By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
In demonstration of its commitment to the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme, the Federal Government has disbursed a whooping sum of N101,250,000.00 to some communities in Akwa Ibom State for the execution of 135 UBE (2008) self-help project.
Presenting the cheques to the benefitting communities over the weekend, the Minister of State for Education Hajiya Aishatu Jibril Dukku said the flag off is a continuation of governmentâ€™s strategic intervention in the basic education sub-sector and its commitment to effective partnership with relevant stakeholders in key aspect of social service delivery.
She explained that the Federal Government has taken necessary steps towards ensuring the full participation of all stakeholders not only in sector funding but also in the administration of specific programme components.
The Minister said government welcomesÂ UBEC initiative in respect of utilizing 14% educational imbalance funds for addressing educational imbalance among and within states.
The present administration, according to her, has in several ways demonstrated great â€œcommitment and willingness to pioneer a fresh approach to issue that borders on disadvantaged groups and segments of society who have experienced difficulty in accessing available educational opportunities.
â€œThe collaboration between UBEC and local communities under the Self_Help project is a commendable example of functional partnership of educational stakeholders and the general publicâ€, she said.
The Minister noted that the involvement of 11,939 communities in 2005 and 2006 gave rise to different project components resulting in 11,784 new classrooms, 10,833 renovated/rehabilitated classrooms, 195,248 sets of pupils and teachersâ€™ furniture, over 716 VIP toilets, 201 boreholes or deep well and provision of electricity, culvert, fencing to the school Communities.
Hajiya Dukku said currently 6.434 beneficiary project communities are executing a vast array of priority project in all the 774 local government as part of the 2007 UBE Self-Help component.
In his own remarks, the Chairman, UBEC Governing Board Prof. Tunde Adeniran said in line with the objective of UBE, the Board and the Management of UBEC have initiated some activities geared towards enhancing the involvement of key stakeholders in strategic aspects of UBE implementation.
In his address, the Executive Secretary UBEC, Dr. Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed said the UBE Community Initiative Self-Help project is designed as a strategy to involve the community and private sector participation in basic education delivery through the initiation, execution, administration and ownership of designated basic education delivery project at the school level.
The UBEC boss said in the past three years, 18,414 (4.448 communities in 2007) communities that are educationally disadvantaged have been directly supported with a total of N11,048,400,000.00 and each of the selected communities had received a maximum support of N600,000.00. He informed the gathering that under the 2008 funding arrangements, a total of 4,225 communities will receive N4.26 as funding support for the execution of school-based project in designated educationally disadvantaged communities in the 36 States and FCT.
He explained thatÂ as part of the 2008 project arrangement, a few positive changes have been introduced into the programme implementation, stressing that funding has been increased for each project from N600,000.00 to N1 million by the governing board of UBEC.