By Philip Yatai
The Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Dr. Hamid Bobboyi has revealed that only 57 per cent of the nation’s basic education teachers are qualified.
Bobboyi also said that there was an increase from 841,716 in 2008 to 1.5 million in 2018 in the population of the teachers. out of which 43 per cent (645,000) are unqualified.
Bobboyi disclosed this in Kaduna on Saturday, in a paper entitled, “State of Basic Education in Nigeria: Prospect and Challenges”.
The paper was presented at the ongoing two-day policy retreat with the theme, “The State of Basic Education in Kaduna State: Prospects and Challenges”, organised by the state’s Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The UBEC boss said that the percentage represented a decline from 76 per cent in 2008 to 57 per cent in 2018.
He said that in spite of the huge investment in the sector, basic education was still characterised by poor learning outcomes, unqualified teachers and acute infrastructure deficit among others.
He also expressed concern over the increasing rate of enrollment in basic schools, which he said was not proportional to the available infrastructure and funding.
“For example, enrollment in pre-primary school (Early Child Care Development Education) has increased from 2.1 million in 2006 to 2.7 million in 2010 and skyrocket to 7.2 million in 2018, representing 167 per cent increase.
“Also, enrollment in primary schools, which declined from 24.2 million in 2006 to 21.9 million in 2010, equally increased to 27.9 million in 2018, indicating a 27 per cent increase.
“The story was no different in Junior Secretary schools where enrolment also increased from 3.6 million in 2006 to 4.6 million in 2010 and further increased to 6.8 million in 2018, representing 49 per cent increase.
He also said that enrollment in public primary schools constituted 83 per cent in contrast with 17 per cent in private primary schools.
He equally said that junior secondary schools had 79 per cent enrollment as against 21 per cent in private junior secondary schools in the country.
According to him, the scenario shows that government has greater responsibility of proving quality education to the Nigerian children to enable them to live a meaningful and productive life in the future.
Bobboyi also said that Federal Government’s allocation to the education sector from 2009 to 2018 was between 6.1 per cent to 10.8 per cent of the national budget.
“Similarly, spending on basic education for many years has hovered between 1.8 per cent to 2.4 per cent, far below the African Declaration average of about 4.0 per cent,” he said.
He described primary education as critical foundation needed for sound education in the country, adding that Nigeria and its component states must work towards ensuring functional basic education system.
“Basic education needs heavy investment, but we must all agree that it is a necessary investment to move the state and the nation forward,” the UBEC boss added.
He commended the Kaduna State Government for its continued effort towards repositioning the education sector.
Bobboyi added that the effort would reposition the sector to serve its strategic role of driving socio-economic development of the state and the country.
Prof. Kabiru Mato, Commissioner, Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, had explained that the retreat was organised to look at issues around basic education and chart a way forward.