1.1 Background to the Study
TheUniversal Basic Education (UBE) was established and launched by the then president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusagun Obasanjo on September 29, 1999 in Sokoto State as part of Government’s effort at stamping out illiteracy. The various states of the Federation were given the mandate to adopt and implement the programme at state levels. Consequently, Akwa Ibom State launched the programme in the state on May 27, 2000. This launching signaled the struggle to reclaim the lost frontiers of quality primary Education and to lay a solid foundation for basic education.
In Akwa Ibom State, the UBE law was enacted in 2005, and accented into law in June 2005 by the then Executive Governor, His Excellency Arc. (Obong) Victor Attah. This law became the enabling instrument for the former state primary Education Board now State Universal Basic Education Board to facilitate the implementation of the UBE scheme. It was further enacted in all the Local Government Area as subsidiaries and called Local Education Area to also facilitate the implementation of UBE scheme in the Local Government Areas.
The main focus of the UBE programme was to address educational imbalance in the state with the underlying concept of making education free, compulsory, affordable and accessible. To this effect, Akpan (2009) observed that education through UBE be free, compulsory and accessible; through which the problem of school drop out would be curbed. In his opinion, if the policy thrust of UBE is properly implemented, the universal drop out phenomenon would be curtailed.
However, The Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, 2004 and Other Related matters highlighted its key issues to include among others:
A. Every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and Universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age;
B. Every parent shall ensure that his/her child or ward attends and completes (a) primary school education and (b) junior secondary school.
C. Every parents shall ensure that his/her child receives full time education suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude by regular attainment at school;
D. A parent who does not enroll or who withdraws his/her child/ward from school contravenes section 2(2) of the UBE Act. According to Etim (2006), the above issues are carefully programmed to promote and sustain quality education for children, mostly the under-privileged and above all curtail school drop-out.
Therefore, the essence of this study is to ascertain the extent to which the implementation of UBE policies has impacted on the control of school drop-out which has been a major problem in our educational sector especially in the primary school level.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
UBE in Akwa Ibom State represents the state’s commitment and determination to stem the tide of school drop-out and mitigate its impact on pupils by implementing its key issues and policy trust as highlighted by the Compulsory, Free, Universal Basic Education Act. 2004 of the Federation and accented to in Akwa Ibom State in 2005 with subsidiaries in all the Local Government Areas known as Local education Areas.
The UBE programme could not have been introduced at a better time than now that the nation is in dire need of all round national development. As such it is seen as a catalyst for a more, vigorous organized and coordinated response to education. Yet, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)’s Annual Report of 2010, in its appraisal of states’ UBE performance, stated that most states of the Federation have not been able to access fund meant for UBE policy implementation in their state due to their inability to pay the stipulated counterpart funds. This forms the sis of the researcher’s interest, to assess the Akwa Ibom State UBE policy implementation programme.
Further more, it is assumed that for the UBE programme to be truly free and universal, efforts must be made to cheek those factors that are known to have hindered the success of such programmes in the past. Therefore, this study specifically considers the implementation of UBE as it affects school drop-out in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State; since poor policy implementation is believe to hinder the achievement of any laudable policy as UBE.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
It becomes pertinent that Akwa Ibom State Universal Basic Education Board’s activity as it affects school drop-out, in Ibesikpo Asutan L. G. A. be examined.
Consequently, the purpose of the study is to assess the activities of Akwa Ibom State UBE in coping drop-out phenomenon. To ascertain whether its aims are achieved in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, through the SUBEB’s subsidiary in the Local Government which is called the Local Education Area.
1.4 Research Questions
The study intends to investigate the impact of UBE policy implementation through its subsidiary Local Education Area on drop-out phenomenon using the following research questions:
(1) UBE through its subsidiary the Local Education Area (LEA has no relationship with the control of school drop-out in Ibesikpo Asutan L.G.A.
(2) Does the operations of L.E.A. restrict school drop-out in Ibesikpo Asutan L.G.A.?
(3) UBE programme implementation does not have any relationship on the awareness of drop-out phenomenon in Ibesikpo Asutan L.G.A.