From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) said on Monday that it would deploy space technology in the monitoring of projects to ensure quality delivery of infrastructure for basic education in the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, made this known in Kaduna, at the opening of four-day training for Physical Planning Officers of UBEC and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
Bobboyi, who was represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mrs Titi Onosede, said that UBEC has reviewed the minimum standard for infrastructural development in basic education.
He said that the space technology would be used in the new standard, which clearly sets the level of acceptable standards and gives practical guidance on how to achieve them.
He explained that UBEC, in partnership with National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has created a GPS-enabled platform to map and geographically locate projects undertaking by UBEC and SUBEB.
According to him, the e-platform will enable the board to ascertain the status and quality of project from anywhere in the world before a contractor will be paid.
“Since the commencement of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) implementation in 2005, the monitoring structure essentially depends on the period funds are released to states and not tracking activities related to project circle.
“There were also inadequate number of visits to projects sites, weak follow up mechanism and absence of check and balances in the monitoring, which in the long run do not properly address the issue of quality.
“To address the challenges, UBEC has decided to introduced space technology, and consult NASRDA, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and other professionals in the building industry to strengthen the monitoring structure.”
He stressed that the new structure would increase visit to projects sites, which were now tied to project circle, encourage check and balances and enhance transparency and accountability in project execution.
He also said that the deployment of technology would enable UBEC and SUBEB to confirm status reports from their offices, adding that the involvement of COREN with other professionals would check quackery at project sites.
“It will also enhance quality by ensuring adherence to contract specifications which in the long run would guarantee value for money,” Bobboyi added.
Also speaking, UBEC’s Director, Physical Planning, Mr Sadiq Sa’ad, described human resources as a ‘critical asset’ needed by any organisation to achieve set goals.
According to him, UBEC will lag behind if it fails to recurrently train and update the capacity of its human resources.
“It is on this regard that UBEC identified training and retraining as key element in achieving quality result and deliver expected quality in infrastructural projects across the states.
“Also, the deployment of space technology is part of the changes introduced by the commission to strengthen monitoring mechanism to deliver quality infrastructure for the delivery of quality teaching and learning.”
Sa’ad explained that more than 64 physical planning officers of UBEC and SUBEB would be trained on how to use electronic gadgets in monitoring of projects across the country.
He added that the training, equally provided an opportunity to share problems and challenges, proffer solutions and learn new ways of doing things.
Dr Godstime James, of NASRDA, Abuja, said that the agency has created a server and a data base using cloud platform for the monitoring officers to upload status of projects from any part of the country.
James added that the officers would to train on how to use tablet computers to effectively carry out project monitoring and upload data obtain at projects sites to the server.
“This in the long run improve efficiency in monitoring and check corruption in the system,” he said.