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UBE Background

UBE Background

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Published by: walesHill on Nov 21, 2012
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© Kamla-Raj 2006J. Hum. Ecol., 20(2): 97-101 (2006)
Universal Basic Education in Nigeria: Matters Arising
R.O.A. Aluede
 Department of Educational Foundations, Faculty of Education, Ambrose Alli University, P.M.B. 14, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria E-mail: raymond_aluede@yahoo.com
Universal. Basic Education. Primary Education. Secondary Education
This paper examines the issues considered significant in the implementation of Universal Basic Education schemein Nigeria. It employs the analytical approach as its method of explaining issues and raising vital questions on the possibility of thescheme being successful in Nigeria. It concludes that proper planning and effective implementation are required for the programmeto be successful.
Nigeria’s educational system has witnessed acatalogue of changes in policies and programmes.Some of the changes have appeared to a numberof people desirable while one continues to wonder,why some of the other changes were ever initiated.In fact, many of the changes in educational policiesin Nigeria have been described as the product of confusion (Ayeni, 2000). There is therefore, a highlevel of uncertainties, which is becloudingmeaningful planning in Nigeria’s educationalsystem. This can be very dangerous particularlyas the future of Nigeria and Nigerians will bedetermined by the level of education her nationalshave acquired.In September 1976, the Federal Governmentof Nigeria launched the Universal PrimaryEducation (UPE) Scheme. This Scheme whichwas welcomed in many quarters in Nigeria wasabandoned midway. In November 1999, thepresent administration under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo launched theUniversal Basic Education (UBE) Scheme inSokoto for the nation. The re-launching of asimilar programme to UPE by the FederalGovernment of Nigeria, indicates that there issomething desirable which the scheme isexpected to enable Nigerians achieve. The task of this paper therefore, is to analyse UniversalBasic Education, examine what it aims atachieving and assess the level of preparednessfor the scheme to allow for the realization of theobjectives of the scheme.The paper employs the analytical approachas its research method. This method of analysisis considered most appropriate to use herebecause it will enable the researcher to actuallyanalyse and raise vital questions on the plans forand the implementation of the Universal BasicEducation Scheme in Nigeria. Since this researchmethod lays emphasis on clarity, it will allow thereader understand how the researcher arrived athis conclusions. It could also help the reader todraw his conclusions that are different from thatof the researcher based on his understanding of the analysis given (Aluede, 1999).At this juncture, it will be necessary to establishour concept of UBE. Universal in this context willmean the whole people without exception. Basicwill mean that, on which anything rests. It is theroot or bottom or the foundation from which otherparts get support. While education will beinterpreted to mean the act of bringing up ortraining of a child, through instruction and in theprocess bring about the strengthening of hispowers of body and mind to be able to understandhis culture. Education is an instrument forconserving, transmitting and renewing culture. Itis therefore, the sum, total of person’s experience(Mallinson, 1980; Moore, 1982).It is worthy of note that the UBE is a newinnovative trend in Nigeria’s educational framework particularly as it is programmed to be for9 years. That is, it is designed to cater for achild’s education from primary school to the endof the Junior Secondary School. It is alsoexpected to be universal, free and compulsory.This is however, an expansion of the duration of the UPE to include the first three years of secondary education in the current UBE scheme(Enemuo, 2000).
The current UBE scheme in Nigeria can be
said to be the product of earlier educationalscheme, programmes and educational decisions.It is the offshoot of previous schemes, whichcould be said to have been bedeviled by problems,which the current scheme is expected to offset.It should be noted that educational activities of the 1950s laid the foundation stones for latereducational developments in the 1960s andbeyond. Educational activities of the 1950s werethemselves determined by the history of educational growth from the fourth decade of the 19
century. By implication therefore,educational explosion in the Western region hadinfluences on other regions. It should be recalledbriefly that the 1950 Macpherson Constitutioncreated regional houses that were responsible tothe central government in Lagos. Theconstitution also empowered the regional housesto make laws in education. The effect of thiswas that regions grew differently in educationalprovisions (Aluede, 1992; Kosemani andOkorosaye-Oruibite, 1995).In the Western Region, Chief ObafemiAwolowo gained the opportunity of putting hisconcept of education into practice. Thus, as theleader of the Action Group Party, he placedpriority on education by drawing up acomprehensive educational development planand adhering strictly to this policy because hebelieved that to educate the children andenlighten the illiterate adults, is to lay a solidfoundation not only for the future social andeconomic progress, but also, for the politicalstability of the region in particular and thecountry in general. He therefore, introduced afree, universal and Compulsory PrimaryEducation (UPE) in 1955 which is synonymouswith his name in Nigeria today (Taiwo, 1980).The Eastern Regional House that introducedthe UPE scheme under the leadership of Dr.Azikiwe in January 1957 followed the WesternRegion’s example. The Lagos area that was cutoff from the educational programmes of theWestern Region in 1954 when it was declared aFederal Territory, equally introduced the UPEscheme in January 1957. It should be noted thateducational development in the Northern Regionlagged behind what was being experienced inLagos and other regions because, while theWestern and the Eastern Regions were strugglinghard to out do one another in the South, theNorthern Region did not face the challenges of the time. However, the Federal Government of Nigeria became conscious of the dangers of disparity in educational development in a nationstate and therefore introduced the UPE schemethroughout the federation in 1976. Thereafter,there was the regularization of primary educationsystem throughout Nigeria. The differences thathad existence in the different regions werechecked by the Federal Government’s decisionthat all states of the federation must run similarprogramme (Itedjere, 1997).The UPE scheme failed perhaps because theFederal Government of Nigeria underestimatedthe number of pupils that would want to benefitfrom such a programme, could not alsodetermine the number of teachers, schoolbuildings and the amount of money that wouldbe required to make the programme functional.It was therefore abandoned. However, the recentrelaunching of a similar programme –– the UBEscheme by the Federal Government of Nigeriawould suggest that after the failure of the earlierprogramme –– UPE scheme, and after a carefulanalysis of the factors that brought about thefailure of the earlier scheme, a more carefulplanning would have taken place. An assessmentof the UBE scheme will be carried out much laterin this paper but before then, it will be necessaryto look more closely at the reasons why the UBEscheme was launched.
The training of children and adolescents inthe norms and aspirations of the nation is a veryveritable instrument for national integration anddevelopment. It was expected that educationalreforms or re-organisation would be carried outto enable Nigeria’s education cater for the futureprofessional needs (Ayeni, 2000). Therestructuring is important, if we are to expectoptimal result from our envisaged objectives of education. The Federal Government’sinvolvement in the organization of UBE schemewas therefore necessary if the integration of thenationals was to be achieved. The scheme wasalso desirable to enable the Federal Governmentensure that children are taught the culture of thesociety. The desire to inculcate in children theknowledge of literacy, numeracy and the abilityto communicate made the UBE schemeworthwhile. Apart from the above, there is theneed to lay a sound foundation for scientific and
reflective thinking, character and moral trainingand the development of sound attitude, and aboveall, develop in the child the ability to adapt tohis changing environment (Federal Governmentof Nigeria, 1981).If we reflect on our earlier definition of education as an instrument for conserving,transmitting and renewing culture, it will clearlybecome obvious that the school system occupiesa very important position if the objectives forthe primary and secondary education as statedby the Federal Government will be realized. Thistherefore, necessitated the launching of theUniversal Basic Education Scheme in November,1999.
The Universal Basic Education as introducedby the Federal Government of Nigeria has beendescribed above as laudable but it appears thatit is leaving many issues unresolved which arelikely to bedevil the programme just as the UPEscheme was.The name ‘Universal Basic Education’ordinarily would have suggested that everyNigerian child, without exception would haveaccess to basic education without hindrance.Now that a ceiling has been placed on theenrolment figures for each state of the federation,it is obvious that limitations has been introduced.This quota limitation, according to the nationalco-ordinator, was informed by the differentiallevel of illiteracy in the states of the federation(Enemuo, 2000).(i)The question therefore is, through thismeasure, is it possible to realize the nationalaspiration of building a land of bright andfull opportunities for all citizens?Perhaps, at this juncture, it will be necessaryto revisit the questions that have been asked byEnemuo, (2000: 8).(a)While placing a ceiling on the number opupils registrable in the states, would theprogramme still be qualified as ‘universal’?The answer to this question is obvious.(b)Does the placement of ceiling on enrolmentfigures not portray the UBE scheme as yetanother device for strengthening andperpetuating the principles of ‘quota system’,‘educational disadvantaged’ and ‘educa-tional advantaged’ in admission.(c)Is attainment of literary in educationmeasurable in terms of enrolment?(d)Does the fact that one comes from the socalled educationally advantaged state renderone also educationally advantaged and vice-versa?(e)Is the UBE really not an instrument forunjustly denying children in some areasaccess to or right to education andperpetuate illiterary to the words and spiritof section 18(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?(f)Will the UBE scheme not attract similarcounter balancing schemes by states whosesensibilities have been injured by themeasure of deprivation as it happened whenthe Quota Admission Policy Scheme wasintroduced in higher institutions of learningin Nigeria? And(g)Will such states not run a counter primaryeducation scheme that will render UBEmeaningless?Another aspect that should be examined isthe plans for the implementation of the UniversalBasic Education Scheme. Since the objectives of the Universal Basic Education did not differsignificantly from the objectives of the UniversalPrimary Education Scheme, one would perhapshave reasoned that the UPE scheme failedbecause of lack of proper planning.The question that may bother our minds atthis point in time is how prepared are we for theUBE scheme?(a)Have we been able to estimate the number of pupils that will be in our school system?(b)Have we improved on our method of keepingbirth and death records to enable us know of the number of children that will be of schoolage at any given time?(c)How many schools will be required at eachward level, in each Local Government Areaand in each State?(d)A follow up of the above question will be, if the number of schools on ground are notgoing to be adequate, what preparationshave we made to build new ones and renovateexisting ones?(e)If nothing of this sort has been done, havewe learnt anything form the failure of theUniversal Primary Education Scheme thatwas introduced some twenty-four years ago?Another area that may be of primaryimportance is the curriculum itself. Has the

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