The Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Suleiman Dikko, has disclosed that the Federal Government, each year, allocates the sum of N1 billion as matching grant to the 36 states of the federation and FCT to boost the development of basic education in Nigeria.
He has also said that State governments should be held responsible for the general decline in basic education in Nigeria, leading to poor performance of students in public examinations. Dikko, who spoke during the weekend in Abuja at meeting with the Executives of Education Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ECAN), said a total of about N37 billion is allocated the states annually to improve infrastructure in schools.
He, however, said UBEC as an intervention agency has little to do in terms of ensuring that quality and standard are maintained primary and secondary schools in the country as people are made to believe.
He noted that many people erroneously blame UBEC for the perceived fall in the quality and standard of education in the country when in reality basic education is under the purview of States as provided in Constitution.
He said, “UBEC is basically an intervention agency of the federal government to manage the 2 per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund set aside to provide support to states in development of basic education”.
Dikko, explained that this fund is disbursed to the states in form of matching grant, where each state government is required to pay a counterpart fund of N1 billion before its allocation is released to it by UBEC. Many states who refused to pay this counterpart fund of about 100per cent of the federal government matching grant, have had their allocations accumulated well over N37 billion with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said: “The commission is not a regulatory body. We don’t employ teachers or regulate the recruitment of teachers. Education is on the concurrent list and what the federal government is doing is to provide support to the states through this matching grant.
State governments are in charge of basic education delivery. They construct classrooms and determine the number of pupils and teachers to engage”. He added that apart of the matching grant provided to the states, UBEC as well set aside N750 million for training and retraining of teachers in the states.
– Charity Simon Abuja