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Background to the Study
Education is generally accepted to be the pivot on which the wheel of progress and development of any society rotates. Education is the process of changing the behavior pattern of people and it encompasses teaching and learning, specific skills and also less tangible things such as talking, feeling, and laughing. Education also encompasses the imparting of knowledge, positive judgment and well developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation. There are today many definition of education, varying with educational philosophers’, scholars and students. However the following are some of the current definition given by scholars; Ukeje (1992) sees education as a process by which people are acclimatized to the culture into which they are born in order that they may advance it. Education means to draw out, facilitating realization of self-potential and latent talents of an individual. Khalleel (2000) holds the view that education prepares the individual for effective and efficient living within his/her community. Aliyu (1998) described education as a liberating factor on a person to fulfill his or her potential for the good of both the individual and the society. Education liberates one to reflect, and act upon the world with a view to changing it. Sani (1998) understood education as a catalyst, which paves the way for the realization of our people’s aspirations in all facets of life. According to Ogbonnaya (2002), education is the process by which people are acclimatized to the culture into which they are born in order that they may advance it. This definition is similar to the one presented by Onuoha in Ogbonnaya (2002) who defined education as a process by which the individual is enabled to develop his capabilities through the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes both for his own benefit and for the benefit of the society. The above definitions of education suggest that education is the process of teaching or passing on the way of life of the people to the youths. It also implies that it is through education that one can develop his potentialities or capabilities for his own benefit and the benefit of the entire society in which he is born. Education is therefore the systematic process of developing the individual physically, mentally, spiritually and socially for his benefit and for the benefit of the society in which he lives.
In a simplified matter, education refers to the process of teaching, training and learning especially in school and colleges. It leads to improvement of knowledge and development of skills. The main purpose of education is therefore to develop the individual so that he can be useful to himself, his family and the society at large. Therefore education has been the priority of various government of Nigeria since independence in 1960.In the past four decades only the privileged citizens benefit from education but this condition continue to improve as civilians came and people became aware of the need for education with lunching of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1976 as the first major national initiatives at universalization access to education and the publication of the National policy on education in (1977) (revised in 1981,1998 and 2004) and a greater sense of direction and purpose of educational activities at all levels of the education system were given (Fafunwa 2000) . However education all over the world is geared towards socialization for members irrespective of age, gender, religion, social condition, geographical location and physical disabilities.
The National Policy on Education was developed to eradicate illiteracy at all levels of human existence and provide affordable education for all Nigerians irrespective of class, religion, ethnic origin of physical appearance. The policy was driven by a desire to eradicate poverty, increase indices of national policy, increase political consciousness and encourage issues of national interpretation. In pursuance of the above mentioned objective of the National Policy, the federal government under the federal ministry of education have from time to time introduced different educational reform programme with the hope of realizing its objectives. One of such programme for educational reform is the Universal Basic Education (UBE).The UBE was formulated to be the bed rock of lifelong learning that will impact reading, writing and the acquisition of the other relevant skills for sustenance and development. The Nigerian government in a desire to eradicate illiteracy in Nigeria lunched UBE during the regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo on 30th September 1999 in Sokoto, the programme is design to cover the six years of primary school and three years of junior secondary school. The UBE was launched to actualize the many international education covenants to which Nigeria is a signatory. Among these, is the World Conference on Education for All (WCEFA) Jomitien, Thailand, 1990.The UBE which is a response to the Jemitien declaration on education for all, according to Eya (2000), has the following as its objectives:
- 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 improved relevance, equality and efficiency).
- Catering for the learning needs of young persons who, for one reason or another, have had to interrupt their schooling through appropriate forms of complementary approaches to the provision and promotion of basic education.
- Ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral, and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning.
The UBE in Nigeria, according to Eya (2000), covers programme initiatives for early childhood care and socialization, education programme for acquisition of functional literacy, numeracy and life-skills especially for adults (persons aged 15 and above), special programme for nomadic population, out of- school, non-formal programme for up-dating the knowledge and skills of persons who left school before acquiring the basics needed for lifelong learning, formal school system from the beginning of primary education to the end of the junior secondary, Non-formal skills and apprenticeship training for adolescents and youths who have not had the benefit of formal education.
The UBE programme is aimed at reaching all members of the society. In other words, its scope covers Nigerian children, adolescents, illiterate adults in all social condition and geographical locations, irrespective of sex, be they in or out of the school system. It is a very laudable programme which spans the formal (i.e. Pre-school, primary, and junior secondary), non-formal (i.e. Literacy, numeracy and communicative skills), life skills and learning-to –learn skills for lifelong education. The programme, besides trying to check the dropout rate, hopes to ensure that those who had dropped out of the formal school system, for one reason or another drop in (Tahir 2002). However the programme is seen to be faced with inadequate infrastructure, fund, curriculum and equipment
(Okolo, 2001) The content of the UBE include training the teachers, teachers’ recruitment and welfare, funding, supervision, provision of physical facilities, statistics, enlightenment, curriculum among others. The achievement of the aims and objectives of the UBE programme depends very much on effective implementation of the aims and objectives by its implementers.
Based on the foregoing, the UBE is a programme intended as a visible evidence of Nigeria’s strong commitment to the Jemitein declaration of 1990 on promotion of basic education for all. It is also geared toward the achievement the New Delhi Declaration 1991 requiring stringent efforts by the E-9 countries (nine nations of the world with the largest concentration of illiterate adults) to reduce illiteracy drastically within the shortest possible time frame (Arisi,2002).
The UBE is on-going for the past seven years, yet the impact is not felt, particularly in junior secondary schools in Ezeagu local government area. Many school age children are not going to school rather they are involved in trading; school-drop-outs are fully engaged in either trading or motor-bike operation. The adults in Ezeagu are not engaged in any formal training for the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills as envisaged by the scheme. This situation therefore aroused the researcher’s interest to find out the problems and prospect of implementation of universal basic education (UBE) in junior secondary schools in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu state.
Statement of the Problem
There is no time in human history when education is established only for the good of itself but to meet the needs of those for whom it was established. The UBE scheme aims at providing sustainable lifelong learning opportunities to all Nigerian citizens who desire it. However many years after the launching of UBE the impact is not felt in Ezeagu local government area. Many of the students in the area especially the junior secondary school students are not benefiting from the UBE scheme, yet the UBE is planned to cater for them. In the area there is no adequate teaching and learning materials (textbooks, computers, writing materials etc) for the students and teachers, the environment is not conducive enough for proper learning to take place. It means that the UBE programme is not being effectively implemented in the area. The state of affairs therefore arose the researcher's interest to investigate the problems that militate against the implementation of UBE programme in junior secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the problems and prospects associated with the implementation of Universal Basic Education in junior secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State and suggest possible solutions which will assist to overcome the challe nges faced by the programme. Specifically the researcher will work towards the following cardinal objectives;
1. To find out the impact of universal basic education programme in junior secondary schools
2. Examine the adequacy of infrastructural facilities in junior secondary schools.
3. To ascertain the problems facing the implementation of UBE programme in junior secondary school.
4. To map out strategies to be adopted to ensure effective implementation Of the UBE programme in junior secondary schools.
Significance of the Study
It is hoped that the findings of the study will avail the educational planners a new data of problems that would hinder the successful implementation of UBE programme, with a view to find a workable solutions to the envisage the problems. Moreover the federal government of Nigeria is in the position to re-appraise the programme. In addition, the community shall benefit hence, their citizenry will have a strong consciousness for education, making the rate of students’ dropout reduce, and thereby reducing crime rate in the society. Again, parents would have cause to require hence, payment of school fees would be a thing of the past, thereby enhancing their economic standard.
Also universities through universal basic education (UBE) will have a new crop of secondary school leavers who will be trained and the capability of carrying out a university course without successfully. Theoretically, the findings of this study would permit a deeper and clearer understanding of data and empirical findings with respect to the purpose of the study. The study would also provide extensive literature resources for all stakeholders in education, especially basic education. The findings of this study will be of immense benefit to the policy makers, educational administrators and planners, pupils, parents, government. Also the industries through the successful graduation of students through the school hierarchy of leaving will have well trained labor forces that will work in the numerous industries in the country.
Finally, if the recommendation of the study is adopted, the programme would be properly promoted, thereby making both Nigerian child and adult acquire functional literacy that will be useful to the society.
Scope of the Study
The study will cover all the junior secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State. The scope was restricted to the problems that militate against the implementation of the UBE programme in junior secondary schools in the area.
The following research questions are formulated to guide the study:
1. What are the impact of UBE programme in junior secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area?
2. How adequate are the infrastructural facilities for the effective implementation of the UBE programme in junior secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area?
3. What are the problems facing the implementation of UBE programme in junior secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area?
4. What are the strategies to be adopted for the effective implementation of the UBE programme in junior secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area?
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