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1.1      Background of the study

Universal Basic Education (UBE) is the type of education in quality and content that is given in the first level of education. The concept of UBE changes from country to country. The UBE program in Nigeria according to Eya (2000) is intended to be universal, free and compulsory. Basic Education according to the Federal Government of Nigeria (1999) is the foundation for sustainable lifelong learning. It provides reading, writing and numeracy skills. It comprises a wide variety of formal and non-formal education activities and programs designed to enable learners to acquire functional literacy. In other words, Universal Basic Education (UBE) in Nigeria was equated with six years of primary schooling in the past and currently, it is extended to include the three years Junior Secondary School, leading up to 15 years of age. In Nigeria, basic education includes primary, junior secondary and nomadic education well a adult literacy (Jekayinfa, 2007). In this regard, the sole aim of basic education in Nigeria is to equip individuals with such knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to:

·        Live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

·        Contribute to the development of the society.

·        Derive maximum social, economic and cultural benefits from the society and;

·        Discharge their civic obligations competently (Federal Ministry of Education, 1999)

Universal Basic Education (UBE) is a reformed program in Nigeria’s basic education deliver and is to reinforce the implementation of the National policy on Education (NPE) in order to provide greater access and ensure quality throughout the federation as it is free and compulsory (Adomeh, Arhedo & Omoike, 2007). Meanwhile, Nigeria is adopting UBE as a process of fulfilling the aim of Education for all (EFA) as endorsed at the world conference on education held in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990. According to the world conference on education, basic education is made free and available to all and sundry. For this reason, emphasizing free access, equity, efficiency, literacy, numeracy and lifelong skills for all. Therefore, UBE is being implemented in Nigeria as a lasting legacy for the eradication of illiteracy.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserted that everyone has the right to education. Over 40 years later, it is clear that many people are still being denied this basic human right. Indeed, the 1980s saw more backward than forward movement in most countries of the world. It was at that point that a World Conference on Education for all was held in Jomtien, Thailand, for the purpose of forging a global consensus and commitment to provide basic education for all. Universal Basic Education (UBE) is the programme which grew out of that conference (Dike, 2000). The programme is intended to be universal, free, and compulsory. Since the introduction of western education in 1842 (Eya, 2000), religions, states, and federal government in Nigeria have shown a keen interest in education. This can be seen in the introduction of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) in the western region on 17th January, 1955, its introduction in the eastern region in February, 1957, and in Lagos (the Federal Territory) in January, 1957. Other developments include the publication of a national policy on education in 1977, launching universal of UBE in 1999. The goal of all these programmes is providing functional, universal, and quality education for all these programmes is providing functional, universal, and quality education for all Nigerians irrespective of age, sex, race, religion, occupation, or location. UBE is broader than UPE, which focused only on providing educational opportunities to primary school age children. UBE stresses the inclusion of girls and women and a number of underserved groups: the poor, street and working children, rural and remote populations, nomads, migrant workers, indigenous peoples, minorities, refuges, and the disables. The formal educational system is only one of six components included in basic education in the implementation guidelines of the Federal Government. Others relate to early childhood, literacy and life skills for adults, nomadic population, and non-formal education or apprenticeship training for youth outside the formal education system (Nigeria 2000) programme was launched on 29th September 1999 by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in Sokoto, Sokoto state UBE Act (2004) which was signed into Law in May, 2004 provided the legal framework for the programme and an indication of its effective take off. The implementation started in July, 2005 with the appropriation of UBE fund to the universal basic education commission (UBEC) and subsequent disbursement to states. The new basic education curriculum was approved by the national council of education (NCE) in December 2005. There is no doubt that the curriculum is the bedrock of any educational reform of which the universal basic education is not an exception.

The concept of the universal basic education may not be a new idea totally. From all indications, the universal education can be regarded as an offshoot of the universal primary education (UPE) scheme, which was launched in the country in 1976. As usual with Nigeria, this scheme was abandoned mid-way (Aluede, 2006). The fact that the scheme, i.e. UPE had something to offer perhaps led to the re-introduction of the programme in another name and concept known as universal basic education in 1999. The universal basic education (IBE) is a policy reform measure of the Federal government of Nigeria, aimed at rectifying distortions in the basic education. UBE is conceived to embrace formal education up to age 15, as well as adult and non-formal education including education of marginalized groups within the Nigerian society. The national policy on education, 2004 section 3 defines basic education as a type of education comprising 6 years of primary education and 3 years of junior secondary school. The policy stipulates that the education shall be free and compulsory. This scheme shall include adult and non-formal educational programmes at primary and junior secondary school levels for both adults and out – of school youths. The UBE has three main components – universal, basic and education. Universal here means the programme is for everyone irrespective of tribe, culture or race and class (Aluede, 2006; Eddy and Akpan, 2009). The term basic depicts that which is a fundamental or essential thing that must be given or had. It is on this factor that every other thing rests on. Without it, nothing may be achieved. It is on the root for acquisition of any knowledge (Eddy and Akpan, 2009). Hence, UBE can be seen as that type of education that every individual must have. It should not be a privilege but a right and it should be the sum total of an individual’s experience. The universal basic educations mission is to serve as a prime energizer of national movement for actualization of the nation’s  UBEs vision, working in concert with all stakeholders. This will mobilize the nation’s creative energies to ensure that education for all becomes the responsibilities of all UBEC annual report. The universal basic education commission in its annual report in 2005 listed the objectives of the universal basic education to include; ensuring unfettered access to 9 years of formal basic education, 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 improved relevance, quality and efficiency and ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills, as well as the ethical, moral and civic vales needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning. In order to achieve the above-mentioned objectives and indeed the UBEs vision and mission of the scheme, an Act tagged UBE act was enacted on the 26th May, 2004. It was titles Act to provide for compulsory, free, universal basic education and other related matters. Following the enactment of the act, the universal basic education commission (UBEC) was established. The act provides three sources of funding for the implementation of the UBE, which are federal government grant of not less than 2% of its consolidated revenue fund; funds or contributions in the form of federal guaranteed credits and local or international donor grants. Although, this act covers both the state and the Local Government block  grant meant for implementation of the UBE if it can contribute at least 50% of the total cost of the project. This is to ensure the state coverage, the Act provides sanctions for parents who fail to send their children and wards to school. Also in order to ensure that poverty is not a hindrance to schooling, the project provides free textbooks in core subjects as well as abolishes tuition at the primary school and at the junior secondary school levels. The enactment of the UBE Act has a legal implication, which makes it compulsory for provision of universal, free and compulsory 6 years of primary education and the first 3 years of secondary education. From the various objectives of the UBE stated above, the child would have a continuous, uninterrupted stretch of education for 9 years from primary school to the 3rd year of the junior secondary school. Apart from this, the UBE scheme plans catering for the adults who have been out of school before they acquired the basic skills needed for lifelong learning in form of non – formal programmes. So, the UBE programme is planned in such a way that it shall provide non – formal skills and training for youths who have not had the benefit of formal education (Dareet al., 2008). The new scheme has therefore, changed the education system from 6-3-3-4 to 9-3-4. It is expected that there shall be a smooth transition from the primary school (6 years) to junior secondary school. It is also expected that junior secondary schools shall be an autonomous body not having much to do with the senior secondary schools. In order to achieve this, all states of federation have given the junior schools their autonomy. Thus, the junior secondary schools operate as separate bodies, having their worn principals, vice principals and members of teaching and non – teaching staff.

Science teaching/learning is part of recommendations of the world conference on education held in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990, as well as the UBE objective and national education policy. The science development efforts which were sparked off during the 1960s and 1970s by the sudden launching into space of the satellite “Sputnik” by the defunct Soviet Union in 1957. This development created the curiosity and consequent questioning of the mode of science teaching/learning and the nature of the science curriculum existing in the United State of America and other nations of the world. Subsequently, a metamorphosis of several new science curricula evolved which included the mathematics science study (MSCS), Chemical Educational Materials Study (CHEM study), Biological Science Study (BSCS), the Nigerian nation became a part of these curriculum development efforts with the birth of Basic Science for Nigerian Secondary Schools (BSNSS) undertaken in 1962 at the Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro. This was followed by the Nigerian integrated further paved way for the involvement of some government agencies such as the defunct Comparative Education study and Adaptation Centre (CESAC), the Nigerian Educational Research Council (NERC), which later merged to be the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to fully participate in many other science curriculum development projects both at the primary and secondary levels of our educational system. However, the bottom-line of these curricular reform efforts hinged on the fact that there were total dissatisfaction with how science was still traditionally being taught. This traditional approach related to the decreasing popularity of science among students as evidenced by the declining number of students choosing science subjects. Furthermore, many research studies have shown that students exposed to the traditional approach end up with poor understanding of scientific concepts. In addition, the traditional approach was argued, did not adequately prepare future citizens to understand science and technology issues in a rapidly evolving study.

The Nigerian basic education curriculum as a foundation requires a sound knowledge of Science and Technology. This is not only because Science and Technology has a tremendous impact on all social institution but also because science teaching is virtually non – existent in our primary schools (Danmole, 1998). The 9 years Basic Science and Technology Curriculum is restructuring and re-alignment of the revised Core Curriculum for Primary Science and the Integrated Science of the Junior Secondary School currently in use. In the selection of content, Globalization, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Entrepreneurship were three major issues considered to be crucial in the development of the child, important in nation worldwide and influencing the contemporary world of knowledge. In the aspiration for identification with contemporary development globally, it has become inevitable for Nigeria to incorporate relevant content into the school curriculum.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

Nigeria’s educational system has witnessed a catalogue of changes in educational policies and programmes. Some of the changes have appeared to a number of people desirable while others have not been able to meet the desired target. Many of the changes in educational policies in Nigeria have been a product of inadequate planning. There is therefore, a high level of uncertainty which is bedeviling the implementation of this programme in Nigeria schools. This situation call for much concern as the young ones is the future leaders of this country. The new reform initiatives in science education which started in the 1990s and 1990s, squarely positioned science as a social process and cultural practice with particular ways of knowing and doing science.

As in many other developing countries, implementation is the bane of public and programmes in Nigeria. A policy or programme that is well formulated but not properly implemented is more or less useless. With specific reference to the Nigerian education sector, policies/programmes change like the wind vane with every successive government. An example of a previous programme in the sector that suffered implementation failure was the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme which was the forerunner to the present Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme. The UBE programme was introduced in 1999 seemingly as a replacement for the UPE programme which was launched in 1976 but later abandoned. But the UBE, like the UPE before it, is experiencing implementation difficulties. According to the Education for All (EFA) Regional overview report that highlights the situation in sub-Saharan Nigeria is one of the countries at serious risk of not achieving the universal primary education goal. The report defines serious risk as furthest to go and moving away from goal or progress too slow. The same goes for the adult literacy and gender parity goals. With an Education for all Development Index (EDI) of less than 0.8.

Nigeria is among 16 countries in sub – Saharan Africa very far from achieving EFA goals. (The Nation Thursday, October 16, 2008). Moreover, in the Global competitiveness report for the period 2009 – 2010, Nigeria’s  primary education level was ranked 132nd out of the 133 countries that were surveyed (Daily Sun Monday, October 12, 2009). The poor performance of many public policies and programmes in Nigeria, in terms of the achievement of their  specified objectives arise primarily from implementation failure.

1.3      Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the objectives and problems associated with the implementation of Universal Basic Education and suggest possible solutions which will assist to overcome the challenges faced by the programme. The purpose can be outlined as follows:

1.        To study the contributions of the universal basic education (UBE) programme in learning mathematics in some selected secondary schools in Gwagwalada

2.        To find out the problems associated with the implementation process of the universal basic education (UBE) policy in Gwagwalada area council.

3.        To evaluate the strategies adopt in the implementation process of the UBE objectives.

4.        To proffer possible solutions to the challenges in the implementation of the UBE objectives.

1.4      Research Questions

This study will provide answer to the following questions:

1.        To what extent has (UBE) programme been able to cater for the student in learning mathematics subjects?

2.        Does the UBE programme make available recruitment of qualified mathematics teachers in secondaru schools?

3.        Is there any significant relationship between the ratios of teachers to pupils in mathematics teaching?

4.        Does Universal Basic Education programme provide adequate infrastructure and facility in the teaching of mathematics.

5.        Does the Universal Basic Education Programme provide adequate instructional materials to enhance teching/learning effectiveness in mathematics.

1.5      Scope and Limitation of the Study

This research will focus on the contribution of UBE programme and objectives in learning mathematics in some selected secondary schools in Gwagwalada council. The selected secondary schools are Government Secondary School Gwagwalada G.S.S Gwagwalada, Hajj Camp Senior Secondary School Gwagwalada of this research is that it is confined to some selected secondary schools in Gwagwalada Area Council and also to be expected are poor response and withheld questionnaire.

1.6      Significance of the Study

This research is significant to UBE programme implementers, supervisors, monitors, teachers and educational plannes, since it focus on the programme implementation of UBE.

1.7      Definition of Functional Term and Abbreviation

            NPE: National Policy on Education

            EFA: Education for all

            UPE: Universal Primary Education

            UBEC: Universal Basic Education Commission

            NCE: National Council of Education

            MSCS: Mathematics Science Study

            CHEM: Chemical Educational Materials Study

            BSCS: Biological Science Study

            BSNSS: Basic Science for Nigerian Secondary Schools

            STAN: Science Teacher Association of Nigeria

            CESAC: Comparative Education Study and Adaptation Centre

            NERDC: Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council

            NERC: Nigerian Educational Research Council

            NERDC: Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council

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