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1.1 Background to the Study
Education is the only significant instrument of development. Education is also one of the vital tools used in the measurement and categorization of nations as developed or developing. Nigeria to be qualified to address or categorized as a developing nation, she must provide quality education to its citizens through appropriate fiscal policies and programmes. According to Ocho (2005), education is the road to national peace, stability and growth of a nation, education determines rational thinking of an individual and its central purpose is therefore to make man a moral agent, to train his character in such a way that he can be properly adapted to his society and the world at large. To keep candle lighten, Nigerian educational system has witness a series of amendment in policies and programmes. Before the introduction of western education in Nigeria in the middle of the 19th century by the Christian Missionary Societies (CMS) they have been an existence of traditional system of education in the country Nigeria. The central purpose of education was to ensure that all citizens received: moral training that enabled society to live in peace, solidarity and unity; communication education for effective intra personal interaction; doctrinal training, dealing with issues of life after death; occupational training that ensured gainful employment for everybody; to participate in leisure time such as dancing, story telling, singing, games, to ensure selfless service to the society he/she belong. The coming of the Christian missionaries into Nigeria ushered in western education which introduced the system of education that re-emphasizes instrumentation, universality, diversification and formal systematization. All aimed at proper adoption of the individual growth and development, for the society and the world at large. Their basic education include; the “3RS” (Reading, writing and calculate) the western system of education was (7, 5, 4) seven years in primary school, five years in secondary school and four years in the university, according to Fafunwa (1974).
Consequently, the administrators of Nigeria nation, since when the gain their freedom has shown positive interest over education because it is a vital instrument to national development. The pursuance of this lofty objective made Nigerian government to engage in various forms of educational policies and programmes in order to inculcate national consciousness, right type of value and national unity; to develop an individual into a morally sound, patriotic efficient and effective citizen; to develop appropriate skills, mental, physical and social abilities and contribute to become a useful member of the society and the total integration of citizens into the immediate society (FRN, 1981).
Gideons and Sorkaa (2008) affirm some of the educational policies such as Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme of the western and eastern regions, management and control of education, the establishment of unity school and the introduction of (UPE) nation wide. The Universal Primary Education (UPE) was launched by former president Obasanjo, in September 1976 at Sokoto state. Moreover, after twenty three (23) years of introduction according to Fafunwa (1986) asserted that, the objective of education were not fully realized. He added that the failure of the programme was attributed to inadequate planning and inadequate fund for the implementation.
At the same vein, federal government introduced 6-3-3-4 system of education national wide in 1982. It implies six years in primary school, three in Junior secondary school, three in senior secondary school and four years in the university to replace 6, 5,4 in the past to enable Nigerian modify and achieve their aims and objective of education to its citizens. Gideons and Sorkaa was of the view that, the educational policies and programmes were implemented without a reliable monitoring, assessment and evaluation. Despite, the effort of the system of 6-3-3-4 to eradicate illiteracy but it was still at the high; unemployment, increase of school dropout, increase of social vices and other related offences et cetera were the order of the day. This trigged off another set of introduction on education with the following outcome of the Jomtien world conference held in 1990 and the declaration of Education for All (EFA) by the conference in the 2000. With the inclusion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by the world leaders in the September 2000, at the United nations millennium summit which assert that the member countries including Nigeria should endeavour to achieve its objective in the year 2015. This includes the following;
(a) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
(b) Achieve universal basic education (UBE)
(c) Promote gender equality and empower women
(d) minimize child mortality
(e) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and the related diseases
(f) Promote maternal health
(g) Ensure environmental sustainability
(h) Develop a global partnership for development (Eze, 2008).
In other the imbibe development with other developing countries of the world, the introduction of the universal basic education in September 30th, 1999 by the democratic government of Nigeria were a significant move towards the Education for All in the country. The purpose of the programme was for the availability and affordability of fundamental education to every Nigerian citizens and the government concern to curb illiteracy in the country. According to Ocho (2005) the greatest outcome of the successful implementation of the UBE is the trace Nigerian culture which inculcate to the individual for the growth of national consciousness and national character which form the basis for national understanding, peace and political growth and development. Its area of coverage are six years of primary school and three years of junior secondary school Nweze (2008) affirms that, one of the major national education goal is the acquisition of appropriate skills and development of mental, physical and social competencies to enable individual become useful and contributing member of the society and Nigeria at large.
It implies that the acquisition of proper skills is important because after Junior secondary education one may either embark on part time studies or full time employment. Despite, the implementation of the UBE programme, it is significant to note that the challenges of Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme with the problems facing basic education in Nigeria even before the introduction of Universal Basic Education include;
a. Inadequate supervision;
b. Shortage manpower
c. Inadequate funding
d. High price of text book
e. School drop out
f. Incoherent implementation of the curriculum (Denga 2005).
These envisaged problems not withstanding, there are some prospects that will be credited to the UBE programme as asserted by Ude (2001) that the programme is expected to provide basic knowledge for children of school age to have access to 9 year of formal education; provision of free universal education for every Nigerian child of school-going age; reduction of school dropout from the formal education system through improved relevant and efficiency, catering for dropout and out-of-school children/adolescents through various forms of complementary approaches to the provision and promotion of basic education, and ensuring the acquisition of the appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skill as well as the ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for life-long learning. The question now is how far has these laudable objectives of UBE been achieved after about two decades of its introduction. Are everybody committed to promotion of education when the government budget on education is far from being adequate, Boko Haram insurgency out to destroy education in the North East Nigeria and the little fund provided for education being misappropriated with abandoned recklessness by government officials. These have led to more parents opting for private schools despite the exorbitant fees while those who cannot afford it prefer giving their children out to hawk or do other menial jobs to put food on their tables. Even those who eventually make it through public schools hardly get any job because of being unemployable as they have nothing to showcase as what they have learnt. Worst still, nobody is willing to stay in the rural communities as a result of heavy deprivation in the areas of social amenities. The teachers and school authorities are not left out as they have turned the pupils especially in the rural areas into money spinning machine in the name of handwork which is being used as the criteria for promotion to another class. The story is endless and we may ask ourselves who is to be blamed. It is to provide answers to these that this study is conceived to address the challenges to the effective implementation of UBE programmes in primary and junior secondary schools in Ebonyi State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In the past, Nigerian government suffered a lot of difficulties, especially in the realm of education. Despite the government effort to eradicate ignorance, poverty and illiteracy and imbibe national integration, national development among others, government introduced the UBE programme, which was confronted with so many challenges. In Ebonyi State, students in primary schools sit on empty tin/can, some sit on their school bags, while others sit on bare floor in their individual classrooms during learning.
In some schools especially in the urban places, the population of pupils is so high that the teacher-pupil ratio is about 1:65. This ugly scenario makes effective learning practically ineffective. Above all, some primary and post primary school students are still using classroom blocks that do not have ceiling with open zinc on the roof for teaching and learning. The story is more pathetic in the area of junior secondary school as most of them are been sandwiched in either primary school or their present senior secondary without physical facilities/equipment and other materials necessary to make the school functional.
All these conditions still exist despite the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme that has been on ground for more than a decade and half now in Nigeria. It is on the basis of the above that this study is conceived to investigate and find out the causes of these challenges.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to find out implementation challenges of universal basic education programme in Ebonyi State, primary and junior secondary schools.
Specially, the study set to find how:
1. Inadequate funding affects the implementation of UBE programme in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools.
2. Physical facilities/equipment pose as a challenge to the implementation of Universal Basic Education programme in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools.
3. Inadequate supervision affects the implementation of UBE in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools.
4. Inadequate motivation of teachers affects the implementation of UBE programme in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools.
5. School location affect the implementation of UBE programme in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study will be of great important to all and sundry, and will foster the process of equal educational opportunity for all citizens, as it will help to eradicate poverty and illiteracy in Ebonyi State and Nigeria at large.
More still, this study will also be of a great benefit to all other younger researchers to source ideas in carrying out their research work for their projects.
Consequently, the finding of this study will enable the administrators to understand the various approaches to be used in this implementation of Universal Basic Education in Ebonyi State and Nigeria at large.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope will cover challenges of Universal Basic Education in Ebonyi State. It will be centered on how funding, physical facilities/equipments, supervision, motivation of teachers, as well as the location of school pose as challenge to the implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools. .
1.6 Research Questions
The following research questions:
1. How does inadequate funding pose as a challenge to the implementation of UBE in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools?
2. How does physical facilities/equipment contribute to the challenges of the implementation of UBE programme in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools?
3. How does inadequate supervision constitute a challenge to the implementation of UBE programme in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools?
4. How does inadequate motivation of teachers contribute to the implementation challenges of UBE programme in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools?
5. How does school location affect the implementation of the UBE programme in Ebonyi State primary and junior secondary schools?
1.7 Research Hypotheses
H01: There is no significant difference in the mean rating of head teachers and principals on the implementation challenges of the Universal basic Education (UBE) programme in Ebonyi State.
H02: There is no significant difference in the mean rating of rural and urban head teachers and principals on the implementation challenges of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme in Ebonyi state.
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