Education National News Nigeria

FG engages religious leaders to conduct census of basic schools

Chairman of 2022 NPA National Planning Committee, Professor Bala Zakari addressing guests at the meeting.

The Federal Government has tasked traditional rulers and religious leaders in the country to join forces with the Government in efforts to reduce the high rate of out-of-school children estimated at 10.5 million and myriads of other challenges besetting basic education in the country.

The Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Hamid Bobboyi said this in Abuja at a one-day consultative meeting of 2022 National Personnel Audit (NPA) with religious leaders on modalities for the conduct of NPA in all basic education institutions in Nigeria.

The first phase of the school census exercise will commence on Monday, June 6, in the southern part of the country.

Dr Bobboyi, who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary (Services), Dr Isiaka Kolawole acknowledged the key role being played by traditional rulers and religious leaders in the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) in the country, urging them to continue to collaborate with the government in addressing the challenge of out-of-school children.

He charged them to, at the same time, ensure that quality basic education is delivered to the citizenry.

He appealed to the religious leaders, many of whom he observed have many schools across the country, to support the NPA exercise, saying dearth of data on basic education has remained a major challenge to its implementation in Nigeria, with education planners and decision-makers having to make do with data that is not up-to-date or outrightly falsified.

“We are in the process of conducting another personnel audit of all educational institutions in the country, offering full or elements of basic education,” he said.

“This is for the purpose of collecting school data on enrolment, personnel, and facilities, among others.

“The importance of up-to-date, accurate and reliable data in the planning and implementation of educational programmes cannot be over-emphasised.

“Data enables us to plan effectively towards systematic achievement of the educational objectives, track progress made, identify the strengths and weaknesses of implementation strategies, and form the basis for making informed decisions.”

Deputy Executive Secretary (Technical), UBEC, and chairman of 2022 NPA National Planning Committee, Professor Bala Zakari, solicited for the cooperation of religious leaders, especially in the area of mass mobilisation and sensitisation of the heads of their various schools nationwide, in readiness for the exercise.

Speaking at the consultative meeting, the Secretary-General of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Joseph Daramola, decried the “gradual erosion” of the nation’s cherished values and morals in schools, with examination malpractice becoming a norm in many schools across the country.

He said it was unfortunate that oexam malpractice was no longer exclusive to students, but included parents and teachers as well.

He urged government and regulatory authorities to be firm on issues of discipline.

Reporting by Hussain Hassan; Editing by Daniel Adejo and Tony Okerafor