The Federal Government has said that Universal Basic Education will do “everything humanly possible” to strengthen early childhood education in the states.
PUNCH reports that UBEC, a Federal Government agency under the Federal Ministry of Education, is mandated to formulate and coordinate all programs related to the Universal Basic Education program and also to prescribe minimum standards for basic education in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, basic education is mainly under the control of state governments.
The UBEC law requires state governments to pay a mandatory 50 percent matching fund to access annual Federal Government interventions.
In a statement made available to our correspondent to fly the banner of the National Awareness Campaign for Out-of-School Children Nationwide, Minister of State for Education Nanah Opiah highlighted some of the factors that deny children access to initial education by saying: “The Federal Government through the instrumentality of Universal Basic Education is doing everything humanly possible to assist the states in the matter of initial education.
Some of the factors that impede our children’s access to early education are extreme poverty, lack of knowledge and access to education, among others.
The awareness, said the Minister, is designed “to guarantee the massive enrollment of children in basic and primary schools and must be taken seriously by all stakeholders, adding that it is a moral and legal obligation, compliance with which will guarantee the future of the children and by necessary implication, the Nation”.
Citing the case of Bayelsa state, the minister praised successive state administrations for the special attention given 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 large enrollment in the state’s schools.
The minister said that no parent in Bayelsa state has an excuse for keeping their child out of school.