Buhari Calls on State Govts to Improve Access to Quality Education

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on state governments to take necessary actions to improve access to quality education in their states.

Buhari, represented by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, made the call in Abuja at the national launch and presentation of the 2018 National Personnel Audit (NPA) Report.

The document was put together by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), with efforts from other stakeholders.

He said that the call to the states became necessary so as to close the gaps identified in the report and also to find lasting solutions to the problems of education in the country.

According to him, the NPA is key to the realisation of the Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP), because everything ultimately depends on it.

“Without data, you cannot plan anything; government wants to ensure that all Nigerian children are given equal opportunity to complete basic education.

“This document contains data of enrollment and locations of schools for private and non-private, and the number of qualified teachers and other indices, in order to determine key indicators in the education sub-sector.

“Our stakeholders will find this document useful. However, this is not to say thatch this document being launched today is perfect.

“I am sure the report has revealed some gaps that need to be filled at various levels of government so as to improve basic education delivery in our country.

“I want state governments to critically examine the findings or recommendations contained in this report that affect their states and take necessary actions to ensure improved access, equity and quality in education delivery.

“States with very high deficiencies in teachers and infrastructure facilities need to redouble their effort to close these gaps,” he said.

He added that the ministry would critically examine the findings and recommendations contained in the report and come up with policies and actions that would help move the sector forward.

He said that the initiative and interventions in the education sector was borne out of the belief in the centrality of education for social, political and economic transformation of the country.

The minister commended UBEC for taking the giant step in ensuring that the report came to limelight.

“From 2015 when this government came into being, the sum of N173 billion was received by UBEC as matching grant. Out of this, N153.6 billion was released to states.

“Similarly, the sum of N34.4 billion was released to states for teachers’ professional development, while N8 billion was released to states for training in special needs areas,” he said.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, said that the country needed basic education data for planning and effective management.

“Through the 2018 National Personal Audit, UBEC has been able to acquire the Global Position System (GPS) for the coordination of all schools covered by the census,” he said.

According to him, the geo-spatial data generated has proven useful in building a geographic information system to support school mapping.

“The National Personnel Audit was an exercise that brought together all the key stakeholders at the different levels of government and from different agencies, including the private sector, to make the project a reality,” Bobboyi added.

In a remark, Dr Tunde Adekola, a World Bank education specialist, said that the exercise was a value added venture which would help to improve the education delivery in the country.

Adekola pledged World Bank’s readiness to continue to work with the government to improve on equitable access.

He, therefore, called for urgent coordination among the tiers of government as well as effective and efficient use of resources.

Details of the document revealed that out of the total enrollment of 27,889,387 in primary schools, 5,504,632, representing 20 per cent, come from the private schools, while 23,384,755 are from the public schools.

Further details showed that Ekiti, Benue, Oyo, Edo and Osun are among the five ranking states in the number of qualified teachers, while Yobe, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto were ranked the least in qualified teachers.

It also indicated that there were currently a shortage of about 277,537 teachers in basic education schools in Nigeria.

According to the report, there is a deficit of 135,319 teachers at the Early Childhood Care Development Education, 139,772 deficit in primary schools, and 2,446 shortage in Junior Secondary Schools across the nation.

The report also put the number of primary school age children who are not in school at 10.2 million, which is said to be 25 per cent of all primary school age children in the country. (NAN)

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