Charity Simon, Abuja
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has begun the 2022 National Personnel Audit of all basic education institutions in the country.
Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, said the exercise commenced in the southern part of the country on 6th June 2022 to end on 25th June 2022 while it will take off in all the northern states and the Federal Capital Territory on 4th July 2022 and come to a close 23rd July 2022.
Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday in Abuja, the UBEC boss said “during the exercise, our enumerators will visit all basic education institutions in the country: public, private, approved, unapproved, registered, and unregistered.
“They are going there to collect basic information on schools and personnel. It is necessary to emphasize that the exercise has no ulterior motive. The data being collected will assist the country to plan effectively towards expanding access to quality education and promoting gender parity at basic and other levels of education.”
Bobboyi said the exercise, which will see to the headcount of teachers, pupils, non-teaching personnel, and others in early childhood education, primary schools, and junior secondary schools, will cost about N2 billion.
“This is a census, you have to send enumerators to every school in the federation. It is something we pegged at N2 billion. We are working under it. The bulk of it goes to personnel because you have to maintain the people, those in difficult terrains, to access these places you have to hire boats and others.
“There are so many challenges, but at the moment, N2 billion is the figure we are using,” he said.
While saying since the introduction of the UBE programme, a lot of ground has been covered, Bobboyi said the lack of relevant and updated data which the exercise will address, remains a major problem in the basic education sector.
“The absence of credible data had remained a major challenge in basic education implementation for a long time. School data is supposed to flow up from the school level but our schools lack the facility and the personnel to generate and transmit data. As a result of this planning had relied on estimates and, sometimes, incomplete data.
“The Commission attempted to address this challenge by conducting personnel audits in schools. The 2006 and 2010 exercises were limited in scope as they dealt with only public schools. A more comprehensive exercise was conducted in 2018, extending to cover both public and private institutions.
“The data generated from the exercise was generally accepted as credible. However, this was only truly valid for the period when the data was collected. If it is to continue to be useful as a planning tool, it has to be regularly updated. The 2022 personnel audit should therefore be seen in the light of updating the basic education database created in 2022.
Speaking further, Bobboyi said: “I should point out that the Commission is not alone in this year’s exercise. As it did in 2018, it is in partnership with relevant government agencies, Development Partners, and Non-Governmental organizations in this 2022 exercise. We are working with the Federal Ministry of Education and its parastatals, State Ministries of Education and their Universal Basic Education Boards, National Bureau of Statistics, National Population Commission, Nigeria Air Space Research and Development Agency, Nigeria Union of Teachers, associations of private school owners, the World Bank, UNICEF, GRID3, among others.”
On the UBEC matching grant, the UBEC boss, who revealed that there has been relative improvement in states accessing the funds, however, lamented the non-utilization of a large chunk of the accessed money by some of the state governments.
He revealed that about N110billion accessed from UBEC was not utilized by states as of 2021, with the money left in the coffers of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs).
On his part, the Chairman of the 2022 National Personnel Audit, Professor Bala Zakari, called for support and cooperation from all school owners and other stakeholders to ensure its success.
On the possible challenges in accessing schools located in areas with security problems, Zakari said UBEC would have to rely on data generated by head teachers and other relevant government bodies from such places.
The National Personnel Audit chairman, who revealed that data that would be generated will include pictures of schools for illustration, said there is no hidden agenda about the exercise.