Bill To Increase UBEC Funding Passes Second Reading

The House of Representatives has passed a bill seeking to amend the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act, aiming to double its funding allocation from the consolidated revenue, elevating it from 2 per cent to 4 per cent. This significant move marks progress in enhancing support for basic education in Nigeria.

Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Bako Useni, revealed this development during the committee’s oversight function at the Digital Resource Centre constructed by UBEC in Abuja. The center serves as a crucial facility for training teachers in digital education methods across Nigeria.

Useni emphasized the rationale behind the proposed amendment, indicating that the 10th Assembly recognized the imperative to bolster financial resources allocated to the basic education sub-sector. Consequently, the bill sponsored by Muktar Shagaya seeks to augment UBEC’s revenue share to 4 per cent, aligning with the aspiration to further fulfill the sector’s objectives.

The initiative to increase UBEC’s funding underscores a concerted effort by lawmakers to prioritize and fortify the foundational pillars of education, ensuring equitable access to quality learning resources and opportunities for all children across the nation.

“The amended bill, which passed the second reading on Wednesday, when concluded, will make UBEC stronger.

“Since UBEC was established in 2004, to date, a lot has been achieved. However, the House felt that if UBEC is motivated with more funding, it will go a long way in achieving more of what it has achieved.

“It was on this basis that one of us, Honourable Mukhtar Shagaya, proposed an amendment to the UBEC Act to increase funding to UBEC from 2 per cent to 4 per cent from the Consolidated Revenue Fund,” he said.

Useni further said the committee is happy with the Digital Resource Centre built by UBEC, as it has always been the desire of the committee to ensure that newer dimensions are introduced to the basic education sector in Nigeria.

“It is going to bring a new approach to basic education in Nigeria. It is going to improve teachers’ training and content,” he said.

According to him, the committee will ensure continuous oversight functions for the sustainability of the Digital Resource Centre, like all others under its mandate.

“We have also assured the centre of our collaboration and support through budget allocations and oversight functions to make sure that whatever funds are provided are used for the betterment of Nigerians.

“We will continue to visit to monitor the kind of training that is being given to our teachers and other resource persons because it is a centre for Nigeria to develop its education sector,” he added.

The Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Hameed Bobboyi, said the centre is an effort to move digital education in Nigeria to the next level, stressing that it was gladdening to have taken the House Committee members on a tour of the facilities of the centre, which include the Digital Museum, Library, Artificial Intelligence Centre, studio, micro-labs, lecture halls, and accommodation, among others.

“It is fruitful to bring the honourable members to come and see what UBEC is doing in the area of digital education in the basic education sub-sector of the country.

“The facility will ensure that our teachers are trained in the new pedagogy. We have brought in many teachers, school administrators, and quality assurance officers.

“For them to understand what digital learning is and also to prepare them to be real participants and not just copycats in the class, where they can develop their digital resources and also take advantage of digital resources already on ground.

“This is an experiment that we have started and we believe that it will be a game changer in our basic education sub-sector,” he said.

He said the digital resource centre will coordinate the smart schools spread across the country to aid digital learning in the nation, adding that it will also be used to reshape those in the senior and management cadres of the basic education sub-sector.

The National Coordinator of the Digital Resource Centre, Professor Bashir Galandanci, said the Digital Resource Centre is part of the effort of the commission to transform the agency into a digital era.