EVALUATION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF UBE PROGRAMME IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Background of the Study
Education in all countries of the world has been considered very important for personal and societal development. Nigeria is one among the nations of the world that values education. In her National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004) Nigeria sees education as an excellent instrument for effecting national development. Thus, education will be used to achieve the nation’s needs. The policy document provides guidelines on the education of Nigerian society. It contains the philosophy of the nation’s education, levels of education and their objectives, beginning with pre-primary, through primary, secondary to tertiary education.
All over the world, primary education has been regarded as the most important as well as the most accessed by people. This perhaps may be due to the fact that it is the foundation of the whole educational pursuit, which is expected to provide literacy and enlightenment to the citizens. Oni (2008) posited that the importance of primary education can be seen in the sense that all beneficiaries of the other levels of education by necessity have to pass through this level. Federal Republic of Nigeria in her National Police on Education (2004) defined primary education as the kind of education given in an institution for children aged 6-11 years plus, and it constitutes the bedrock upon which the entire educational system is built. It is in view of the indispensable role of education in the development of man and modern society, particularly the primary education that various declarations on education were made at the global level. Such declaration includes The 1984 Human Rights Declaration which states that everyone has right to education, which will be free at least in the elementary school. The Jomtein Declaration on Education for All (EFA) by the year 2000. The New Delhi 1993 Declaration on E-9 Countries in 1993 (the nine countries with the largest concentration of illiteracy of which Nigeria is a member) which was later reaffirmed in Recife, Brazil (2000) by calling for a massive eradication of illiteracy within the shortest possible time span.
Based on the above declarations among others, the then president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on 30th September 1999 launched the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme in Sokoto State. The launching of the programme was appreciated by many Nigerians who considered the programme a good opportunity for improving the literacy level of Nigerians as well as solving the problem of the educational system in Nigeria. Basic education, according to Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), is a type of education comprising of 6 years of primary education and 3 years of junior secondary school education. The policy stipulates that basic education shall be free and compulsory. The scheme shall include adult and non-formal educational programme at primary and junior secondary school levels for both adult and out-of- schools youths. The UBE programme has three main components, namely: Universal, Basic and Education. ‘Universal’ here means that the programme is for everyone, irrespective of tribe, culture or race and class. The term ‘Basic’ depicts that it is fundamental or essential, and that it must be given at all cost. It is on this factor that every other thing rests on, without it, nothing may be achieved. It is the root for the acquisition of any knowledge (Eddy & Akpan, 2009). UBE programme can thus be seen as that type of education that every individual must have; it should not be a privilege but a right, and it should be the sum total of an individual’s experiences no matter his class or background. The mission of Universal Basic Education is to serve as a prime energizer of national movement for the actualization of the nation’s vision. This will mobilize the nation’s creative energies to ensure that Education for All becomes the responsibilities of all (UBE, 2005).
The UBE arrangement is that the First Nine Years must be free, un- interrupted and compulsory. The goals of UBE, according to Federal Ministry of Education (2000), are to universalize access to basic education, provide conducive learning environment and to eradicate illiteracy in Nigeria within the shortest possible time.
The UBE programme as described above has realistic and laudable objectives which, if adequately planned and implemented well, will no doubt improve the literacy level of Nigerian citizens and enable them to live fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of the country. It is important to note that similar educational programmes introduced in Nigeria were unsuccessful. According to Mgbodile (2000), Ogbonnaya (2003) and Ukeje (2000), the problem of Nigerian educational system does not lie with adequate knowledge and policies, but with effective planning and sustainable implementation. They recalled that the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme, which was introduced by our past leaders, had in the end failed. Such failure, according to them, is attributed to several factors, among which are inadequate trained teachers, inadequate infrastructural facilities, inadequate instructional materials, inadequate fund, and lack of effective supervision.
Infrastructural facilities and instructional materials are factors that facilitate and promote teaching and learning and they include items like class rooms, furniture, libraries, administrative block, etc. Trained teachers are special brand of men and women that have received training on coaching, supervising and guiding pupil/students to achieve outstanding feats in life. Fund, on the other hand, refers to the sum of money saved or made available for a particular purpose. These resources, according to Mohammed (2004), have to be of appropriate quality and quantity to meet the minimum standard of promoting any meaningful teaching and learning. Some experts particular Okoli (2007) have observed that the responsibility for providing these facilities and resources in public schools lie with the government.
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which is the government agency responsible for monitoring the implementation of UBE programme, in its 2013 Annual Report revealed that transformation of the education in the area of school infrastructural development has been achieved through judicious use of FGN-UBE intervention funds. It is the view of the commission that adequate allocations are made for the provision of basic education in the country. They noted that the UBE programme has been on the funding priority list of the government. This the report observed, was buttressed by the government huge allocation to State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) in the 36 states and FCT for both capital expenditure for erection of building and purchase of equipment and recurrent expenditure for the payment of salaries, services, among others. Specifically the reports showed that UBE marching grants statutory allocations to the 36 states and FCT from 2005-2013 was N200, 392, 601, 491. 67. and out of this figure N159, 734, 113, 067.03 has been accessed by the 36 states and FCT, while the sum of N1, 312,500.000 has been expended on the development of the new 9-years basic education curriculum in the year 2007. The UBE matching grants are funds that are jointly contributed by both Federal and state governments on equal basis; it is 70% of the 2% consolidated revenue funds. The matching grant is to be utilized in the implementation of the programme as follows:
· 5% on Early Child Care Development Education (ECCDE)
· 60% on primary school education.
· 35% on junior secondary school education.
The 70% of the above funds are to be used for the provisions of infrastructural facilities, instructional materials, training and retraining of teachers, among others. (UBEC, 2013)
From the foregoing, there seems to be no doubt that the Federal Government is genuinely concerned about the provision of basic education to her citizens. According to FME (2013), the FGN/UBE initiative at the basic education started way back 2009. Till date, about 96, 326,675 books on mathematics, English, languages, Basic science and technology, social studies for primary schools and library resources materials for junior secondary schools have been procured and distributed to public basic education institutions across the country. The goal of this exercise is to attain the pupil to book ratio of 1:1 in all subjects.
In terms of contents, a new 9-year basic education curriculum has been reviewed. According to Obioma (2013), the subjects in the old curriculum are being reduced from 20 subjects to 10, and the reason was that the old curriculum was full of content repetition, and hence the need for the correction. The basic contents of the reviewed 9 -year basic education curriculum include the following.
· For primary (1-3) English language, mathematics, one Nigeria language, Basic science and technology under which are physical and health education and computer studies/ICT. Others are pre-vocational studies, comprising of Home-economics, agriculture and entrepreneurship, religious and value education, security education, cultural and creative arts, as well as Arabic language which is optional. These subjects are offered by pupils in primary 4-6 with the addition of French language while business studies is added to the subject listing for JSS1-3. Still in the new reviewed curriculum, pupils in primary 1-3 are to offer a minimum of seven subjects and maximum of eight subjects while those in primary 4-6 are to take a minimum of eight (8) subjects and maximum of nine (9) subjects. And those in JSS1-3, are to offer a minimum of nine (9) subjects and a maximum of (10) subjects in all (Obioma, 2013). Worthy of note is that the new basic education curriculum was structured into three 3 components namely:
· Lower basic education for primary 1-3
· Middle basic education for primary 4-6
· Upper basic education for JSS1-3
These subjects and contents of the new curriculum, according to Obioma (2013), will follow systematically from primary 1-JSS 3, thus the programme therefore, is one of the visible dividends of democracy in the country. Its launching became necessary as the Obasanjo- led administration came into power in 1999 and met an educational system that was in a state of decay. Teachers were poorly trained and motivated. There was high rate of illiteracy as a consequence of high dropout rates, and poor infrastructural conditions in schools. Thus, the introduction of the UBE is meant to positively transform the nation’s basic education level and to meet the context of the global vision of EFA (FGN,2004).
Today, the UBE is here with us and it aims at equipping individuals with knowledge. In this state, people welcomed the programme in its totality. The Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB) in its report of 2013 revealed that the introduction of UBE in the state was like an answered prayer because many Enugu citizens have been praying for empowerment, adding that so far, the Board has accessed a total of N4,301,175,672.00 between 2005 and 2013 from the FGN/UBE intervention funds and the state government is ensuring that qualified teachers are recruited while effective monitoring mechanism is maintained to guarantee that the programme is successfully implemented in the State. In support of this claim, Ortunaya (2013) revealed that Enugu State Government is poised to improve the educational content of its school curriculum, in terms of quality and quantity, and this would be achieved through the recruitment of qualified teachers, and provision of educational facilities such as books, classrooms, desks, chairs as well as renovation of dilapidated schools structures across the state.
Funding, administration and implementation of basic education programme are gradually becoming the responsibility of not only the government but that of the members of the communities through Parents-Teachers Associations (PTAs) and Community Based Organization (CBOs). According to UBEC (2013), the self help projects of the UBE programme were designed as a strategy to involve the community and private sector participations in basic education delivery through the initiation, execution, administration and ownership of designed school projects. The self-help strategy has proved to be very rewarding in providing requisite infrastructure and services within the school environment as well as galvanizing popular community support and involvement in UBE delivery. The strategy as observed in the report has instituted transparency and accountability in resource management, paved way for community ownership of the UBE programme, and has increased the opportunity for easier access to quality and equity in UBE delivery. Additionally, the strategy has several deliverable key infrastructural components and other facilities that are essential for the effective implementation of the UBE programme. Therefore, by introducing UBE in the country, the government has opened school doors for all, and as such all hands must be on deck to keep the doors open.
However, despite the above evidence with respect to the efforts being made by the various governments and bodies for providing the UBE schools with basic educational resources like infrastructural facilities, trained teachers, instructional materials, funding and others. There appear to be contrasting reports as to the availability, adequacy or quality of these resources for the effective implementation of the programme at all levels. Sobechi (2004) shares the view that some UBE schools lack infrastructural facilities and instructional materials especially in the rural areas; because what passed as schools are make-shift structures that look more like farm shades. The facilities on the ground are less encouraging to the very few teachers, who were posted to the areas. Supporting this view, Central Bank of Nigeria (2010) reported that there are inadequate infrastructure and facilities in many schools in Nigeria. Contributing, Ahmed (2003) revealed that in most schools in the country, teaching and learning take place under unconducive environment.
Lack of basic teaching and learning materials in schools, hinders the fulfillment of educational objectives. Dare (2008) reported that the inadequacy of statistical data has always affected the provision of educational resources such as books, laboratory equipment, audio-visual materials, among others, which in themselves constitute major challenges to the successful implementation of the UBE programme. Many of the schools do not have these materials and where they are available, they are inadequate and outdated. The overall problem, regarding general inadequacy of infrastructural facilities, teaching materials and amenities in Nigerian educational system is well captured by the former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, when she said that the physical infrastructure in Nigerian schools is below standard and grossly insufficient. The basic amenities such as water and light are seriously lacking (Ogunjinu 2009).
The occurrence of this kind of situation in the UBE schools perhaps may have very unfavourable effects on the UBE programme, as they may hinder the attainment of its objectives. One of the objectives of the UBE programme is to reduce the incidence of drop-out in the education system. It is unfortunate that the programme is yet to achieve this objective. Many experts, such as Obasola (2008), Olupchunda (2013) and Ogunjinu (2009), observed that the cases of drop-out pose a serious challenge to the UBE programme. Ogunjinu (2009) revealed that of the 42.1 million children below 14 years of age, only 25.8 million, representing 61.2% of the total population, were in school at the secondary school level; only 30% of the population that should be in school are in school in Nigerian primary schools. What this means is that the remaining part of the population are outside the school system. Olupchunda (2013) revealed that there are an estimated 10.5 million of six years old Nigerians who had no access to early childhood education and a large number of school age children who labour for their parents or simply roam the streets during school period.
These drop-out rates depict the level of access to education by the Nigerian children, which by implication betrays the universalization of education in Nigeria. Many reasons have been adduced for the inadequate access to education which includes cost of schooling, namely: cost of books, equipment, uniform, and tuition and examination fees. Others are illness, poverty and economic benefits of education. This situation as described above poses a serious challenge to the successful implementation of UBE programme. The rationale for the introduction of UBE in Nigeria is fundamentally based on the fact that many Nigerians, both youths and adults, are illiterate, poor and do not contribute meaningfully to the development of the nation (Ugwuoke, 2011). Considering the importance of the UBE scheme to national development and growth, Aluede (2006) opined that close examination of the implementation of the UBE programme should be done, since the objectives of the programme do not differ significantly from the objectives of the failed UPE scheme, which failed because of inadequate infrastructural facilities, instructional material, trained teachers, and funding. This suggests periodic evaluation of these resources in the implementation process of the UBE programme, to find out their current status in terms of availability/adequacy. Evaluation, according to Ali (2006), is the qualitative value or judgment we make about something or someone based on quantitative data derived from testing, monitoring, measuring and appraisal and/or assessment. Implementation, on the other hand, is the act of executing a plan, police, idea etc. Ogbonnaya (2003) referred to it as the process of carrying out an objective or a plan. For the purpose of this study, availability is concerned with the ability to find or obtain, while adequacy is concerned with sufficiency or being enough of these resources in the implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools.
The Federal Ministry of Education minimum guidelines for the establishment of schools in Nigeria specified the minimum requirements on physical facilities, human resources, fund, and other resources needed. In Enugu State, the minimum guidelines on physical facilities recommended for the establishment of primary schools include 2/5 Hectares of land with Certificate of occupancy, 3 Classrooms at inception with a dimension of 9m x 12m and a class size of 18 pupils. Other requirements are administrative block of 1 room with a store, a functional library, first aid room, 4wc toilet facilities, 1 football field and a farm/fish land for effective operation of the schools. On the minimum requirements on human resources for the establishment of a primary school in Enugu State, a minimum qualification of National Certificate Education (NCE) with Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) of not less than 5 years experience was recommended for head teacher, while NCE is recommended for a teacher and at least 3 NCE teachers must be in a school at inception. The minimum guideline on fund as specified by the Ministry of Education’s guideline is that at least N2million must be in school’s bank account.
The above minimum standard, together with UBE guidelines (1999) that are the aims, objectives and policies of the programme, was used in this study as the benchmark for determining the extent of implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State.
Statement of the Problem
Over the years, the implementation of basic education programme in Nigeria has been facing lots of constraints, and it seems like the problem of the Nigeria educational programme does not always lie with adequate knowledge and policies, but the effective implementation of the programme.
The Universal Primary Education (UPE) progrmme which is one of the basic education programmes introduced in the country in the past seems to have failed due to several factors, and such factors were attributed to non-availability of fund,lack of trained teachers, lack of infrastructural facilities, poor supervision of the programme, inadequate instructional materials, among others. There also seem to be lots of obstacles affecting the implementation of the current Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme primary schools in Nigeria, particularly in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State. Most of the UBE primary schools are bedeviled with overcrowded classrooms, poor funding of the school activities, inadequate infrastructural facilities, non-availability of functional library, inadequate instructional materials, poor supervision and monitoring of the school programme among others. All these are challenges for the effective implementation of UBE programme in Nigeria. Thus, the problem of this study is to find out what the extent of the implementation of UBE programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State is. It was against this background that the researcher embarked on this study.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to evaluate the implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State using the Federal Ministry of Education’s guidelines for the establishment of primary schools in Nigeria and the UBE guidelines (1999) as the benchmark .Specifically, the study sought to find out:
1. The extent of availability of infrastructural facilities for the effective implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools;
2. The extent of availability of instructional materials for the effective implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools;
3. The extent of availability of trained teachers for the effective implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State;
4. The extent of adequacy of funds for the effective implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools; and
5. The constraints to the effective implementation of UBE programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone.
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will have both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the findings of the study will provide data that would be useful for clear understanding of system theory. It is expected that the findings will help to explicate the findings of the theoretical propositions of the theory. This could influence the effective implementation of UBE programme in primary schools.
The system theory as propounded by Von Bertallanffy in 1968 tries to explain the existence of different interrelated parts, such that the interaction of any part affects the whole system; and the performance of a system depends on how the various elements in the system work together. The findings of the present study will be theoretically significant because it will contribute additional empirically-derived theoretical body of knowledge on system theory. The results of this study will strengthen the tenets of this theory, and will help to expand the body of knowledge in the area of implementation of UBE programme in primary schools.
The results of this study will be of practical benefits to the government, administrators of primary schools, teachers and society in general. It will be of benefits to the government because when evaluation is done, the area of weakness in the implementation process of the UBE programme in primary schools will be revealed, and this will help the government to propose possible strategies for improvement on the implementation process.
The results of this study will be of benefit to UBE teachers, for when instructional and infrastructural facilities are provided in UBE schools, teaching and learning will become more effective and meaningful.
It is also hoped that his study will be of immense benefit to school administrators (head teachers) for when educational resources are provided into UBE schools in their rightful quantity and qualities, administrative functions are done in effective ways, and they will be able to implement the UBE programme effectively.
The result of this study will benefit society, because when teaching and learning in the UBE schools are done effectively, the major objective of the scheme, which is the acquisition of appropriate level of literacy and life skills, will be greatly achieved and society will become crime-free and a better place for all to live in.
Finally, it is hoped that this study will add to the existing body of knowledge which might be harnessed for further research in this field and other related fields.
Scope of the Study
This study was delimited to all UBE primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone in Enugu State. The Zone is among the six education zones in the state, which are: Agbani, Awgu, Enugu, Obollo-Afor, Udi, and Nsukka. The zone is made up of three local government areas, namely Uzo-Uwani, Igbo-Etiti and Nsukka, and the choice of the zone was based on the researcher’s observation of the problems facing the UBE primary schools in the zone possibly as a result of poor implementation of UBE programme in the area.
In terms of content, the scope of inquiry was limited to the evaluation of the extent of availability of infrastructural facilities, instructional materials, trained teachers funds and the constraints to the effective implementation of UBE programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State.
The following research questions were posed to guide the study:
1. To what extent are infrastructural facilities available for the effective implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools?
2. To what extent are instructional materials available for the effective implementation of UBE programme in primary school?
3. To what extent are trained teachers available for the effective implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools?
4. To what extent are funds adequate for the effective implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools?
5. What are the constraints to the effective implementation of the UBE programme in primary schools?
The following null hypotheses guided the study and were tested at 0.05 level of significance.
H01 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of head-teachers and teachers on the availability of infrastructural facilities for the effective Implementation of the UBE Programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone.
H02 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of head-teacher and teachers on the availability of instructional materials for the effective implementation of the UBE Programme in primary school in Nsukka Education Zone.
H03 There is no significant difference between the mean rating of head-teachers and teachers on the availability of trained teachers for the effective implementation of the UBE Programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone.
H04 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of head-teachers and the teachers on the adequacy of funds for the effective implementation of the UBE Programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone.
H05 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of head-teachers and teachers on the constraints to the effective implementation of the UBE Programme in primary schools in Nsukka Education Zone..