Dr Adamu Jatau Noma is the Director of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB). In this chat with newsmen recently, Noma spoke on the commitment of the Board to ensure quality education both in the urban and rural areas, among other issues, ABBANOBI-EKU ONYEKA was there.
On the most important foundation to hand down to children, Noma said there is no substitute for quality education, hence, he said the Board is ever committed to achieve the goal.
The UBEB boss, who commended the efforts of government in supporting quality education, appealed for more funds to enable the Board to do more.
“The government should be commended for support. That has been the magic behind our performance. I want to inform you that FCT UBEB has done a lot last year. In the area of infrastructures, we have provided and renovated a number of classrooms; we have provided instructional materials; we are neither owing teachers’ salaries, nor allowances; we have taken care of teachers’ promotions, as well as released their promotion lists and they are happy and; our relationship with our communities is cordial.”
Speaking on the programme rolled out to boost school attendance and learning, the FCT UBEB boss said feeding of primary one to three pupils will commence in FCT’s schools in 2019. He however, called on parents to be supportive to their children by ensuring that they are regular and punctual in school.
On the insinuations in some quarters that public schools in the city centre enjoy more attention from the Board than those in the rural areas, Noma said such belief was baseless.
“We make extra time for our schools at the rural villages for them to compete favourably with their counterparts in the city, as well as with their equivalents anywhere.
“We have concentrated so much in rural areas, to make all our rural schools child-friendly. We don’t discriminate at all. We give equitable treatment to all our schools, so that what is happening in the urban area is also happening in the rural area. So we give equitable attention, whether they are in rural, sub-urban or urban centres. We treat them equally, irrespective of location,” he said.
Under the universal basic education system, education had been declared free from primary to junior secondary schools by the government. But a clear study has however shown that parents still pay some levies, which looks like the free compulsory education is not entirely free.
When the Director’s attention was drawn to that area, he said: “Universal Basic Education Services are very free and compulsory, but however, providing education is the responsibility of all. The implication is while government is making the education free, the parents should also contribute to make it free to the child.
“As I said earlier, feed your child well, give your child good school uniform, give your child good sandals and give him or her instructional materials expected of you to make the child happy to go to school. Don’t hesitate to buy first aid box for your child.
“That is why associations such as Parent Teachers Association (PTA) exist to help the children and the school provide some of the things that the school is in dire need at a particular time. If the borehole is bad, one or two roofing sheets are bad and other sundry issues, you don’t need to wait for the government. So, if a parent wants to do something that will benefit his or her child in the school, he can do it. You need not wait for government,” he opined.
When asked on the level of discipline in the teaching profession, he said the days when teachers came to schools to sell goods are gone. According to him, there is discipline in the teaching profession.
Each school, according to him is directed to register vendors who come to the school to sell. The Director therefore maintained that any teacher seen in such act would be dealt with accordingly.
He informed that they make time to go from one school to the other to supervise schools to ensure that teachers come to school regularly and punctually. In that area, he commended FCT teachers, but he was quick to add that due to inadequate provision of social amenities in the rural areas, as well as distance to schools could hinder some teachers’ efforts in meeting up with their obligations.
“Our teachers in the rural areas are trying. Though you may have one or two cases where you have indiscipline by going to school late. Before surcharging such teacher, you should find out why he or she comes late to school. You will find out that in some communities, you hardly get a room, not to talk of other facilities such as bore holes, roads, regular electricity supplies, among others.
“Such teacher would resort to getting accommodation in a place where you can get some of these facilities, irrespective of distance. That is why other sectors should integrate rural development in order to get some of these facilities like roads, among others. With social amenities, teachers would be in the villages and do their works as expected. Due to lack of amenities, other agencies have left rural areas, with the exception of the teachers and schools. Let the teachers be hailed for such performance,” he said.
On promoting access to education, Dr Adamu Jatau Noma, said nomadic education has also received a boost.
“We have nomadic school in Kugbo, Lugbe, Karamajiji, City Gate, Apo and Durumi. The students of the school respond seriously. I want you to know that the school is meant for nomadic people like the Fulanis