The Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Hamid Bobboyi, has said that the commission has introduced Open Schooling Programme (OSP) to mop-up out-of-school children across the 36 states of the in the country,
Bobboyi stated this in Kaduna Thursday at the opening of a two-day meeting with stakeholders, content developers and centre managers, on expected roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the OSP.
The secretary was represented at the meeting by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Dr Tokumbo Onosode.
He described OSP as a “flexible education system that allow learners to learn where they are and when they want, away from conventional schools and teachers.”
He explained that the programme had no age restriction and would adopt several teaching methods but with emphasis on Information and Communication Technology as a tool for learning.
He said the overall goal was to provide educational opportunities for children and youth whose learning needs were not being met by conventional schools.
“It will also enhance access to quality and functional education for marginalised and disadvantaged groups in the country.
“It will also assist in the attainment of 100 per cent transition rate from primary to junior secondary school.
“The programme will equally provide second chance for drop-outs and will help in meeting the changing needs of children and youths through the provision of functional vocational education.
“This will significantly complement efforts in the reduction and eradication of the menace of out-of-school as well as gender and social inequalities in education.”
According to him, the programme will be implemented in six pilot states, namely, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Adamawa and Niger states.
He said that OSP was open to children and youth who had never been to school, those who had dropped out of school and those in school but were not learning.
Bobboyi pointed out that the country was still grappling with the menace of out-of-school children in millions, along with numerous challenges affecting basic education sector, adding that the sector was also faced with poor learning environment; inadequate learning materials; dearth of qualified, competent and motivated teachers, while many communities did not have schools.
“These, along with the increasing number of out-of-school children roaming the streets, prompted UBEC to adopt the OSP in collaboration with Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and other stakeholders.’’
He said that the meeting was organised to sensitise the centre managers and content developers about the programme and their expected roles and responsibilities.
Also the Director, Social Mobilisation, Malam Bello Kagara, said that the success of the programme would largely depend on massive mobilisation of the people to seize the opportunity to acquire basic education.
Kagara said that his department would enlist the support of community and religious leaders, civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders to create the needed awareness in communities.
The Executive Chairman, Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board, Alhaji Abdullahi Sani, thanked UBEC for the laudable initiative in enhancing access to basic education in the country, noting that the programme if well implemented would significantly improve access to education and provide equal opportunity to all Nigerian children.
He assured UBEC of maximum support to ensure the success of the programme in Kaduna state.