Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), has disclosed that the Federal Government, each year, allocates N1 billion as matching grant to the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, to boost the development of basic education in Nigeria.
Executive Secretary, (UBEC), Dr Suleiman Dikko, who disclosed this during a meeting with the Executives of Education Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ECAN) in Abuja, said that state governments should be held responsible for the general decline in basic education in Nigeria, leading to poor performance of students in public examinations.
Dikko said a total of about N37 billion was allocated to the states annually to improve infrastructure in schools.
He, however, said UBEC as an intervention agency had little to do in terms of ensuring that quality and standard were maintained primary and secondary schools in the country, as people were made to believe.
He noted that many people erroneously blame UBEC for the perceived fall in the quality and standard of education in the country, when in reality, basic education was under the purview of states as provided in constitution.
Dikko said “UBEC is basically an intervention agency of the Federal Government to manage the two per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund set aside to provide support to states in development of basic education.”
Dikko explained that this fund was disbursed to the states in form of matching grant, where each state government was required to pay a counterpart fund of N1 billion before its allocation was released to it by UBEC.
Many states which refused to pay this counterpart fund of about 100 per cent of the Federal Government’s matching grant, have had their allocations accumulated well over N37 billion with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said: “The commission is not a regulatory body. We don’t employ teachers or regulate the recruitment of teachers. Education is on the concurrent list and what the Federal Government is doing is to provide support to the states through this matching grant. State governments are in charge of basic education delivery. They construct classrooms and determine the number of pupils and teachers to engage.”
Earlier in his remarks, chairman of ECAN, Mr Chuks Ukwuatu, said basic education was critical and that there was the need for effective collaboration with the media, in order to ensure that Nigerians were properly informed on the intervention of government in the sector.