The Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA- Nigeria) has advocated for transparency and commitment to the implementation of the free and compulsory Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act, 2004, in order to improve school enrollment and quality of teaching and learning.
The association, last weekend, unveiled a monthly newsletter titled: “Basic Education Advocacy (BEAN)”, as part of measures to bridge the communication gap in the implementation of the universal basic education policies as provided in the act at the three levels of government.
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The President of APPA- Nigeria, Princewill Okorie, while delivering his welcome address at the newsletter unveiling and inauguration of the advisory council and its 15th-anniversary celebration, decried the absence of basic education and challenged the media to hold stakeholders in the sector accountable.
He stressed that lack of transparency raised questions about the prudent management of over N180bn injected by the federal government into the basic education sector from 2016 to 2020.
He said the disclosure and communication of happenings in public primary and junior secondary schools was very essential in improving access to education.
According to him, the birth of BEAN was to among other things promote equality among Nigerian children and improve school enrolment.
He explained that: “The increasing number of out-of-school children now estimated at 10.5 million is disturbing and calls for urgent action by stakeholders in government and non-state actors.
“Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a strong national mechanism or programme put in place at the federal level to make states key in for a universal approach towards limiting, preventing or stopping the problem in line with Part 1, Section 2 of the UBE Act 2004.
“There is a gap in terms of communicating information to Nigerians on the extent of implementation of UBE policies as provided in the act at the three levels of government. Our mission is to close this gap for the improved basic education sector and socio-economic and political development of the country.
“Our focus shall be on revealing the provisions of the UBE Act 2004 and investigating and reporting on the extent of implementation. We shall in the process promote institutions and individuals contributing positively towards effective implementation of provisions of the act.”
Similarly, the Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Abuja, Prof Benedict Umaru, who reviewed the newsletter, commended the association for the initiative to ensure effective inclusiveness in the basic education sector.
He noted the need for more stakeholders to ensure intensive advocacy for the efficient implementation of the UBE Act.
Also, a member of the Advisory Council of BEAN, Dr Jummai Ahmadu, said the government should synergise with organisations such as BEAN to ensure that policies were targeted at the beneficiaries.
Represented by Favour Shuaibu, Dr Ahmadu raised serious concerns about the heightening insecurity in schools, which she said required the urgent intervention of stakeholders to reverse the trend.