Ebonyi UBEB, DIG Foundation, Youthhub Africa, and other Stakeholders have Converged In Abakaliki, to chart a new Path for the Growth and Development Of Education through Community Inclusion in the Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board Action Plan for 2024.
This took place during a two-day community dialogue meeting which took place at the UBEB headquarters, in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital at the instance of Youthhub-Africa, under the Accountability for Good Governance in Education (AGGE) Cluster project, funded by USAID-Palladium.
The community dialogue was hosted by the cluster member organization, Development and Integrity Intervention Goals (DIG) Foundation in collaboration with the State Universal Basic Education Board.
Heads of education from the communities at the meeting submitted their school priority needs for inclusion in the action plan.
The submission of the school needs is to improve the Educational sector in the three Senatorial zones of Ebonyi state.
In her opening remarks, Patience Ogodo, UBEB chairman, noted that providing quality education to Ebonyi people is a priority to Gov Francis Nwifuru and urged the stakeholders especially the education authority secretaries in the various council areas to support the governor to achieve the goal.
Ogodo commended the National Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for adding value to the functions of the SUBEB in the states.
She further commended USAID for interventions in the state.
On his part, the UBEB board Secretary, Livinus Ezeuwa said that the Board has it as its priority to improve school infrastructure as well as check absenteeism and truancy through effective supervision.
Oliver Aja team lead for Ebonyi Cluster and Executive Director, of DIG Foundation, in his remarks said the organizations already had an advocacy relationship with the State Ministry of Finance and assured that the outcome of the meetings would be taken into consideration in the State” 2024 Budget.
Aja called on all stakeholders to join hands towards ensuring that funds meant for UBEB are well appropriated for the benefit of basic education across the State.
The traditional ruler of Okposhi Umuoghara in Ezza North LGA, Ezeogo Anthony Njoku, and others in their submissions observed that decision on school projects by the government without involving the host communities who are the end users does not, most often, address the real needs of the community schools.
They identified poor school infrastructure, inadequate supervision, and lack of school furniture and instructional materials as some of the impediments to basic education in the State.
The stakeholders urged UBEB to provide in the action plan, the construction of adequate and conducive classroom blocks, furniture, sporting facilities, and increased instructional materials.
The Board was also asked to increase provision for effective supervision to check truancy, absenteeism, and other vices among teachers and pupils.
Goodness Mgbaja from the CSO community called for gender inclusion in the project pointing out that nobody should be left behind.
Speaking to newsmen the Program Officer, of Education, for Youthhub Africa, Peter Ogah, explained that the dialogue aimed to bring Community members into the project, (ownership of the project) to gather the school needs that are of priority to them.
He said the community taking ownership of the project will help to achieve the goal.
“Youthhub understands that the usual case before now is for the education secretaries to just go around, however they decide, collect school needs, and bring them to UBEB.
“But we want a system whereby it is institutionalized and allowed for community members to be effectively involved in the process so that they will be able to also organize school needs that are of priority to them into the action plan that UBEB implements annually.
“The expectation is that the school’s needs that the community stakeholders will submit will find their way to the document that UBEB will develop as its action plan for the year, which is technically speaking, the budget that UBEB runs with.
“In other words, the Community members should be involved in the budgeting process, and this is the strategic way of getting them involved in deciding how much goes into the UBEB events and what such resources should be utilized for.”