Nigeria experiencing severe learning crisis — UBEC

According to Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Nigeria is going through a serious learning crisis that has to be addressed right away.

Speaking on Monday in Abuja at a two-day stakeholder “Dialogue on Reading Initiative in the UBE Programme and the Use of Mother Tongue/Language of Immediate Environment as Medium of Instruction,” Bobboyi emphasised that Nigeria will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if the learning crisis is not addressed right away.

The boss of UBEC cited a report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to indicate that approximately three out of four Nigerian children between the ages of 6 and 14 who are in basic education are unable to solve simple maths problems or read a text.

For this reason, he asked stakeholders in the dialogue to be open and honest in their discussions and to develop solutions that will benefit UBEC and all stakeholders involved in improving the situation.

“Several interventions by the Federal Government, State Governments and International Development Partners have been made to address the endemic issue. However, despite the huge resources expended, the challenge remains.

“Several factors, such as lack of access to instructional materials, especially on the language of the immediate environment, poor teaching quality, insufficient parental guidance and lackadaisical attitude of States towards implementing the language policy on the use of mother tongue/ language of immediate environment as medium of instruction in the lower classes in Basic Education, are responsible for this.

“It should be stated that fundamental learning is critical to the development of productive citizenship, sustainable development, national cohesion, as well as peace and prosperity. The call for dialogue on these important issues cannot therefore be overemphasized,” he said.

According to him, “UBEC is concerned about the Learning Crisis but we are undaunted by the challenge and that is why we are confronting the situation. One of our strategies is harvesting ideas from stakeholders and using them to prepare roadmaps for turning things around.”

The National Language Policy should be put into effect, as stated in a keynote address given by Prof. Ismail Junaidu, Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC).