Boosting Basic Education Delivery in Nigeria
By Mohammad Lawal Maikudi
The Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, has given the Basic Education in Nigeria a boost, in flagging off a new strategy named a School-Based Management Committee – School Improvement Programme, (SBMC-SIP).
The flag off ceremony held at the Coronation Hall of Kano State Government Monday August 26, was attended by Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Minister of Education, Adamu, the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission Dr Hamid Bobboyi as well as other relevant stakeholders in Basic Education delivery in the country.
The policy is a deliberate strategy initiated by UBEC to bring the SBMCs into school’s administration and create opportunities to own and manage the schools in their respective communities. It is also designed to increase enrolment, retention, completion and transition in the basic education sub sector as well as to address challenges of out-of- school children including the girl-child, the almajiris as well as other disadvantaged groups.
Towards that end, the Commission has earmarked N2.8bn from which 2,500 SBMCs would benefit, with a total of 5010 classroom output with an average of two classrooms per project across the country.
The policy is expected to encourage community around schools to be involved in planning, management and improvement of teachings in their environments so as to make a big difference in the overall development of education. This is why the current global approach on improving governance and accountability in the education sector focuses more on decentralization of school governance and devolving responsibilities to structures and groups closer to schools.
This is being addressed through common modern approach in establishing School-Based Management (SBM) systems, which seek to strengthen partnerships between schools and communities towards school improvement.
Because of its importance, the Federal Government established the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to provide access to equitable and quality basic education to all children in the country, while this cannot be achieved in the face of educational imbalance and discrepancies that exist across country, the Commission has therefore, geared its efforts towards ensuring the provision of equitable and balanced basic education.
Under the Self-Help project, which was implemented under PEP II, Community Self-Help Project initiative has provided critical infrastructure and other school-based resources and services, while key deliverables have accrued to basic education through the UBE Self-Help projects implementation strategy since inception.
Available records has revealed that between 2002 – 2006, over 11,642 projects were implemented under PEP II, while between 2008-2011, 9,136 new classrooms were constructed, 9,058 classrooms renovated, 15,771 teachers’ furniture, 452,117 pupils’ furniture, 3,825 toilets and other key infrastructure were delivered through the UBE Self-Help Projects.
In the area of Social Mobilization and empowerment of UBE stakeholders, some of the positive impacts of the Self-Help strategy includes increased community participation in school governance, increased access, quality and equity in UBE delivery, serving as catalyst to local communities in the provision of learning infrastructure through the counterpart contribution and institutionalization of transparency and accountability principles and practices in resource management. The policy is very potent and timely in ensuring practical rectifications of educational imbalance and empowering communities to implement school projects.
THE SBMC-SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME (SBMC-SIP)
Based on the overview of the SBMC and Community Self-Help Project successes, the Commission considers the need for a strategy to revisit the implementation modalities of the SBMCs and Self-Help projects in basic education in the country, thereby reinvigorating other strategies in which Community Initiated Self-Help projects are being implemented through the SBMCs. This has also gave birth to the School Based Management Committee and Improvement Programme, (SBMC-SIP).
It is against this background and increased demand by critical stakeholders, especially the SUBEBs and communities, that the Commission put together this reactivation process whereby Self-Help projects will be implemented through the SBMCs.
It gives priorities to the rural communities and urban poor settlements. However, urban communities with outstanding needs for school improvement would be considered for support.
The Specific objectives of SBMC-SIP are to promote the functionality of SBMCs in school development; provide communities opportunities to collaborate with government agencies by initiating, funding and execution of access, equity and quality driven educational projects; increase involvement and participation of the SBMCs and other community members in school governance; increase management skills acquired by SBMCs and other community members in school project execution. Others are advocacy, sensitization and mobilization of the school community in support of basic education; increase enrolment, retention and completion rates; increase and improve infrastructure and learning environment; reduce cost of project execution by government and number of out-of-school children and promote girls education and most importantly, the promotion of private partnership and sustainability.
Other areas of focus, includes successful implementation of SBMC-SIP, which the Commission has organized a Master Trainers’ Workshop from 17- 24 March 2019 in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, where participants were drawn from SUBEBs of 36 states and FCT, UNICEF, National Commission for Nomadic Education, National Mass Education Commission, UBEC headquarters, zonal and state offices. It has major aim of the workshop was to study the SBMC-SIP implementation manual.
The Commission’s Executive Secretary, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, who was represented by the Director, Department of Social Mobilisation, UBEC, Alh. Bello Kagara disclosed that, the sum of N2.7billion has been approved for take-off of the project to promote and support grassroot participation. It is envisaged that 2,505 communities will participate in the programme this year.
The participants especially from SUBEBs and FCT are expected to organise the workshop at the states’ level to train participants on the implementation of the SBMC-SIP, using the manual as a guide
The SBMC-School Improvement Programme has been designed to operate under five (5) sub-components.
i) SBMC — Macro School improvement Projects attracts support of N2,000,000.00
ii) SBMC— Micro School Improvement Project attracts support of N250,000.00
III) SBMC¬—Special Cases attract support of N5,000,000.00 to N7,000,000.00
IV) SBMC —Project sustainability support; and
V) SUBEB SBMC —Monitoring Support Fund.
The SBMCs are expected to provide a counterpart fund of at least ten per cent of the amount they seek, and the support fund will go directly into the special account for the implementation of their projects.
Finally, the workshop observed that some SUBEBs do not have specific and functional social mobilization structures and may not be able to effectively partner with UBEC in the SBMC-SIP arrangement. There was lack of functional SBMCs in some States and schools and that could hinder the effectiveness of the new SBMC-SIP intervention.
It also observed that where no Social Mobilization Departments and functional SBMCs exist, it will be difficult for UBEC to cascade the training to relevant personnel at the State and school levels. In some cases, there is communication gaps among social mobilization actors at all levels and that could hinder the effectiveness of SBMCs as well as the smooth operations of the SBMC-SIP.
Parts of the recommendations are participants would serve as advocates for creation of a platform for smooth take-off of the SBMC-SIP in the various SUBEBs. They also committed themselves to effective utilization of skills acquired and to comply with set standards in the SBMC-SIP implementation manual, especially while cascading the training to lower levels.
It also recommended that the Commission should organize a special meeting with State SUBEBs Chairmen and FCT board to sensitize and enlighten them on the utmost importance of the SBMC-SIP intervention towards enhancing basic education delivery in the country.
There should be continuous training of SBMC members especially as new members are added at the expiration of the tenures of outgoing members.
SUBEB should ensure only CSOs operating under CSACEFA are involved in the SBMC-SIP training and implementation to ensure transparency and accountability.
SBMC-SIP should cater for all groups in basic education including pastoralists, migrant-fisher folks, migrant farmers, Special Needs, almajiris etc, even when some of them may fall under the purview of different agencies
The SUBEBs that do not have specific and functional social mobilization structures should organize such, to be able to effectively partner with UBEC in the new SBMC-SIP arrangement. Similarly, States and Schools without functional SBMCs should take steps to revive such for effectiveness of the new SBMC-SIP intervention
Mohammad Lawal Maikudi,
No 24 Aliyu Barau Road,
(off Legislators’ Quarters)
Unguwar Dosa Layout,