Ebonyi: Govt Tasked On Citizens’ Participation Framework In Basic Education

Ebonyi: Govt Tasked On Citizens’ Participation Framework In Basic Education

By Oswald Agwu

State governments in Nigeria have been charged to create citizens’ participation framework in Basic Education budgeting and policy implementation to enhance service delivery in the sector.

The charge was the outcome of a one-day Demand side-Supply side stakeholders dialogue on Universal Basic Education, held Friday in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.

The event was in advancement of the Accountability for Good Governance in Education project, AGGE, under the USAID – sponsored Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement, SCALE project in the State.

It was hosted by Development and Integrity Intervention Goals Foundation (DIG), a civil society organization, in collaboration with YouthHub Africa.

Leading discusions at the event, the Executive Director of DIG Foundation, Chief Oliver Aja Chima, exposed participants to certain gaps in government – citizens’ relationship concerning basic education to include alienation of demand side (citizens) in decision making.

He observed that stakeholders: parents, CSOs, teachers, lack adequate knowledge of those in custody of basic education monies, while information from the Basic Education Board were often unreliable.

He further observed that setting up of UBEB projects were often based on State government’s prerogative rather than from Community needs assessment, a situation participants agreed, often results in projects misplacement.

The Participants unanimously urged the government to provide a robust framework and template for citizens and other non-state actors to input in governance, insisting that budgeting process for basic education should be participatory.

Speaking on the objectives of the meeting, the Program Manager, YouthHubAfrica, Olusegun Medupin, said it was to create an opportunity for government and Community stakeholders to identify challenges in the education sector and collectively proffer solutions through dialogue.

He stated that the meeting was to create increased knowledge and strengthen participant’s skills on education related policy, advocacy tools and approaches, adding that it would increase their understanding of the process of UBEB work plan and budget development.

Medupin encouraged Nongovernmental and Civil Society Organisation in the State never to relent in pushing for positive reforms in governance.

“We can’t leave the government to work alone because we are part of government.

“The government needs us as citizens, and we need them; they need our ideas to function.

“So, as stakeholders, we should not relent in making inputs to the government in spite of rebuffs” Medupin admonished.

Participants at the event were drawn from CSOs and representatives of State Universal Basic Education Board, Ministry of Education, Secondary Education Board, ANCOPS, Education Secretaries, Association of Private School proprietors, Nigeria Union of Teachers, Parents-Teachers Association as well as Traditional and Religious leaders.

SCALE is a 5 year USAID funded project implemented by Palladium, in collaboration with indigenous partners: YouthHubAfrica, Bridge Connect Africa Initiative, DIG Foundation, Women Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) and Kayode Alabi Leadership and Career Initiative (KLCI).

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Citizens ParticipationEbonyi State