Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has urged the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and Federal Ministry of Education to improve the mechanism for school monitoring and evaluation of projects in order to promote qualitative education in the country.
Governor Fayemi made the statement, when the Chairman of the Committee on Basic Education, Prof Julius Ihonvbere led other members of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic education on a courtesy visit to the Governor’s Office in Ado Ekiti.
The Committee as part of its oversight function were in the State to inspect basic schools and ensure that funds released by Federal Government for execution of projects were judiciously utilized.
The Governor, also informed the Committee on the need for Federal Government to suspend counterpart funding as part of basic requirements for States to access Federal Government UBEC funding.
Dr Fayemi, who explained that the backlogs of funds domiciled in the UBEC account was a function of the inability of some States to raise counterpart fund to access it. He added that the process if successful would enable States take more accelerated actions that would substantially improve the condition of schools and quality of learning received by students.
Governor Fayemi said: “It is necessary to step down counterpart funding in order for States to access the money that is just sitting there and the president has agreed with us. That would enable States take more accelerated actions on schools but it will now be more of a programme for results arrangement rather than counterpart funding arrangement.
“I know how important this Committee is, I want to plead with you to really continue to impress it on the Universal Basic Education Commission and the Federal Ministry of Education to pay more attention to the quality of education and to the monitoring and evaluation exercise.”
Stressing the need to get school environment safe and secured, Dr Fayemi noted that it is the responsibility of government to ensure that the security of schools goes beyond the traditional measure of installing perimeter fencing to adopting more effective measures that would guarantee safety of student particular at a time the country is faced with security challenges.
The Governor, as requested by the committee, promised to continue to lend national voice to campaign against out of school children in the country.
He explained how his administration in two years had been able to improve students’ enrollment in both basic and secondary schools in the State through free and compulsory education and the enactment of the Child Right Act which prohibits school age children from walking on the street during school hours without genuine reasons.
Earlier in his remarks, Professor Julius Ihonvbere said the committee was in the State as part of its constitution responsibility to assess the extent to which States utilized the federal government grants provided to them through UBEC.
He commended the Fayemi led administration for injecting passion and commitment to reposition and refocus Basic Education in the State as against what it was known for during the previous administration.
He said, “Giving that we are very conversant with the distorted legacy inherited by the governor in the area of basic education, we are satisfied that there is passion, there is commitment, there is focus, there is burning desire to protect our children and ensure they get the best in basic education.”