By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
Before Nigeria can successfully do justice to the desire of giving education to all its citizenry, all stakeholders must be interested in ensuring that the youths have unfettered access to basic education.
This counsel came from the House Committee Chairman on Education, Hon. Farouk Lawal when his committee visited the corporate headquarters of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) while on oversight functions.
According to him, â€œthere is need for all relevant stakeholders in this issue to know that we have a challenge in the education sector and it is our responsibility to make sure that every Nigerian child has access to basic education.â€
Regarding the recent publication in some national dailies about some fake teachers participating in the Federal Teachers Scheme (FTS), Hon. Farouk expressed regret about the development, emphasizing that a country that does not have educational statue especially teachers, has lost the battle for competition in the global world of intellectualism.
He therefore applauded the commission for discovering the fake FTS participants, warning that such dubious act must not be allowed to continue to undermine the stability and quality of the education system.
The time to stop this, according to him, is now and the approach to achieve this must be wholistic.
He further commended the UBEC boss, Dr. Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed and pledged his committeeâ€™s support saying, â€œwe want to say that we are solidly behind you and as well, we call states that are yet to access their 2008 UBE budget to try and do soâ€.
He called on these states to double their efforts and restrategize to make sure that the funds already budgeted and set aside by the federal government is fully utilized for a better society through improved education system.
Earlier in his address, the Executive Secretary of UBEC reiterated the commissionâ€™s commitment to actualize the UBE vision statement inspite of all odds.
The UBE vision statement states that â€œat the end of nine years of continuous education, every child should acquire appropriate and relevant skills and values and be employable in order to contribute his/her own quote to national development.â€
Dr. Modibbo, who was represented by the Acting Executive Secretary Prof. Charles Onocha, spoke about the success and challenges of the 2008/2009 budget performance and implementation of federal government of Nigeria and Universal Basic Education Intervention funds which is still on-going.
The Executive Secretary commented about the 2009 federal teacherâ€™s scheme (FTS), explaining that the initiation is part of the federal governmentsâ€™ efforts to assist states in the implementation of the UBE programme towards attaining Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Regrettably, some of these teachers were found to be fake and the commission, he says, is hell-bent on flushing and de-listing this group of people because they have nothing to offer the younger ones in our schools.
On the challenges of the 2009 budget implementation, Dr. Modibbo remarked that the introduction of e-payment policy has brought delay in payment of participantâ€™s monthly allowances.
Other challenges include non-budgetary provision for monitoring and other administrative cost, abscondment of teachers from the federal teachersâ€™ scheme and so forth.
Speaking on the way forward, the UBEC boss advised that budgetary provision should be made for the monitoring and supervision of FTS participants and other administrative costs.
The commission has however evolved appropriate monitoring mechanism to ensure value for money. Capacity building for FTS participants and MDG, s relevant desk officers would also aid speedy advancement in the education sector.