By Ariwodola Idowu
Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti has urged the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Federal Ministry of Education (FME), to improve the mechanism for school monitoring and evaluation of projects.
He said this would promote quality education in the country.
The governor made the statement when the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, led other members on a courtesy visit to him on Saturday in Ado Ekiti.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee, as part of its oversight functions, was in the state to inspect basic schools and ensure that funds released by the Federal Government for execution of projects were judiciously utilised.
The governor also informed the committee on the need for the Federal Government to suspend counterpart funding as part of the basic requirements for states to access Federal Government’s UBEC funding.
Fayemi lamented that the backlogs of funds domiciled in the UBEC account was a function of the inability of some states to raise counterpart funds to access it.
He added that the process, if successful, would enable states to take more accelerated actions that would substantially improve the condition of schools and the quality of learning received by scholars.
Fayemi said: “It is necessary to step down counterpart funding in order for states to access the money that is just sitting there and the president has agreed with us.
“That would enable states to take more accelerated actions on schools but it will now be more of a programme for results arrangement rather than counterpart funding arrangement.
“I know how important this Committee is. I want to plead with you to really continue to impress it on the UBEC and the FME to pay more attention to the quality of education and to the monitoring and evaluation exercise.”
He stressed the need to get school environment safe and secure, noting that it was the responsibility of government to ensure that the security of schools went beyond the traditional measure of installing perimeter fencing.
He said schools would need to adopt more effective measures that would guarantee safety of student, particularly at a time the country was faced with security challenges.
The governor, as requested by the committee, promised to lend his voice to campaign against out-of-school children.
He explained how his administration in two years had been able to improve students’ enrollment in both basic and secondary schools through free and compulsory education and the enactment of the Child Rights Act.
The Act prohibits school age children from being on the street during school hours, without genuine reasons.
Earlier in his remarks, Ihonvbere said the committee was in Ekiti as part of its constitutional responsibility to assess the extent to which states have utilised the Federal Government UBEC grants.
He commended the Fayemi administration for injecting passion and commitment to repositioning and refocusing basic education in the state, as against what it was during the previous administration.
He said: “Giving that we are very conversant with the distorted legacy inherited by the governor in the area of basic education, we are satisfied that there is passion, there is commitment, there is focus, there is burning desire to protect our children and ensure they get the best in basic education.” (NAN)