The Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, has said Nigeria is experiencing a severe learning crisis that requires immediate action to address.
Speaking at a two-day stakeholder “Dialogue on Reading Initiative in the UBE Programme and the Use of Mother Tongue/Language of Immediate Environment as Medium of Instruction,” on Monday, in Abuja, Bobboyi stressed that if the learning crisis is not immediately addressed, it would hinder Nigeria from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
The UBEC boss, who cited a report by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said approximately three out of four children of basic education age, 6 to14 years, in Nigeria cannot read a text with understanding, or solve simple mathematics problems.
He, therefore, urged stakeholders at the dialogue to frankly discuss and come up with actionable steps that will not only help UBEC but all stakeholders in ameliorating the situation.
“Several interventions by the Federal Government, State Governments and International Development Partners have been made to address the endemic issue. However, despite the huge resources expended, the challenge remains.
“Several factors, such as lack of access to instructional materials, especially on the language of the immediate environment, poor teaching quality, insufficient parental guidance and lackadaisical attitude of States towards implementing the language policy on the use of mother tongue/ language of immediate environment as medium of instruction in the lower classes in Basic Education, are responsible for this.
“It should be stated that fundamental learning is critical to the development of productive citizenship, sustainable development, national cohesion, as well as peace and prosperity. The call for dialogue on these important issues cannot therefore be overemphasized,” he said.
According to him, “UBEC is concerned about the Learning Crisis but we are undaunted by the challenge and that is why we are confronting the situation. One of our strategies is harvesting ideas from stakeholders and using them to prepare roadmaps for turning things around.”
In a keynote address, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council, NERDC, Prof Ismail Junaidu, called for the implementation of the National Language Policy.