Lack of credible data, scourge of basic education development

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The Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, lamented that the lack of accurate and reliable data remains the scourge of basic education in Nigeria.

Bobboyi denounced a situation where educational planners and decision makers have had to settle for data that is outdated or outright falsified.

“The absence of current and reliable data often leads to flawed plans whose objectives are difficult to achieve. This creates a situation where we overestimate the needs leading to wasted resources or underestimating which leads to underfunding of programs or activities,” he said.

He spoke in Abuja at the National Personnel Audit (NPA) 2022 one-day planning committee consultative meeting with religious leaders on the modalities of conducting the NPA in all educational institutions base in Nigeria.

The first phase of the NPA exercise will begin on Monday June 6 in the south of the country.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI), which were represented at the consultative meeting, pledged their support for the success of the exercise.

Bobboyi, who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary (Services), Dr. Isiaka Kolawole, in his address, acknowledged the key role played by religious leaders in the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) in the countries, urging them to continue working with the government to address the challenge of out-of-school children while ensuring that quality basic education is provided to citizens.

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He also called on religious leaders, who he noted have many schools across the country, to support the NPA exercise, saying the lack of data on basic education had remained a major challenge to its implementation in Nigeria.

He said it was in this context that the commission, along with the state and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) universal basic education boards, conducted national personal audits in 2006, 2010 and 2018, explaining that the 2018 exercise was more comprehensive as it covered all categories of public and private educational institutions unlike previous exercises which were limited only to public schools.

“We are in the process of conducting another staff audit of all educational institutions in the country, offering comprehensive education or elements of basic education. This is for the purpose of collecting school data on enrollment, staff and facilities, among others,” he said.

According to him, data collection allows the commission to plan effectively for the systematic achievement of educational goals, monitor progress, identify strengths and weaknesses of implementation strategies and form the basis for making decisions. enlightened.

“Basically, from the state to the federal level, we should always know the numbers and characteristics of learners, teachers, and other school staff. We should know what facilities are available and what are the gaps. This is a big concern for us at the commission. he said.

The Deputy Executive Secretary (Technical) of UBEC and Chairman of the NPA 2022 National Planning Committee, Professor Bala Zakari, has sought the cooperation of religious leaders, particularly in the area of ​​mass mobilization and sensitization of heads of their various schools nationwide in preparation for the exercise. .

Dr. Khalil Aliyu, Secretary General of JNI, in his goodwill message delivered at the event, said the count was crucial as it would help in obtaining comprehensive data for proper planning and budgeting for the health sector. ‘education.

He assured that JNI would do the necessary mobilization and orientation at the local, state and federal levels.

“The outcome of the national audit will help improve education budgeting, as education is the foundation for the socio-political development of countries.

“We commend UBEC for its efforts to improve education in Nigeria and we will be willing to support the commission to advance basic education in Nigeria,” Aliyu said.

In his address, CAN Secretary General Joseph Daramola commended UBEC for embarking on the exercise, saying it was critical given the need to reposition the education sector in Nigeria. .

He promised that the CAN would sensitize the various religious groups that depend on it at all levels to ensure the success of the exercise.

He thanked the federal government for taking faith-based schools into account in the enrollment count compared to the 2018 edition which did not include faith-based institutions at the basic levels.

“We are ready to team up with UBEC to further develop education in Nigeria,” he said.

Daramola, however, decried the gradual erosion of the nation’s cherished values ​​and morals in schools, with misconduct in exams becoming a malaise in many schools across the country.

He said “it is unfortunate that it is no longer just students who are implicated in exam misconduct, but also parents and teachers”, urging the government and regulators to be firm on issues of discipline.

“We commend states that have returned mission schools to their original owners. We call on the government to return mission schools, both Christian and Muslim, to their original owners to bring back morality.

“If morality was taught in schools, armed robbery, robbery, terrorism and banditry would be a thing of the past,” he added.

On the issue of the University Academic Staff Union (ASUU) strike, the CAN scribe called on the federal government and ASUU to agree without further delay to end the strike.

He particularly urged the federal government to look into the plight of ASUU and accede to their demands while urging ASUU to spare the government given the current economic situation nationwide.

He noted that it is parents and students who bear the brunt of the prolonged strike, adding that many students who are idle have engaged in crime and criminality including banditry, saying that “a hand idle is the devil’s workshop”.

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