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1.1 Background To The Study

Enrollment into and completing of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program allows for the development of basic literacy and arithmetic abilities as outlined in the National Policy on Education (NPE). It also results in good behavioral changes that benefit the family, society, and nation (FGN, 2004). The completion of basic education benefits students by broadening their horizons. It offers chances for self-development throughout the rest of one's life. It also contributes to stronger families, improved health for both parents and students, and participation in governance (World Bank, 2012 cited in Kane, 2004).

On September 9, 1976, Obasanjo's military regime implemented the Universal Primary Education (UPE) program. This initiative, which began with zeal and great hopes of solving the country's perceived socioeconomic needs, crashed and burned halfway through. Financial issues, insufficient proficient teachers, class sizes, narrow curriculum content, shift in family structure, absenteeism, residential location, cultural variation, and a high rate of drop-out were cited as reasons for its failure (Omotayo, Ihebereme, and Maduewesi 2008). According to Jaiyeoba (2007), low enrollment increase, teachers shortage, insufficient infrastructure, insufficient financing, and a poor family background, among other factors, contributed to the UPE program's failure.

It should be recognized that education suffered significant neglect in the years after the demise of the UPE system. This exacerbated decay in the educational system, particularly at the basic education level, to the point where illiteracy was outrageously high, teachers were poorly trained and motivated, infrastructure was in disrepair, school drop-out was increasing at an alarming rate, and funding for basic education in particular remained inadequate (Tahir, 2003).

Many Nigerians breathed a sigh of relief on September 30, 1999, when the democratic administration of Obasanjo established the Universal Basic Education (UBE) project in an effort to remedy the aforementioned problems. The curriculum, which was designed in accordance with the National Policy on Education's 6-3-3-4 framework, now has a 9-3-4 structure. Basic education consists of nine (9) years of continuous, free, and obligatory education, of which six (6) years are spent in primary school and three (3) years in junior secondary school. Its primary goal is to eliminate illiteracy, ignorance, and poverty while also promoting and speeding national growth, political consciousness, and national integration.

According to the Implementation Guidelines (FRN, 2000), the objectives of the UBE include: developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for education and a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion; providing free, universal basic education to every Nigerian child of school-going age; and drastically reducing the incidence of dropout from the formal school system.

In order to attain the program's aims, concerted efforts were required to counteract the elements that were known to have hampered the program's goals. Despite the fact that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program's aims are admirable and that well-thought-out procedures have been put in place to achieve these objectives, the expected impact has yet to be realized.

It seems incomprehensible that millions of children still lack access to basic education after many years of the program's inception, despite the federal government's commitment to its success. This dismal record was ascribed to insufficient and inequitable access, low student learning attainment, a lack of accountability and transparency in the use of education funding, an acute scarcity of qualified instructors, infrastructure degradation and shortage, a poorly motivated, ill-equipped, and inexperienced teaching staff, and insufficient instructional resources (UBEC, 2008).

With the aforementioned examples, as well as countless more not recorded in this study, there is no denying that the basic education sub-sector is in a very bad position that requires immediate remedial remedies. Many governmental policies and programs in Nigeria perform poorly in terms of achieving their stated objectives, owing mostly to implementation failure. In light of the foregoing, the purpose of this research is to investigate the implementation and problems of Nigeria's universal basic education program.

1.2   Statement Of The Problem

The UBE program faces significant hurdles at both the federal and state levels. The inability to appropriate funds for a program remains the most significant impediment to its execution (McDelat, 2013). This is especially the case for the financing of UBE in Nigeria between 1999 and 2000. Another barrier to the successful execution of the UBE scheme or program is a lack of appropriate planning on the part of the government,  and other stakeholders (UNESCO, 2000). Faulty census exercises are one example of poor planning. Almost all of Nigeria's censuses, whether before or after independence, have been plagued by huge anomalies (Oni, 2008). The dropout rate in elementary school is another concern, given the scheme's goals of providing education to all school-aged children. As a result, the primary goal of this research is to investigate the implementation and problems of Nigeria's universal basic education program. Furthermore, if appropriately handled, the elements highlighted for reinforcement in the preceding paragraph will almost certainly result in a large percentage of the program's stated objectives being met. Among these identified factors, the teacher factor, infrastructure, textbooks/instructional materials, and improved funding, insufficient competent teachers, overcrowded classrooms, narrow curriculum content, changes in family structure, absenteeism, residential location, cultural variation, and high drop-out rate are critical to the success of any education program.

It is important to remember, however, that it is one thing to present a program with lofty implementation techniques and another thing to successfully implement it. Perhaps the aforementioned problems were not successfully addressed during implementation, resulting in the bad state of affairs in our basic education sub-sector. The importance of the basic education sub-sector in our educational system cannot be overstated, since it serves as the basis for all subsequent levels of education. As a result, its failure entails the collapse of the entire educational system. The current inadequate status of basic education in the country, despite advances in other sectors of education, is consequently alarming and need immediate corrective action.

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