By Felix Khanoba
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) says its newly introduced Open Schooling Programme (OSP) will change the shape of the nation’s education system for the better by ensuring the mop-up of out-of-school children in the country.
Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, stated this in Kaduna at the opening of a two-day meeting with stakeholders, content developers, and centre mangers on expected roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the OSP.
Represented by UBEC’s Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Tokumbo Onosode, Bobboyi described OSP as a “flexible education system that allow learners to learn where they are and when they want, away from conventional schools and teachers.”
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria, the UBEC boss explained that the programme had no age restriction and would adopt several teaching methods but with emphasis on Information and Communication Technology as a tool for learning.
Bobboyi said the overall goal is to provide educational opportunities for children and youth whose learning needs are not being met by conventional schools.
“It will also enhance access to quality and functional education for marginalised and disadvantaged groups in the country.
“It will also assist in the attainment of 100 per cent transition rate from primary to junior secondary school.
“The programme will equally provide a second chance for drop-outs and will help in meeting the changing needs of children and youths through the provision of functional vocational education.
“This will significantly complement efforts in the reduction and eradication of the menace of out-of-school as well as gender and social inequalities in education.”
He said that the programme would be implemented in six pilot states, namely, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Adamawa and Niger states.
He said that OSP was open to children and youth who have never been to school, those who have dropped out of school and those in school but were not learning.
Mr Bobboyi pointed out that the country was still grappling with the menace of out-of-school children in millions, along with numerous challenges affecting the basic education sector.
He added that the sector was also faced with poor learning environment; inadequate learning materials; and a dearth of qualified, competent and motivated teachers, while many communities did not have schools.
“These, along with the increasing number of out-of-school children roaming the streets, prompted UBEC to adopt the OSP in collaboration with Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and other stakeholders.’’
He said that the meeting was organised to sensitise the centre managers and content developers about the programme and their expected roles and responsibilities.
Also speaking, the Director of Social Mobilisation, Bello Kagara, said that the success of the programme would largely depend on massive mobilisation of the people to seize the opportunity to acquire basic education.