An Examination Of The Implementation And Challenges Of Universal Basic Education Programme In Nigeria

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An Examination Of The Implementation And Challenges Of Universal Basic Education Programme In Nigeria

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Enrollment into and completing of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program allows for the development of basic literacy and arithmetic abilities as outlined in the National Policy on Education (NPE). It also results in good behavioral changes that benefit the family, society, and nation (FGN, 2004). The completion of basic education benefits students by broadening their horizons. It offers chances for self-development throughout the rest of one’s life. It also contributes to stronger families, improved health for both parents and students, and participation in governance (World Bank, 2012 cited in Kane, 2004).

On September 9, 1976, Obasanjo’s military regime implemented the Universal Primary Education (UPE) program. This initiative, which began with zeal and great hopes of solving the country’s perceived socioeconomic needs, crashed and burned halfway through. Financial issues, insufficient proficient teachers, class sizes, narrow curriculum content, shift in family structure, absenteeism, residential location, cultural variation, and a high rate of drop-out were cited as reasons for its failure (Omotayo, Ihebereme, and Maduewesi 2008). According to Jaiyeoba (2007), low enrollment increase, teachers shortage, insufficient infrastructure, insufficient financing, and a poor family background, among other factors, contributed to the UPE program’s failure.

It should be recognized that education suffered significant neglect in the years after the demise of the UPE system. This exacerbated decay in the educational system, particularly at the basic education level, to the point where illiteracy was outrageously high, teachers were poorly trained and motivated, infrastructure was in disrepair, school drop-out was increasing at an alarming rate, and funding for basic education in particular remained inadequate (Tahir, 2003).

Many Nigerians breathed a sigh of relief on September 30, 1999, when the democratic administration of Obasanjo established the Universal Basic Education (UBE) project in an effort to remedy the aforementioned problems. The curriculum, which was designed in accordance with the National Policy on Education’s 6-3-3-4 framework, now has a 9-3-4 structure. Basic education consists of nine (9) years of continuous, free, and obligatory education, of which six (6) years are spent in primary school and three (3) years in junior secondary school. Its primary goal is to eliminate illiteracy, ignorance, and poverty while also promoting and speeding national growth, political consciousness, and national integration.

According to the Implementation Guidelines (FRN, 2000), the objectives of the UBE include: developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for education and a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion; providing free, universal basic education to every Nigerian child of school-going age; and drastically reducing the incidence of dropout from the formal school system.

In order to attain the program’s aims, concerted efforts were required to counteract the elements that were known to have hampered the program’s goals. Despite the fact that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program’s aims are admirable and that well-thought-out procedures have been put in place to achieve these objectives, the expected impact has yet to be realized.

It seems incomprehensible that millions of children still lack access to basic education after many years of the program’s inception, despite the federal government’s commitment to its success. This dismal record was ascribed to insufficient and inequitable access, low student learning attainment, a lack of accountability and transparency in the use of education funding, an acute scarcity of qualified instructors, infrastructure degradation and shortage, a poorly motivated, ill-equipped, and inexperienced teaching staff, and insufficient instructional resources (UBEC, 2008).

With the aforementioned examples, as well as countless more not recorded in this study, there is no denying that the basic education sub-sector is in a very bad position that requires immediate remedial remedies. Many governmental policies and programs in Nigeria perform poorly in terms of achieving their stated objectives, owing mostly to implementation failure. In light of the foregoing, the purpose of this research is to investigate the implementation and problems of Nigeria’s universal basic education program.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The UBE program faces significant hurdles at both the federal and state levels. The inability to appropriate funds for a program remains the most significant impediment to its execution (McDelat, 2013). This is especially the case for the financing of UBE in Nigeria between 1999 and 2000. Another barrier to the successful execution of the UBE scheme or program is a lack of appropriate planning on the part of the government, and other stakeholders (UNESCO, 2000). Faulty census exercises are one example of poor planning. Almost all of Nigeria’s censuses, whether before or after independence, have been plagued by huge anomalies (Oni, 2008). The dropout rate in elementary school is another concern, given the scheme’s goals of providing education to all school-aged children. As a result, the primary goal of this research is to investigate the implementation and problems of Nigeria’s universal basic education program. Furthermore, if appropriately handled, the elements highlighted for reinforcement in the preceding paragraph will almost certainly result in a large percentage of the program’s stated objectives being met. Among these identified factors, the teacher factor, infrastructure, textbooks/instructional materials, and improved funding, insufficient competent teachers, overcrowded classrooms, narrow curriculum content, changes in family structure, absenteeism, residential location, cultural variation, and high drop-out rate are critical to the success of any education program.

It is important to remember, however, that it is one thing to present a program with lofty implementation techniques and another thing to successfully implement it. Perhaps the aforementioned problems were not successfully addressed during implementation, resulting in the bad state of affairs in our basic education sub-sector.

The importance of the basic education sub-sector in our educational system cannot be overstated, since it serves as the basis for all subsequent levels of education. As a result, its failure entails the collapse of the entire educational system. The current inadequate status of basic education in the country, despite advances in other sectors of education, is consequently alarming and need immediate corrective action.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

Generally, this study examines the implementation and challenges of universal basic education programme in Nigeria. The study expands to the following specific objectives;

  1. Identify the purposes for the introduction of UBE in Nigeria
  2. Ascertain the factors affecting the effective implementation UBE in Nigeria.
  3. Determine if the identifiable challenges contributes to the rate of pupils dropout in primary schools.
  4. Identify the possible solutions to the identified challenges.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following questions;

  1. What is the purpose for the introduction of UBE in Nigeria?
  2. What are the factors affecting the effective implementation UBE in Nigeria?
  3. Does those challenges contribute to the rate of pupils dropout in primary schools?
  4. What are the possible solutions to the identified challenges?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study would provide information on the status of management and challenges on the UBE programme at the primary school level. This information would be useful to policy makers and education managers as it would most likely provide the basis upon which decisions can be taken to address the inadequacies in key areas like provision of teachers, infrastructural facilities, textbooks/instructional materials and funding.

The role of the teachers as the implementers of the UBE programme cannot be over-emphasized and the need to motivate them to perform their tasks optimally is very vital. It is hoped that this study would also be beneficial to the teachers as recommendations towards their welfare, training, retraining, improved infrastructure and instructional materials were made, where necessary, to boost their productivity.

The recommendations based on the findings of this study, would create an environment conducive to learning, both in terms of human and material resources provision. In this respect, students would benefit as there is bound to be improved quality education delivery.

Primary education, which comprises the lower and middle basic levels of the UBE programme, is the foundation of the nation’s educational system. This implies that the success of the other levels of education depends on it. Hence, studies to address the challenges facing the primary level of education are by extension, studies to improve the entire educational system. Ultimately, therefore, the findings and recommendations of this study, if implemented, would assist in developing a credible and sustainable educational system in Kano State.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study will basically focus on the evaluation of the challenges mitigating the implementation of universal basic education in Nigeria. However, the study will examine the reasons why the universal basic education was introduced in Nigeria, determine if the challenges contribute to the rate of pupils dropout in primary schools, and prove the possible solutions to the identified challenges.

The respondents for this study will be obtained from Kano State Universal Basic Education Board.

1.7. Limitations of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.8 Definitions of Terms


Transmission of fundamental knowledge to all facets of the Nigerian society from generation to generation


Some constraint which affects the success rate of the UBE programme in the Local Government include payment of staff salaries, in arrears, non-completion of new constructions and schools rehabilitation, insufficient teachers guide which are faced by policies.


Translation of government policies and programmes regarding UBE into reality.


Getting things done throughout people’s effort by Federal State and Local Government.

An Examination Of The Implementation And Challenges Of Universal Basic Education Programme In Nigeria

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An Examination Of The Implementation And Challenges Of Universal Basic Education Programme In Nigeria


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