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Gbenga Daniel Advocates Reforms for Primary Education Under Local Government Control

Former governor of Ogun State and now serving senator, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has expressed concern over the state of primary education in Nigeria, advocating for its control under local government administration. He believes that local governments, with full financial autonomy, are best suited to manage primary education in the country.

Daniel voiced this position in Lagos at a recent retreat organized by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for members of the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education. As the chairman of the retreat, themed “Basic Education Implementation in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges, and Way Forward,” he emphasized that basic education would be more effectively managed if local governments were in charge.

“We should allow the local government to run basic education, especially at the primary school level, while the state should completely hand off other roles and rather concentrate on secondary education,” Daniel stated.

He identified several issues and challenges that need to be addressed to advance the subsector, including lack of access, poor infrastructure, a shortage of competent teachers and instructional materials, an obsolete curriculum, inadequate funding, high teacher/student ratios, limited access to technology, and societal and cultural barriers. Daniel emphasized that local governments are better equipped to tackle these issues.

The executive secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, highlighted the importance of a comprehensive review of the challenges facing basic education in the country to develop a practicable and enduring solution. He specifically mentioned the UBEC Act, noting that the 20-year-old legislation is overdue for revision to align with current global best practices in basic education, ensuring free and quality education for all Nigerian children.

Dr. Bobboyi underscored that now is the opportune moment for this review, especially as the country strives to overcome economic challenges.

In his remarks, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Lawal Usman, expressed the committee’s commitment to charting a new course for basic education in Nigeria. He also emphasized the need to revisit the 2004 UBEC Act, promising that the retreat would address major issues in the document, relate them to emerging trends in the subsector, and develop practical recommendations for the way forward.

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