By Stanley Onyekwere
The Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA- Nigeria) has upped advocacy for better implementation of free, compulsory, Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act, 2004, in order to boost the efficiency of the basic education sector.
To this end, the Association unveiled a monthly newsletter tagged: ‘Basic Education Adevocacy (BEAN)’, to help bridge the gap of communicating information on the extent of implementation of universal basic education policies as provided in the Act at the three levels of government.
The National President of the Association, Princewill Okorie, decried the absence of basic education targeted media dissemination channel that will hold stakeholders in the sector accountable.
Okorie, in his welcome address at the newsletter unveiling/inauguration of Advisory Council and 15th anniversary celebration, noted that the situation calls for question as to prudent management of over one hundred and eighty-eight billion Naira injected by federal government into basic education sector from 2016 to 2020.
He added that it has been disclosed that communication of happenings in public primary and junior secondary schools is very essential for improving access to education.
According to him, the birth of BEAN is to amongst others, help prevent the unfortunate distinction among Nigerian children, which will give birth to hatred, envy, anger and unpatriotic spirit among the children raised in the current basic schools.
“The increasing number of out of school children now estimated at 10.5 million is disturbing and calls for urgent action by stakeholders in government and non state actors.
“ Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a national strong mechanism or programme put in place at the federal level to make states key in for a universal approach towards limiting, preventing or stopping the problem in line with part 1, section 2 of UBE Act 2004.
“ There is a gap in terms of communicating information to Nigerian people on the extent of implementation of universal basic education policies as provided in the Act at the three levels of government. Our mission is to close this gap for improved basic education sector and socio-economic and political development of the country.
“Our focus shall be on revealing the provisions of UBE Act 2004, investigating and reporting on the extent of implementation. We shall in the process promote institutions and individuals contributing positively towards effective implementation of provisions of the Act”, he stressed.
Similarly, Dean, Education, Faculty of Education, University of Abuja, Professor Benedict Umaru, who reviewed the Newsletter, commended the association for the initiative to ensure effective inclusiveness in the basic education sector.
He however, noted the need for more stakeholders to ensure intensive advocacy for the efficient implementation of the UBE Act.
Not left out, a member, National Advisory Council of the Association, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, said government should work with bodies such as this to ensure that policies are targeted at the beneficiaries.
She however, expressed serious concerns about the height of insecurity in schools, which requires urgent intervention of stakeholders to reverse the trend.
She therefore called on Government to double its effort to safeguard and secure schools in the society, in order to achieve UBE goals.