NIGERIAN LITERACY BOARDS
UBEC NCNE NMEC
UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION COMMISSION (UBEC), ABUJA, www.ubeconline.com.
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme is a nine (9) year basic educational programme, which was launched and executed by the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to eradicate illiteracy, ignorance and poverty as well as stimulate and accelerate national development, political consciousness and national integration. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo flagged off UBE on 30 th September 1999 in Sokoto , Sokoto State. The UBE Programme is Nigeria's strategy for the achievement of Education for All (EFA) and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) . It is also one of the strategies for realising the nation's economic agenda as enunciated by the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) .
The implementation process of the programme has been on since 1999 , but progress was hampered by lack of an enabling law to execute certain aspects of the programme. What a big relief it was when the President signed the UBE Bill into law on 26 th May 2004 following its passage by the National Assembly . The UBE Act 2004 makes provision for basic education comprising of ECCE, Primary and Junior Secondary Education. The financing of basic education is the responsibility of States and Local Governments. However, the Federal Government has decided to intervene in the provision of basic education with 2% of its Consolidated Revenue Fund. For states to fully benefit from this Fund, criteria were established which states are to comply. The Act also provides for the establishment of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to co-ordinate the implementation of the programme at the states and local government through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) of each state and the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) . The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) was formally established on 7 th October 2004 .
At the end of nine years of continuous education, every child should acquire appropriate and relevant skills and values and be employable in order to contribute his or her quota to National Development
To serve as a prime energiser of National Movement for the actualisation of the nation's Universal Basic Education (UBE) vision, working in concert with all stakeholders, thus mobilising the Nation's creative energies to ensure that Education For All becomes the Responsibility of all.
Scope of UBE
Programmes and initiatives for early childhood care and education, Six-year Primary Education, and three (3) years of Junior Secondary Education.
Objectives Of UBE
The objectives of the UBE programme are as follows:
. Ensure unfettered access to nine (9) years of formal basic education.
. 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, quality and efficiency and
. 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 life-long learning
FUNCTIONS OF THE UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION COMMISSION
The Functions of he Commission shall be to: -
a. Formulate the policy guidelines for the successful operation of the universal basic education programme in the Federation
b. Receive block grant from the Federal Government and allocate to the States and Local Governments and other relevant agencies implementing the Universal Basic Education in accordance with an approved formula as may be laid down by the Board of the Commission and approved by the Federal Executive Council; provided that the Commission shall not disburse such grant until it is satisfied that the earlier disbursements have been applied in accordance with the provisions of this Act;
c. Prescribe the minimum standards for basic education throughout Nigeria in line with the National Policy on Education and the directive of the National Council on Education and ensure the effective monitoring of the standards;
d. Enquire into and advise the Federal Government on the funding and orderly development of basic education in Nigeria
e. Collate and prepare after consultation with the States and Local Governments, and other relevant stakeholders, periodic master plans for a balanced and co-ordinated development of basic education in Nigeria including areas of possible intervention in the provision of adequate basic education facilities which include: -
i. Proposal to the minister for equal and adequate basic education opportunity in Nigeria.
ii. The provision of adequate basic education facilities in Nigeria; and
iii. Ensure that the Basic National Curricula and Syllabi and other necessary instructional materials are in use in early childhood care and development centers, primary and junior secondary schools in Nigeria.
f. Carry out in concert with the States and Local Governments at regular intervals, a personnel audit of teaching and non-teaching staff of all basic education institutions in Nigeria.
g. Monitor Federal inputs into the implementation of basic education;
h. Present periodic progress reports on the implementation of the universal basic education to the President through the Minister;
i. Co-ordinate the implementation of the Universal Basic Education related activities in collaboration with non-governmental and multi-lateral agencies;
j. Liaise with donor agencies and other development partners in matters relating to basic education;
k. Develop and disseminate curricula and instructional materials for basic education in Nigeria
l. Establish a basic education data bank and conduct research on basic education in Nigeria
m. Support national capacity building for teachers and managers of basic education in Nigeria
n. Carry out mass mobilization and sensitization of the general public and enter into partnerships with communities and all stake-holders in basic education with the aim of achieving the overall objectives of the Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education in Nigeria;
o. Carry out such other activities that are relevant and conducive to the discharge of its functions under this Act; and
p. Carry out such other functions as the Minister may, from time to time, determine.
OBJECTIVES OF UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION COMMISSION
The main objectives of UBEC are five; the commission is
1. to develop in the citizenry, a strong consciousness for education and a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion;
2. to provide free, universal basic education for every Nigerian child of school age;
3. to reduce drastically the incidence of drop-out from formal school system, through improved relevance, quality and efficiency;
4. to cater 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 promotion of basic education;
5. to ensure the acquisition of the appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, communicative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning. (UBE Act, 2004: 16-17)
Four of these objectives, namely the first, second, fourth and fifth have direct bearing to non-formal education and therefore will be analysed more critically in this work. It must equally be stated that even the third objective which in its form does depart from the usual norm of non-formal education practice has some relationship with non-formal education as non-f0rmal education learners do mainstream into the formal education and non-formal education relies heavily on the facilities of formal education for take-off and in many cases for sustenance and support; formal education has on the other hand been found to borrow some best practices from non-formal education.
NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR NOMADIC EDUCATION, (NCNE), ABUJA
The National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE), based in Kaduna town, in Nigeria's northern Kaduna state, works to adapt teaching methods and materials for nomadic communities. Course materials are translated into languages spoken by nomadic groups; nomadic teachers are selected to accompany and teach children on the move; schools are established along nomadic grazing paths – there are now some 2,200 such schools across the country.
Instruction is usually in Fulfulde – the language of the Fulani - but for the one million members of Nigeria's migrant fishing communities, who speak more than 30 languages between them, instructors are considering Pidgin English.
Course materials are also adapted – for instance by substituting Fulani names for text book characters so children can relate to them. Children can go from one school to the next, attending each for a few months at a time as the group moves from place to place. NCNE is keen to help pastoralists preserve their nomadic lifestyle and is piloting a project to teach via radio.
The project targets six states - Kaduna, Kano, Nassarwa, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe - starting with first-year primary school children and eventually covering all six years. NCNE is about to hire professional voiceover artists to record the first 90 lessons.
NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MASS LITERACY ADULT AND NON-FORMAL EDUCATION (NMEC), ABUJA
The major causes of adult illiteracy in Nigeria can be summarised as:
1. Problems in primary education (low enrolment rates, high dropout rates, inadequate facilities, poor teaching/learning materials, ir relevant curriculum);
2. Poor enrolment rates in adult literacy programmes;
3. High drop out rates linked both to economic problems which force adult learners to abandon classes in favour of income-generating activities and to problems relating directly to the adult literacy pro gramme such as lack of relevance, funding issues and low morale among adult literacy instructors;
4. Literacy instructors not properly trained in facilitation skills and gender awareness;
5. The exclusion of women from adult education programmes;
6. Higher drop-out rates among women due to irrelevant curricula and competing demands;
7. Poor access to adult education for "hard" to reach communities, such as nomads, fishermen and pastoralists;
8. Failure to sustain literacy rates due to poor resources, including equipment, material and teachers, donor dependency and a nega tive perceived value of education;
9. A poor literate environment that means that literacy skills are not maintained in the long term.
Adult education in Nigeria has a long history. As far back as the 14 th century, itinerant Islamic scholars and traders in the Muslim north of the country taught Arabic literacy through the study of the Koran. Later, Christian missionaries brought Western education to parts of southern and central Nigeria. This education, however, was essential ly selective and designed with the specific goal of becoming literate in order to study the scriptures. In the 20 th century, deliberate efforts were made by the British colonial government to provide some adult education in Nigeria. In its 1925 memorandum on Education Policy in British Tropical Africa, the British Colonial Office recommended the implementation of an adult education programme in African countries. Actual implementation of adult education in Nigeria started in 1944 (Omolewa, 1981) and by 1946 a national literacy programme was well under way, although due to poor implementation it had limited success.
Nigeria attained independence in 1960 and literacy efforts in Nigeria received a boost when UNESCO supported the establishment of an Adult Literacy Institute in Ibadan in 1965. In 1971 the Nigerian Na tional Council for Adult Education (NNCAE) was set up, becoming a "voice" for adult education practice in Nigeria. It recorded dramatic achievements within a short span of time, becoming a force to reckon with in terms of the planning, implementation and evaluation of adult and non-formal education programmes. In particular, the NNCAE played a leading role in driving aggressive campaigns and advocacy at government and university levels in order to ensure that adult educa tion programmes were included at all levels of the education system.
Since its inception the NNCAE has worked in collaboration with government and non-government agencies in Nigeria to:
A. Establish the Adult and Non-formal Education Unit in the Federal Ministry of Education in 1974
B. Establish Adult and Non-formal Education Agencies in all the states of the federation from 1980
C. Establish the National Mass Education Commission (NMEC) in 1990
D. Develop the Blueprint on Adult Education and Non-Formal Education and the Declaration of 1982–1992 as a National Mass Literacy Campaign; the Blueprint is still relevant in Nigeria today
E. Establish departments of adult education in federal universities
F. Develop a human resource base of experts in adult and non-formal education
G. Conduct annual national conferences/seminars where adult education experts and practitioners meet to discuss issues
H. Document research findings through its journal, Adult Education in Nigeria
I. Partner with international agencies in the promotion of adult and non-formal education
It was in the Third National Development Plan (1975-1980) that the Federal Government first made provision in real terms for adult education in the country. The plan proposed the establishment of Centres for Adult Education to run correspondence and adult education courses and to conduct research into various aspects of adult and non-formal education. In 1980 the Government of Kano State established the Kano State Agency for Mass Education. This was a historic mo ment for it was the first post–independence state government to go out of its way to set up an autonomous agency responsible for adult and non-formal education. The Kano State Agency made tremendous progress in adult literacy, winning UNESCO literacy awards in 1983 and 1990.
A great wind of change came in 1990 when the Federal Military Gov ernment established the National Commission for Mass Education (NMEC), responsible for the organisation, monitoring and assess ment of adult literacy practices in the country. The commission's activities are decentralised, with offices in the six geo-political zones of the country, the 36 states and all 774 local government areas. Coordination and supervision of literacy classes are the sole respon sibility of the local adult education officers, supervisors and literacy instructors. The minimum number of literacy classes expected in any local government is ten, with additional classes managed and funded by NGOs. Examinations are conducted on the basic competencies, reading, writing and numeracy. Life skills, which are central to all the literacy programmes, are also tested.
The Current Situation
Since 1999, when Nigeria returned to democracy, education has been a key sector in ongoing socio-economic reforms. The adoption of the Education for All (EFA) goals in Dakar brought a significant shift in the position of Nigeria on adult and non-formal education. Nigeria's 2004 National Policy on Education placed great emphasis on adult and non-formal education and focused on the education of marginalised groups, including nomads and migrants, girls and women, street chil dren and the disabled. As before, federal agencies are responsible for policy and for the implementation of adult and non-formal education.
The full and complete name under which this commission is known is National Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education. For practical exigencies however, it is referred to here simply as the National Mass Education Commission (NMEC).
The National Mass Education Commission was established through decree 17 of 25 June, 1990. Prior to this time, the Nigerian education system has begun to decay as mentioned earlier. While the future looked gloomy under such a situation for the youths who had no education, the whole Nigerian society was soon to be placed in the hands of an entire population of rulers who themselves would be as illiterate and as unenlightened as the youths that were denied education prior to 1990. A situation such as this was not difficult to imagine and expect because the children and youths that had no education in the 1980s would have grown into adult illiterates to whom the country would have, willy nilly, handed the reigns of power, there being no significant population of literate adults.
Having reflected on this foreseeable calamity, some thinkers and policy makers alerted the military government of the time on the necessity to take urgent steps to forestall the unfortunate consequences of such a situation to the nation. In positive response to this alert, the government put into motion a process which eventually led to the establishment of the Naional Mass Education Commission in 1990.
OBJECTIVES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE NATIONAL MASS EDUCATION COMMISSION
The commission was established basically to reduce, within its first few years of existence, the national rate of adult illiteracy in the first place and secondly, to put in place a mass educational structure that will not only continue in lowering the national rate of illiteracy but will prevent future rise in illiteracy in the country.
In general terms, the objectives assigned to the commission were the following:
1. Increasing awareness of the importance of literacy and soliciting the participation and cooperation of all persons in the task of literacy for all by the year 2000;
2. Developing literacy programmes for young people and adults with special attention to disadvantaged gropups like women, the disabled and rural settlers among others;
3. Mobilizing other social, economical and political sectors of public life in the task of eradicating illiteracy within the shortest possible time;
4. Eliminating disparities in access to education and reducing wastage;
5. Highlighting the impediments to implementing The Universal Primary Education Scheme and the Mass Expansion of Literacy by sensitizing public opinion on the need to surmount these obstacles;
6. Marshalling new resources and providing less expensive forms of education through improvement in the planning and management of education;
7. Promoting post-literacy activities so as to help create conditions conducive to the general fulfillment of the potentials of individuals;
8. Developing resource materials suitable for the realization of the new goals. (FME, 1990:4-5)
Consequently, the commission’s functions were made numerous. NMEC was mandated to:
a. Work in co-operation with all concerned to eradicate illiteracy in Nigeria
b. Design and promote strategies and programmes for the conduct and implementation of National Mass Literacy Campaign in consultation with appropriate agencies of the Federal and State Governments, the Universities and non-governmental agencies;
c. Monitor and co-ordinate activities relating to the National Mass Literacy Campaign in order to ensure rapid and successful eradication of illiteracy in Nigeria
d. Monitor and co-ordinate activities for the eradication of illiteracy in Africa and ensure the collection and dissemination of information on the implementation mass literacy programmes.
e. Organize in-service professional training courses for senior staff and operate training seminars for various levels of staff from government and non-governmental0 organizations.
f. Develop and disseminate teaching materials in distant education programmes aimed at primary school leavers as well as mass literacy adult and non-formal education personnel.
g. Request and receive from all Commissioners of Education in the States of the Federation and other mass literacy and adult education organizations throughout Nigeria, annual reports and data on their adult education programmes.
h. Conduct research in various fields such as curriculum development, learning and teaching methologies appropriate educational technologies motivation of learners and in structure and needs assessments
i. Organize annual conferences of Heads of Adult Education Departments in State Ministries, agencies and institutions of higher learning.
j. Organize writers’ workshops in order to develop and promote teaching and learning material in various languages especially for primers, for graded readers, including follow-up reading materials, posters, demonstration kits, package course audio-visual materials and flash cards;
k. Run national and international training workshops and seminars, and, also act as a co-ordinator and clearing house for national training for mass literacy, adult and non-formal education.
l. Organize conferences, workshops symposia, lectures and seminars on topical issues related to mass literacy, adult and non-formal education on a regular basis.
m. Serve as a general means of exchange of personnel information experience and materials on mass literacy, adult and non –formal education on a regular basis
n. Prescribe the manner and methods for integrating mass literacy, adult and non-formal system of education and for this purpose grant such necessary accreditation and integration.
o. Lay down equivalent standard and negotiate with relevant institutions the acceptance of the standard accreditation and integration
p. Commission special research programmes and pilot projects in mass literacy, adult and non-formal education in Nigeria.
q. Receive regular progress reports on the general situation on mass literacy, adult and non-formal education in Nigeria in relation to each national development plan.
r. Allocate fund from the Federal Government to relevant institutions on all recognized mass literacy, adult and non-formal education progremmes
s. Liaise with the institutions of higher learning in Nigeria and with international organizations on matters concerning mass literacy adult and non-formal education.
t. Motivate and mobilize people to participate in mass literacy adult and non-formal education programmes through the mass media, especially the mobile cinema.
u. Liaise with agencies concerned with nomadic education in order to accelerate the development of mass literacy adult and non-formal education.
v. Carry out such other activities as are conducive to the discharge of its functions under this decree.
DEFINITION OF LITERACY
Within the context of mass education, literacy implies the acquisition of reading, writing and numeracy skills first in the mother tongue and secondly in English language, the official language of the country.
The clients for mass literacy and education have been categorized into 3 groups, namely,
1. school aged children 6-11 years who are found outside the formal school;
2. adults and young people who are beyond school age but are yet to master the skills of reading, writing and numeracy;
3. school drop-out who are yet to acquire permanent literacy.
MASS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES
For the purpose of mass literacy and education, three educational programmes were adopted; these programmes include Basic Literacy, Functional Literacy and Remedial Education.
This is a programme which seeks to equip recipients with the skills of reading, writing and numeracy. These skills are first provided using the mother tongue or the language of the immediate environment of the recipient as the case may be; secondly, basic literacy is taught in the official language of Nigeria that is English.
This learning strategy tends to settle all psycho-linguistic and psychological difficulties associated with launching the African or Nigerian child and adult into learning foreign languages before mastering his mother tongue or language of the immediate environment. Naturally, a strategy such as this has the advantage of equipping the learner with basic communication skills moulded within the hollow of his environmental symbols and significance; this process in the final analysis tends to help the individual to develop a fast and masterful understanding of his environment.
Functional literacy programmes aim at equipping participants with skills which they may exploit for livelihood. Consequently, while literacy is taught, vocational training is emphasized. In accordance with findings in adult psychology, it is expected that a programme such as this will motivate learners to remain on adult educational programmes and to acquire both basic and functional skills for the purpose of improving their lives.
As the name implies, remedial education helps the individual to remedy past educational deficiencies. Numerous are they who prematurely leave the formal school system just to discover some time later that completion of a full cycle of this type of education is necessary if not imperative.
At this juncture, such persons search for centres that can help them complete schooling and pass examinations which they should have passed some years earlier. A frantic search for an appropriate remedial education centre usually becomes necessary when such learners are usually pass the age of formal schooling.