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FACTORS AFFECTING EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOL IN ESSIEN UDIM LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
1.1 Background to the Study
The desire for drastic reduction of illiteracy in modern societies is a basic concern of every society in the world (Deura and Audu, 2015) in fact, quality basic education is said to be an instrument a society uses to solve its problem. In recognition to this, the Nigeria educational system over the years, has witnessed a series of amendment in policies and programmes, amendment of educational programmes becomes imperative today as a result of ever-changing needs of the people and the desire of government to meet those needs.
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) being enlarged and improved version of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) was launched by the National Government in 1976. The Universal Basic Education is the education activities that children, youth and adults participate in.
It is a nine years free and compulsory education programme that comprises of years of primary and three years of junior secondary education.
According to Onwubiko (2012), the objectives of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme as contained in the UBE Act 2004 include; developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for education and a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion; the provision of free, Universal Basic Education for every Nigerian child of school going age, reducing drastically the incidence of drop-out from the formal school system, through improve relevance quality and efficiency; catering for the learning needs of young persons who, for one reason or another have had to interrupt their schooling through appropriate form of complementary approach to the provision and promotion of basic education and ensuring the acquisition of appropriate level, of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communication life skills as well as the ethnical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for life-long learning (Onwubiko 2012).
The desire for quality basic education that is not restricted only to rich and well-to-do has compelled government of Akwa Ibom State declare a free and compulsory education in a bid to show commitment towards effective implementation and achievement of the Universal Basic Education Objectives. It is therefore no doubt that the effective implementation of the UBE programme is hampered by various factors.
In Akwa Ibom State, where euphoria of free and compulsory education is high, the school system has either expectedly or unexpectedly experienced population explosion, inadequate supply of qualified teachers, deficit infrastructural facilities, malpractices and other management challenges which have thwarted the effective implementation of the scheme (Onwubiko 2012).
In Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state, the implementation of the Universal Basic Education programme is embedded in the free and compulsory Education programme of Akwa Ibom State government of Akwa Ibom State Government (Local Education Authority, Essien Udim Local Government Area). Although, over the years there have been massive demonstration of commitment by the state government toward the success of the free and compulsory education especially, the massive construction and rehabilitation of classroom block, in government owned schools, provision of textbook and exercise books. Payment of subvention to Head teachers and principal, yet, the objectives of the Universal Basic Education programme seen to be for from accomplishment. A number of factors therefore for the situation. These factors range from teachers qualification, teachers, quantity, the problem of population explosion lack of teacher motivation to the issue of management challenges and infrastructural deficit. All these according to Anaduaka and Okafor (2013), emanate from poor planning and finding of educational programmes in Nigeria as well as Akwa Ibom State. For instance, the inadequacy of teachers for the Universal Basic Education Programmes is expressed in the teachers-students ration (Okon, 2014).
In Essien Udim Local Government area, the teachers student ratio is 1:75 State Universal Basic Education Board (2015 (SUBEB). Okon (2014) observes that in Akwa Ibom State only 57 percent of the mandatory number of teachers one actually available to implement the loaded Universal Basic Education curriculum.
This implies the only 57 percent of the student’s population are actually exposed to teaching, while the remaining 43 percent of the population are not catered for. As this trend continues, the aim and objectives of the UBE scheme may definitely not be achieved.
Against this backdrop, the study examined these factors as they affect effective implementation of the Universal Basic Education Programme in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Since the inception of the Universal Basic Education in Nigeria, the school system witnessed student population which the school capacity could not adequately provide for.
This among others factors have become barriers to the effective implementation of the scheme. These problems are inherent in the implementation process of Universal Basic Education in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Over the years, it has been observed in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State that, student enrolments is ever increasing especially resulted from the free and compulsory education programme in the state. This has not only impeded the success of the scheme but has also affected the academic performance of students in their various areas of studies. Lack of qualified teachers has also affected the success of the programme. It has been observed that most teachers in our secondary schools find their ways to the classroom through the back door hence, they cannot deliver. Closely related to, this is the problem of incentive to teachers, this could be seen in terms of irregular payment of teacher’s salaries, lack of seminars and workshop for teachers.
The programme of UBE suffers from the problem of issue of funding which has resulted to lack of infrastructural facilities such as tables, desks, enough classroom block, fully equipped libraries and laboratories. The problem of this study is also associated with infrastructure deficit. The UBE programme in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State despite government effort suffers inadequate supply of infrastructural facilities. The problem of this study was to highlight factors responsible for the ineffective implementation of UBE.