southeast governors abandon N8.7B

Southeast Governors abandon N8.7billion Universal Basic Education (UBE) matching grants to help them develop their primary and junior secondary schools.

Ebonyi and Imo faithfully matched and collected their grants, but other states have accumulated arrears, some dating back to 2015.

As at July 2019, UBEC rated Enugu (N3.4B) is worst foot-dragger in accessing the grants, followed by Abia (N2.9B) and Anambra (N1.1B).

Federal authorities have annually budgeted huge UBE grants, waiting for states to match the amounts allocated to them before collection.

The funds allow governors to inject between N1B and N3B annually into the basic education system.

The governors’ unwillingness to access UBE funds accounts reflects in the degradation of infrastructure and quality of instruction in schools.

In addition to free formal basic education, UBE grants enable states and local governments erect buildings to separate junior and senior high schools.

The funds also assist installation and teaching of computer literacy as well as continuous professional development of teachers.

Above all, UBE monitors the school system to ensure that there is uniform and qualitative basic education throughout Nigeria.

Purpose of the Grants

The Obasanjo administration introduced the programme in 1999 to check school dropout and improve primary and junior high school enrollment.

The idea at the time was to assist states and local governments provide uniform and quality basic education throughout Nigeria.

The UBE programme was therefore designed to guarantee access to nine years of free and compulsory formal education for Nigerian children.

Consequently, primary and junior secondary education became officially free and compulsory for all children of school-going age.

The programme’s  lofty objectives include reduction in school dropout, and improved literacy, numeracy, life skills and values for Nigerian children.

However, UBE has not gained traction based on results.

UNICEF, for instance, estimates that 10.5 million Nigeria children are not in school.

This drop-out figure is considered scandalous because it represents 20 percent of total out-of-school children throughout the world.

Southeast Governors abandon N8.7billion grants in Abuja?


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