It is worrisome that some states in the country have failed to access the federal government’s UBE matching grants thus making it difficult for their people to access quality primary education. Apart from Rivers state and Borno state, other states in the country and the FCT have failed to access a total of N58.61bn UBE matching grants from the federal government.
Some of these states or most of them have extremely low quality primary education, especially in the north as well as the south west. Government primary schools in the south west are nothing to write home about. Citizens in the south west prefer to send their wards to private schools rather than government schools. Especially at the primary education level.
An insider working with a government primary school in Lagos laments the state of government primary schools in the state. She stated that the number of students per teacher ratio in government primary schools is outrageous. She claimed that in a classroom, you have so much students making it difficult for the teachers to handle them as well as putting pressure on the education facilities available.
This is also not different from what happens in other states of the federation. There is no government primary school that is a flagship of what the ideal is meant to be. This also shows in the category of people who sends their wards to government schools. Usually they are people who cannot afford proper and quality education in private schools or call them the wretched of the earth.
This is however one of the reasons why the UBE matching grants was established to address this fundamental problem, yet some of these states have failed to fully access the funds. It is difficult to access the funds because some of them failed to meet up with the criteria. They must provide a counterpart funding before accessing the matching grants.
It is the provision of the counterpart funding that makes it difficult for some of them to get the matching grants. But this is not supposed to be a problem if states were to make education a priority, because even the matching grants made available is not enough to provide the necessary education infrastructure needed to leapfrog the country out of the present quagmire facing the education sector.
There were even unconfirmed reports that some states go to banks to get their counterpart funding in other to access the matching grants, after which they return the loan and then embezzle the matching grants.
But first and foremost, it is important that states consider funding education an emergency, and then begin to access whatever funding available for that purpose, especially the UBE funds, because eventually, a country does not grow beyond the quality of minds it churns out.