1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education is widely acknowledged as the pivot around which every society's wheel of growth and development revolves. Education is the process of altering people's behavior patterns, and it includes teaching and learning, particular skills, as well as intangibles like talking, feeling, and laughing. Education also includes the transmission of information, sound judgment, and mature wisdom. One of the most important parts of education is the transmission of culture from generation to generation. Today, educational philosophers, academics, and students all have their own definitions of education. However, these are some of the most recent definitions offered by academics. Education, according to Ukeje (1992), is a process through which individuals get accustomed to the culture into which they are born in order to progress it. Education is defined as the process of bringing forth and aiding the development of an individual's self-potential and latent skills. Khalleel (2000) believes that education equips people to live effectively and efficiently in their communities. Education, according to Aliyu (1998), is a liberating force that allows a person to reach his or her full potential for the benefit of both the individual and society. Education frees one to think about and act on the world in order to change it. Sani (1998) saw education as a catalyst that opens the path for our people's goals to be realized in all aspects of life. Education, according to Ogbonnaya (2002), is the process of acclimating individuals to the culture into which they are born so that they can progress it. This definition is comparable to Onuoha's in Ogbonnaya (2002), who described education as a process by which a person is empowered to develop his capacities via the acquisition of information, skills, values, and attitudes for his own benefit as well as the benefit of society. According to the preceding definitions of education, education is the process of educating or passing on a people's way of life to youths. It also suggests that education allows a person to develop his or her potentialities or skills for his or her individual advantage as well as the benefit of the society in which he or she is born. Education is therefore the systematic process of physically, cognitively, spiritually, and socially developing a person for his own benefit as well as the benefit of the society in which he lives.
Education, in its most basic form, refers to the process of teaching, training, and learning, particularly in schools and universities. It leads to increased knowledge and skill development. As a result, the primary goal of education is to develop the person so that he may be valuable to himself, his family, and society as a whole. As a result, education has been a top focus for Nigerian governments since the country's independence in 1960. Only the privileged citizens have benefited from education in the past four decades, but this situation has improved as civilians have arrived and people have become more aware of the need for education, with the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1976 as one of the first major national initiatives to universalize access to education, as well as the publication of the National Policy on Education in 1977 (revised in 1981, 1998, and 2004) and a greater sense of direction and purpose for education. Education, on the other hand, is focused at socialization for all members of society, regardless of age, gender, religion, social status, geographic location, or physical disability. The National Policy on Education was created with the goal of eliminating illiteracy at all stages of human life and providing inexpensive education to all Nigerians, regardless of their social status, religion, ethnic origin, or physical appearance. The policy was motivated by a goal to alleviate poverty, raise national policy indices, raise political awareness, and foster national interpretation concerns. In order to achieve the above-mentioned goal of the National Policy, the federal government, via the federal ministry of education, has proposed several educational reform programs from time to time in the hopes of achieving its goals. Universal Basic Education (UBE) is one such educational reform scheme (UBE). The UBE was created to serve as the foundation for lifetime learning, influencing reading, writing, and the acquisition of other necessary skills for survival and growth. The Nigerian government, in an effort to eliminate illiteracy in the country, launched UBE on September 30, 1999 in Sokoto, under the presidency of President Olusegun Obasanjo. The program is designed to encompass six years of elementary school and three years of junior secondary school. The UBE was established to put into action the several international education treaties that Nigeria has signed. The World Conference on Education for All (WCEFA), held in Jomitien, Thailand in 1990, is one of them. According to Eya (2000), the UBE, which is a reaction to the Jemitien Declaration on Education for All, has the following goals:
- Instilling in all citizens a strong sense of responsibility for education and a strong commitment to its robust promotion.
- The provision of a free, universal basic education to all Nigerian children of school age.
- Significantly decreasing the number of students who drop out of school (through improved relevance, equality and efficiency).
- Ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative, and life skills, as well as the ethical, moral, and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning through appropriate forms of complementary approaches to the provision and promotion of basic education.
According to Eya (2000), the UBE in Nigeria encompasses early childhood care and socialization, education for the acquisition of functional literacy, numeracy, and life-skills, particularly for adults (people aged 15 and above), a special program for the nomadic population, out-of-school, non-formal programs for up-dating the knowledge and skills of people who left school before acquiring the fundamentals needed for lifelong learning, and formal school systems. The UBE program aims to reach out to all members of society. In other words, it applies to Nigerian children, adolescents, and illiterate adults from all socioeconomic backgrounds and geographical areas, regardless of gender, whether they are in or out of school. It's a fantastic curriculum that covers formal (pre-school, primary, and junior secondary school), non-formal (literacy, numeracy, and communication skills), life skills, and learning-to-learn abilities for lifelong education. Apart from attempting to reduce the dropout rate, the initiative aims to guarantee that students who had fallen out of the official education system, for whatever reason, return (Tahir 2002). However, the program seems to be suffering from a lack of infrastructure, funding, curriculum, and equipment (Okolo, 2001). The effectiveness of UBE, like any other educational innovation, is largely dependent on the amount to which teacher factors are taken into account. Teachers are sometimes referred to be educational innovation mediators. As a result, the teacher is often regarded as the most remarkable and crucial aspect influencing the learning process, particularly in the school setting. It is also acknowledged that a capable and vibrant teaching workforce will develop efficient and effective human resources for individual and national advancement. As a result, training teachers to tackle additional problems of excellent educational delivery has received a lot of attention in the design and implementation of the UBE program. Minimum criteria for teacher education should be included in institutions engaged in teacher development, curriculum, personnel, and facilities. This study attempts to highlight the teacher as a significant aspect in the delivery of basic education and other issues (Arisi,2002). It will cover the different efforts being made to guarantee the recruitment and deployment of high-quality teachers in primary and secondary schools, as required by the UBE Act of 2004. Furthermore, the paper will argue that our inability to effectively address key issues such as teacher recruitment, retention, and professional development in the design and implementation of educational policy reform at the lower education level has been one of the major roadblocks to Nigeria's educational progress. It will also determine the role of teacher education institutes in ensuring successful teacher preparation for the Universal Basic Education Program. The UBE's content includes, among other things, teacher training, teacher recruitment and welfare, financing, supervision, physical facility provision, statistics, enlightenment, and curriculum. The success of the UBE program's goals and objectives is largely dependent on how well the goals and objectives are implemented by the program's implementers. Based on the aforementioned, the UBE is a program designed to demonstrate Nigeria's strong commitment to the Jemitein Declaration of 1990 on the development of universal basic education. It is also directed at achieving the New Delhi Declaration of 1991, which calls for the E-9 countries (the nine countries in the world with the highest proportion of illiterate individuals) to make significant progress in reducing illiteracy in the shortest period feasible (Arisi,2002).