This study evaluated the implementation of UBE programme in primary schools in
Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State. To guide this study five research questions
were posed and five null-hypotheses were formulated. The design of the study was
a descriptive survey design. The population comprised of 2,673 made up of 238
head teachers and 2,435 teachers of UBE primary schools in Nsukka Education
Zone of Enugu State. The sample constituted of 40 head teachers and 80 teachers
drawn from 3 local government areas of the zone. A total of 360 respondents
participated in the study. A 30-item questionnaire was used for data collection.
Mean rating and t-test were used in answering the research questions and testing
of the null-hypothesis respectively. The findings showed among others that
infrastructural facilities,, instructional material, trained teachers and funds are not
adequately available to a high extent for the effective implementation of UBE
programme in the primary schools. Also the findings of the study regarding the
constraints to the effective implementation of the UBE programme revealed that
lack of proper supervision of teaching and learning in primary schools, inadequate
provision of instructional materials and infrastructural facilities to primary
schools. Poor finding of educational programme and poor statistical data on UBE
primary schools were to a high extent constraints to the effective implementation of
the UBE programme in primary schools. Based on this, recommendation were
made which include: that government should recruit more teaching staff for the
primary schools and provide adequate training incentives, infrastructural
facilities, instructional materials and funding for the effective implementation of
the UBE programme in the schools in Nsukka Education Zone.

Background of the Study
Education in all countries of the world has been considered very important
for personal and societal development. Nigeria is one among the nations of the
world that values education. In her National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004)
Nigeria sees education as an excellent instrument for effecting national
development. Thus, education will be used to achieve the nation’s needs. The
policy document provides guidelines on the education of Nigerian society. It
contains the philosophy of the nation’s education, levels of education and their
objectives, beginning with pre-primary, through primary, secondary to tertiary
All over the world, primary education has been regarded as the most
important as well as the most accessed by people. This perhaps may be due to the
fact that it is the foundation of the whole educational pursuit, which is expected to
provide literacy and enlightenment to the citizens. Oni (2008) posited that the
importance of primary education can be seen in the sense that all beneficiaries of
the other levels of education by necessity have to pass through this level. Federal
Republic of Nigeria in her National Police on Education (2004) defined primary
education as the kind of education given in an institution for children aged 6-11
years plus, and it constitutes the bedrock upon which the entire educational system
is built. It is in view of the indispensable role of education in the development of
man and modern society, particularly the primary education that various
declarations on education were made at the global level. Such declaration includes
The 1984 Human Rights Declaration which states that everyone has right to
education, which will be free at least in the elementary school. The Jomtein
Declaration on Education for All (EFA) by the year 2000. The New Delhi 1993
Declaration on E-9 Countries in 1993 (the nine countries with the largest
concentration of illiteracy of which Nigeria is a member) which was later
reaffirmed in Recife, Brazil (2000) by calling for a massive eradication of illiteracy
within the shortest possible time span.
Based on the above declarations among others, the then president of Nigeria,
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on 30
September 1999 launched the Universal Basic
Education (UBE) Programme in Sokoto State. The launching of the programme
was appreciated by many Nigerians who considered the programme a good
opportunity for improving the literacy level of Nigerians as well as solving the
problem of the educational system in Nigeria. Basic education, according to
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), is a type of education comprising of 6 years of
primary education and 3 years of junior secondary school education. The policy
stipulates that basic education shall be free and compulsory. The scheme shall
include adult and non-formal educational programme at primary and junior
secondary school levels for both adult and out-of- schools youths. The UBE
programme has three main components, namely: Universal, Basic and Education.
‘Universal’ here means that the programme is for everyone, irrespective of tribe,
culture or race and class. The term ‘Basic’ depicts that it is fundamental or
essential, and that it must be given at all cost. It is on this factor that every other
thing rests on, without it, nothing may be achieved. It is the root for the acquisition
of any knowledge (Eddy & Akpan, 2009). UBE programme can thus be seen as
that type of education that every individual must have; it should not be a privilege
but a right, and it should be the sum total of an individual’s experiences no matter
his class or background. The mission of Universal Basic Education is to serve as a
prime energizer of national movement for the actualization of the nation’s vision.
This will mobilize the nation’s creative energies to ensure that Education for All
becomes the responsibilities of all (UBE, 2005).
The UBE arrangement is that the First Nine Years must be free, uninterrupted and compulsory. The goals of UBE, according to Federal Ministry of
Education (2000), are to universalize access to basic education, provide conducive
learning environment and to eradicate illiteracy in Nigeria within the shortest
possible time.
The UBE programme as described above has realistic and laudable objectives
which, if adequately planned and implemented well, will no doubt improve the
literacy level of Nigerian citizens and enable them to live fulfilling lives and
contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of the country. It is
important to note that similar educational programmes introduced in Nigeria were
unsuccessful. According to Mgbodile (2000), Ogbonnaya (2003) and Ukeje
(2000), the problem of Nigerian educational system does not lie with adequate
knowledge and policies, but with effective planning and sustainable
implementation. They recalled that the Universal Primary Education (UPE)
programme, which was introduced by our past leaders, had in the end failed. Such
failure, according to them, is attributed to several factors, among which are
inadequate trained teachers, inadequate infrastructural facilities, inadequate
instructional materials, inadequate fund, and lack of effective supervision.
Infrastructural facilities and instructional materials are factors that facilitate
and promote teaching and learning and they include items like class rooms,
furniture, libraries, administrative block, etc. Trained teachers are special brand of
men and women that have received training on coaching, supervising and guiding
pupil/students to achieve outstanding feats in life. Fund, on the other hand, refers
to the sum of money saved or made available for a particular purpose. These
resources, according to Mohammed (2004), have to be of appropriate quality and
quantity to meet the minimum standard of promoting any meaningful teaching and
learning. Some experts particular Okoli (2007) have observed that the
responsibility for providing these facilities and resources in public schools lie with
the government.
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which is the
government agency responsible for monitoring the implementation of UBE
programme, in its 2013 Annual Report revealed that transformation of the
education in the area of school infrastructural development has been achieved
through judicious use of FGN-UBE intervention funds. It is the view of the
commission that adequate allocations are made for the provision of basic education
in the country. They noted that the UBE programme has been on the funding
priority list of the government. This the report observed, was buttressed by the
government huge allocation to State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs)
in the 36 states and FCT for both capital expenditure for erection of building and
purchase of equipment and recurrent expenditure for the payment of salaries,
services, among others. Specifically the reports showed that UBE marching grants
statutory allocations to the 36 states and FCT from 2005-2013 was N200, 392, 601,
491. 67. and out of this figure N159, 734, 113, 067.03 has been accessed by the 36
states and FCT, while the sum of N1, 312,500.000 has been expended on the
development of the new 9-years basic education curriculum in the year 2007.
The UBE matching grants are funds that are jointly contributed by both
Federal and state governments on equal basis; it is 70% of the 2% consolidated
revenue funds. The matching grant is to be utilized in the implementation of the
programme as follows:
· 5% on Early Child Care Development Education (ECCDE)
· 60% on primary school education.
· 35% on junior secondary school education.
The 70% of the above funds are to be used for the provisions of infrastructural
facilities, instructional materials, training and retraining of teachers, among others.
(UBEC, 2013)
From the foregoing, there seems to be no doubt that the Federal Government
is genuinely concerned about the provision of basic education to her citizens.
According to FME (2013), the FGN/UBE initiative at the basic education started
way back 2009. Till date, about 96, 326,675 books on mathematics, English,
languages, Basic science and technology, social studies for primary schools and
library resources materials for junior secondary schools have been procured and
distributed to public basic education institutions across the country. The goal of
this exercise is to attain the pupil to book ratio of 1:1 in all subjects.
In terms of contents, a new 9-year basic education curriculum has been
reviewed. According to Obioma (2013), the subjects in the old curriculum are
being reduced from 20 subjects to 10, and the reason was that the old curriculum
was full of content repetition, and hence the need for the correction. The basic
contents of the reviewed 9 -year basic education curriculum include the following.
· For primary (1-3) English language, mathematics, one Nigeria language,
Basic science and technology under which are physical and health education
and computer studies/ICT. Others are pre-vocational studies, comprising of
Home-economics, agriculture and entrepreneurship, religious and value
education, security education, cultural and creative arts, as well as Arabic
language which is optional. These subjects are offered by pupils in primary
4-6 with the addition of French language while business studies is added to
the subject listing for JSS1-3. Still in the new reviewed curriculum, pupils in
primary 1-3 are to offer a minimum of seven subjects and maximum of eight
subjects while those in primary 4-6 are to take a minimum of eight (8)
subjects and maximum of nine (9) subjects. And those in JSS1-3, are to offer
a minimum of nine (9) subjects and a maximum of (10) subjects in all
(Obioma, 2013). Worthy of note is that the new basic education curriculum
was structured into three 3 components namely:
· Lower basic education for primary 1-3
· Middle basic education for primary 4-6
· Upper basic education for JSS1-3
These subjects and contents of the new curriculum, according to Obioma
(2013), will follow systematically from primary 1-JSS 3, thus the programme
therefore, is one of the visible dividends of democracy in the country. Its launching
became necessary as the Obasanjo- led administration came into power in 1999
and met an educational system that was in a state of decay. Teachers were poorly
trained and motivated. There was high rate of illiteracy as a consequence of high
dropout rates, and poor infrastructural conditions in schools. Thus, the introduction
of the UBE is meant to positively transform the nation’s basic education level and
to meet the context of the global vision of EFA (FGN,2004).
Today, the UBE is here with us and it aims at equipping individuals with
knowledge. In this state, people welcomed the programme in its totality. The
Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB) in its report of 2013
revealed that the introduction of UBE in the state was like an answered prayer
because many Enugu citizens have been praying for empowerment, adding that so
far, the Board has accessed a total of N4,301,175,672.00 between 2005 and 2013
from the FGN/UBE intervention funds and the state government is ensuring that
qualified teachers are recruited while effective monitoring mechanism is
maintained to guarantee that the programme is successfully implemented in the
State. In support of this claim, Ortunaya (2013) revealed that Enugu State
Government is poised to improve the educational content of its school curriculum,
in terms of quality and quantity, and this would be achieved through the
recruitment of qualified teachers, and provision of educational facilities such as
books, classrooms, desks, chairs as well as renovation of dilapidated schools
structures across the state.