Education

UBE Act Amendment, Urgent National Priority – Professor Ihonvbere

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education, Professor Julius Ihonvbere has reaffirmed his commitment to championing the amendment of the Universal Basic Education, UBE, Act 2004 as a matter of urgent national priority.

He declared his commitment to free, safe and gender-responsive basic education by signing the Legislative Declaration on COVID-19 and Girls’ Education during a recent meeting with stakeholders at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.

Prof Ihonvbere (left) engaging #AmendUBEAct coalition members during the meeting in Abuja

The legislative parley is part of the wider Malala Fund COVID-19 campaign strategy, aimed at ensuring more gender-responsive legislation and plan for the recovery phase of the pandemic in Nigeria.

The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act Amendment Bill is at the committee stage at the House of Representatives.

The bill seeks to extend free and compulsory education from nine to twelve years, ensure an increase in basic education financing and promote gender-responsive learning, among others.

Professor Ihonvbere reckoned that the burden of Nigeria’s out-of-school children could hinder Nigeria’s quest for sustainable human and economic development, coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that education has the potency to change children, communities and the country.

“I am committed to Basic Education sector reform and glad to sign this declaration. I am an academician and the Chair of the House Committee on Basic Education. I focus my entire constituency allowance on basic school renovations and furniture because if I do not make an impact on Basic Education, what else can I do?” said Professor Julius Ihonvbere.

Concerned about the state of basic education in Nigeria, Professor Ihonvbere promised to build consensus amidst legislators on education financing and the extension of the coverage of the UBE Act (2004) from nine to twelve years. He further pledged commitment to sponsoring COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 education reforming laws taking into account the needs of girls and supporting their return to school and education emergencies.

Malala Fund’s recent research shows that 20 million additional secondary school-aged girls around the world may be out of school once the crisis has passed due to increased rates of poverty, household responsibilities and child labour.

Adedayo Adelowo

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