(Participants at the sensitisation training for media executives organised by LEADS-Nigeria in Kaduna on Monday)
In order to enhance reportage on the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)’ projects and public procurement process in Kaduna State, a non-governmental organisation, Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW) on Monday began aggressive sensitisation of media executives on how to mainstream UBEC/SUBEB funding into reportage.
At the engagement meeting held at a hotel in Kaduna on Monday, the Executive Director, LANW also known as LEADS-Nigeria, Barrister Rebecca Sako-John told the attendees that, the meeting became necessary to sensitise them who will in turn step down the training to the larger society using their varying information dissemination platforms.
According to her, the meeting was facilitated by her organisation in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation to ensure accountability, efficiency and transparency in the use of government resources to better the lot of its citizens.
LANW director hinted that, with support from McArthur Foundation, her organisation is currently tracking UBEC interventions in 20 schools in three local government areas of the state which are Chikun, Soba and Kaura.
She was of the view that, media engagement would promote the needed sustainable development through improved reportage of government interventions in the education sector for the purpose of accountability.
She said, “because the people across all boards are expected to be aware of what intervention is in their community, media practitioners, who will dish out this information to them themselves need to be well equipped so they can better inform others.
“Enhanced media reportage will also promote citizen’s engagement and participation, needed for quality service delivery.”
Briefing the attendees about the activities his agency, a Quantity Surveyor with Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Jonathan Joseph highlighted inadequate funding as bone of contention for SUBEB to fix the over 4,200 public primary schools in the state.
To him, about N70 billion is needed to renovate the 4,200 primary schools in the state noting that, the amount was arrived at after a thorough needs assessment conducted about five years ago to determine financial resources needed to improve the quality of infrastructure in all the public primary schools in the state.
The official explained that the board gets between N2 billion and N2.5 billion annually from UBEC and the state government in the last three years.
According to him, there is a huge financial gap that needed to be filled for the board to be able to fix all pubic primary schools at the same time.
“Yes, there are lots of dilapidated public primary schools in the state, but this is not because the state government do not want to fix them, but because there are no sufficient funds.
“The problems are overwhelming and there is no money to fix all schools at the same time. This was why the state government declared a state of emergency in 2015 to address some of the problems.
“But within the limited available resources, the government is doing its best to rehabilitate and reconstruct schools where necessary with a view to improve the quality of education delivery in the state”, he added.