of-school children as well as teachers in both private and public schools at basic education level across Nigeria.
“This is to enable the agency have accurate, verifiable and reliable data, especially as the last time such an head count was done was in 2018.“And we dare say, this is one of the reasons UNICEF is still holding on to an outdated figure of out-of-school children rather than the one the education ministry has released since January 2021,” the BMO said.
It stressed that the ministry of education and its agencies were better placed than any individual or group to provide the most accurate data on school enrolment in Nigeria.
The current number of out-of-school children in Nigeria is 6.9 million, contrary to the various figures bandied around in the media space.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the figure recently cited by the minister of education Adamu Adamu is more authentic than figures from any other source.
“In recent times, various figures have been quoted by different individuals and groups as the number of out-of-school children in the country without a recourse to the actual authorities.
“What we find surprising is that many have opted to ignore data supplied by the education ministry as far back as 2021 and prefer instead to hold on to outdated information for whatever reason.
“We recall that at the 2020 annual ministerial press briefing of the ministry addressed by Minister Adamu Adamu in January 2021, he was emphatic that ‘Nigeria now has 6.9 million out-of-school children contrary to the previous figure of 10.5m that was first released in 2015, but is still being cited by many individuals and groups.
” And only recently, the minister used the occasion of another ministerial briefing to emphasize that the number has since 2020 dropped to 6.9m as a result of some of the initiatives introduced by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration,” it added.
The group said that an initiative known as Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) has been instrumental in improving enrolment in schools in many parts of the country.
“BESDA is the singular most important initiative by the All Progressives Congress APC-led administration that has helped to drastically reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country.
“This initiative which was launched in 2018 and backed by a 611million dollars World Bank funding has focused on increasing school enrolment in 17 states which are considered as having the highest number of out-of-school children.
“Data obtained from the Education ministry show that in one year alone, a total of 1,053,422 out-of-school children were enrolled in schools in the 17 beneficiary States under the BESDA programme as follows: Adamawa, 25,714; Bauchi, 83,391; Borno, 62,336; Ebonyi, 65,471; Gombe, 52,600; Jigawa, 47,416; Kaduna, 39,091; Kano, 302434; Katsina, 26,555; Kebbi, 25,556; Niger, 73,568; Oyo, 40,007; Rivers, 22,782; Sokoto, 71,000; Taraba, 24,246; Yobe, 72,000 and Zamfara, 19,055. “We also know that the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has just kicked off the process of ascertaining the accurate number of out-of-school children as well as teachers in both private and public schools at basic education level across Nigeria.
“This is to enable the agency have accurate, verifiable and reliable data, especially as the last time such a headcount was done was in 2018. “And we dare say, this is one of the reasons UNICEF is still holding on to an outdated figure of out-of-school children rather than the one that the education ministry has released since January 2021.” BMO added that the ministry of education and its agencies were better placed than any individual or group to provide the most accurate data on school enrolment in the country.
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has partnered the Edo Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to train Quality Assurance Officers (QAO).
The two-day workshop, which ended in Benin on Friday, centred on how to conduct quality assurance activities, using digital tools, in line with global best practices.
Dr Idris Jega, the Head of Division, Security Geospatial Intelligence, Department of Strategic Space Application, NASRDA, said it was imperative for quality assurance processes to be digitalised for efficient service delivery in education in Nigeria.
According to him, a country with diverse socio-cultural and environmental resources such as Nigeria, needs current, accurate, and cost-efficient data and resource management.
“The training component for this collaboration is focused on capacity building, for quality assurance officers, Edo SUBEB.
“This is to ensure development of skills and capacity in the application of space technology and GIS (Geographic Information Service) for quality assurance, as well as geospatial intelligence on the activities taking place at schools,” Jega said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that switching to e-quality assurance, Edo SUBEB joined its counterparts in other states in carrying out quality assurance processes, as a means of improving quality education in the country.
Welcoming the participants earlier, Mrs Ozavize Salami, the Executive Chairman, Edo SUBEB, stressed the importance of the training toward upskilling QAOs to deliver on the EdoBEST 2.0, an education reform mandate in the state.
“The Quality Assurance process provides us the framework to independently and objectively assess the impact of our investments in teaching and learning, teacher professional development and school environment.
“With e-quality assurance, this very vital feedback will be available, just by the click of a button,” the SUBEB boss noted.
Mrs Beatrice Oke, Edo State UBEC coordinator, commended the state, on its migration to e-quality assurance.
Oke noted that quality assurance was the core of input processes and output.
“Incorporating ICT in our processes ensures that officers are doing the right thing at the right time.
“This will help us carry out quality assurance in a better way, keeping us at par with other states, while actively increasing the involvement of officers in the basic education ecosystem”, the UBEC coordinator noted.
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has expressed satisfaction with the judicious utilisation of funds by the Kwara Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
The Deputy Executive Secretary (Services) of UBEC, Mr Isiaka Kolawole, stated this on Thursday in Ilorin while speaking with newsmen shortly after inspecting some schools recently constructed by SUBEB.
Kolawole said Kwara was doing well in applying the UBEC funds on schools’ infrastructure.
”The state had missed a lot with blacklist before the present administration paid the backlog of its counterpart funds.
”So, I want to urge other states to emulate Kwara’s investments in the education sector,” the UBEC boss said.
The Chairman, Kwara SUBEB, Prof. Raheem Adaramaja, said the board was elated with the positive commendation from UBEC and that it would spur it to do more for the state.
He hinted that the board would from September, begin free distribution of textbooks to pupils on English language, Mathematics, Basic Sciences and Social Studies, starting with primary four, five and six.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the UBEC team inspected Burhanudeen LGEA School Ojagboro, Government Day Secondary School Amule and UBEC Model Smart School Adeta in Ilorin West Local Government Area of the state.
The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education says it will sanction schools, especially private ones, resisting the National Personnel Audit conducted by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
The Chairman of the committee, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, said this in Abuja on Thursday, while monitoring the 2022 National Personnel Audit.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that UBEC is currently carrying out a national personnel audit of all basic education institutions in the country.
Ihonvbere said that he would propose a law along with other colleagues to make it compulsory for every private school to make available 100 per cent of the personnel data.
“What has been lacking in this country is policy consistency, ability to align policy formulation with policy performance, funding the education sector adequately and ensuring that resources go to the right places.
“The numbers of schools have increased over time but we don’t have enough teachers.
“We are closing schools because of security.
It is not the teachers that will provide the security; it is the government.
So they need to do something about that,” he said.
The chairman said that most schools outside the capital city were lacking perimeter fencing and it was not the government’s responsibility to do that for schools.
“There are schools without water, toilets, playground for primary school pupils.
So we need to take education very seriously.
”That is if we really want to change this country, because education makes the difference in any country.
“So, when I said since 1960 the fundamentally structural challenges and contractions in Nigeria have remained constant, I know what I’m talking about.
“The private schools are taking a major risk.
Even the school where UBEC staff was arrested, I’m surprised that the board has not closed down that school,” he said.
Earlier, Alhaji Alhassan Sule the Executive Chairman, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Universal Basic Education Board, said the availability of data would help to address some challenges facing the education sector.
“What is going on now is a better opportunity for us to have at our fingertips data that concern the enrollment, teachers and infrastructure.
“I think it is better to plan when you have your data at your fingertips.
”I think the best thing that the Federal Government is doing for Nigerian citizens is ensuring free and compulsory basic education for our children,’ he said.