The Federal Government has said that Universal Basic Education will do “everything humanly possible” to strengthen early childhood education in states.
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) which is a Federal Government agency under the Federal Ministry of Education has the mandate to formulate and coordinate all programmes related to the Universal Basic Education programme and also prescribe the minimum standards for basic education in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, basic education is primarily under the control of state governments.
The UBEC act mandates that state governments pay a mandatory 50 per cent counterpart fund to access the yearly interventions of the Federal Government.
In a statement made available to our correspondent to herald the flag off of the National sensitisation campaign of out-of-school-children across the country, the minister of state for education, Nanah Opiah, highlighted some of the factors that deny children access to early education saying, “The Federal Government through the instrumentality of the Universal Basic Education is doing everything humanly possible to assist the states on the issue of early childhood education.
Some of the factors that prevent our children’s access to early education include extreme poverty, ignorance, and access to education, among others.
The sensitisation, the Minister said is designed, “to ensure massive enrolment of children in basic and primary schools and should be taken seriously by all stakeholders, adding that it is a moral and legal obligation, the discharge of which will guarantee the future of the children and by necessary implication, the Nation.”
Citing the case of Bayelsa State, the minister commended successive administrations in the state for the special attention accorded to education, including the declaration of a state of emergency in the education sector in the state, the introduction of a free education policy at primary and secondary levels and the inauguration of the enrollment drive committee, all of which have led to a huge enrollment in schools in the state.
The Minister said no parent in Bayelsa State has any excuse to keep their child out of school anymore.