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UBEC’S NEW QUALITY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK: ADDING VALUE TO NIGERIA’S QUEST FOR QUALITY UBE DELIVERY


UBEC’S NEW QUALITY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK: ADDING VALUE TO NIGERIA’S QUEST FOR QUALITY UBE DELIVERY

UBEC’S NEW QUALITY ASSURANCE FRAMEWORK: ADDING VALUE TO NIGERIA’S QUEST FOR QUALITY UBE DELIVERY

The renewed commitment of the Federal Government and the current Management of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to the improvement of basic education delivery processes across the country is yielding desirable results and paving way for the institutionalization of meaningful interventions for better service delivery. Ranging from prudent resource utilization, improved system governance and result oriented oversight functions, UBEC is creating the much-needed conducive atmosphere as well as providing the necessary leadership and technical support to grassroots organs towards ensuring success in basic education programme implementation.

A major step in this regard is the recent unveiling of the newly introduced Quality Assurance Framework to State partners at a 2-day Meeting of UBEC Management with Directors of Quality Assurance from the 36 State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) and FCT Universal Basic Education Board (FCT UBEB), UBEC Zonal Directors and State Coordinators as well as UBEC Quality Assurance Committee Resource Persons. This strategic meeting which held at Quarter House Hotel, Malali G.R.A., Kaduna, Kaduna State from 9th to 10th January, 2019, provided an opportunity for presenting the newly developed Quality Assurance Framework to State partners. Being the second of such attempt at engaging state level actors and bringing them up to speed on the new quality assurance thinking, the Kaduna meeting signaled a new beginning in UBEC’s strides towards harnessing UBE inputs and processes in a manner that ensures the attainment of maximum impact in programme implementation.

The Quality Assurance Framework takes its roots from the National Policy on Education which specifies that quality assurance should be instituted at all levels of the education system. The framework is also in line with UBEC’s mandate for setting and maintaining high standards in all aspects of UBE delivery. Important considerations in this regard include basic education delivery personnel, curricular, physical and instructional infrastructure as well as the processes deployed for harnessing each resource.

As indicated by Dr. Yakubu Gambo, UBEC Deputy Executive Secretary (Services) while declaring the meeting open, UBEC and its partners are determined to put in place appropriate modalities for effectively harnessing the various UBE inputs. The high ranking UBEC official further maintained that the developed framework addresses specific concerns relating to how UBE service delivery is supervised especially at the State and LGEA level and will lead to improved quality assurance in UBE programme implementation. The shared experiences on exemplary States’ monitoring activities and suggestions by participants all served to inform participants at the meeting of new approaches that can be adopted especially at the school and SUBEB level in ensuring quality inputs, processes and outcomes in UBE programme implementation. Using empirically developed and tested templates, the meeting identified key challenges that inhibit quality assurance in UBE delivery including lack of budgetary allocation for quality assurance activities and low capacity of quality assurance personnel. Importantly, UBEC used the opportunity offered by the meeting to inform participants of Federal Government’s allocation of specific funds for UBE Quality Assurance.

Earmarking 2% of UBEC’s operational fund for quality assurance is a fundamental step towards improving the funding arrangement and ensuring the institutionalization of a robust, functional, comprehensive, sustainable, effective, and efficient quality assurance system at the SUBEB and LGEA levels. The newly instituted funding arrangement seeks to empower quality assurance personnel at all levels in the conduct of quality assurance related field work. 10 – 20 percent of the Quality Assurance fund is expected to be utilized for strengthening Quality Assurance Departments at SUBEBs and LGEAs, 20 – 35 percent is to be used for empowering quality assurance personnel while 50 – 60 percent is designated to be expended on the purchase of monitoring vehicles and related issues.

The renewed interest and commitment to reinvigorating the quality assurance process in the basic education sub-sector through the well thought out framework and improved funding is bound to impact positively on all aspects of school life. Ultimately, this will complement other efforts geared towards ensuring that competitive standards are attained and sustained in UBE delivery.

There are sufficient reasons to be optimistic that this new quality assurance initiative will enliven and set UBEC and its State partners on the right path in their efforts at monitoring, assessing, evaluating, reporting and taking positive steps towards enhancing UBE quality assurance mechanism. Firstly, this renewed quality assurance drive is the outcome of deliberations by an expert Committee set up by UBEC for this purpose and chaired by no other person than a very accomplished academic and one-time Acting UBEC Executive Secretary, Prof. Charles Onocha. Secondly, critical stakeholders including heads of basic education agencies at the State level have reviewed and applauded the provisions contained in the new framework. Finally, the UBEC Governing Board has thrown its weight behind the new quality assurance thinking by granting express approval for the allocation of specific resources for its implementation. Consequently, UBEC Quality Assurance personnel, their State and LGEA counterparts are delighted at the new development and have pledged to work assiduously towards attaining the objective of instituting and sustaining quality inputs, processes and outcomes in basic education delivery.

Perhaps it is important to emphasize that the basic education sector requires much more than nice frameworks, efficient resourcing and committed personnel. While all these are nonetheless very important, it should also be noted that the support of stakeholders, especially school level actors is crucial to the attainment of the noble objectives of the new quality assurance framework as this is a deserving compliment to government’s efforts.

It therefore behooves basic education stakeholders particularly system administrators at the State and LGEA level, school heads, teachers and other members of the school/community to brace up for proactive collaboration with UBEC in its bid to reinvigorate the process of enhancing the various inputs and processes that are critical to the attainment of the full objectives of the UBE programme.

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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.
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