The UBE Programme and Community Participation in Nigeria (A Case Study of Cross River State)

The UBE Programme and Community Participation in Nigeria (A Case Study of Cross River State)

Community participation in the provision of some Basic needs of the community is as old as the concept of community development.  Communities have always been concerned about the welfare and wellbeing of their members.  In the developing countries of the world, from time past, members of the communities have always mobilized themselves through concerted effort toward addressing common problem affecting them.

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This is based on the assumption that government alone cannot solve all the problems facing the society due to the limited resources at her disposal. Members of the community through communal effort mobilized themselves toward the provision of some basic needs of the community in areas such as shelter, food, water and sanitation, health service, education among others.  These community efforts according to Ering (2001) tends to encourage, the spirit of communal self-help and initiative in the improvement of their socio-economic wellbeing; co-operation and spirit of active participation in their affair, enhancement of self-awareness and promotion of the spirit of confidence among others.
Battern in (Ering 2001:4) sees Community Development as “a process of change in which the people of a community organize themselves for planning an action, define their common and individual problems and execute this with a maximum of reliance upon the resources of the community”.  Community participation is therefore found within the context of community development.
Battern (1965:1) in his work “community and their development” described community participation as a form of intervention programme where the local people thoroughly discuss and define their want, and then plan and act together to satisfy tem with the development agency.  It is therefore obvious from the above that community participation in Basic Education is a form of community development.
Community participation in service delivery is aimed at achieving community development.  This position has been acknowledged by the United Nation.  These processes involved a united and concerted effort by the people to provide social service for themselves using their resources.
The United Nation in (Macpherson 1982.165) defined community development thus:
“the process by which the effort of the people themselves are united with those of government  authorities to improve the social, economic and cultural conditions of the community, to integrate  these communities into the life of the nation, and to enable them to contribute fully to national progress.  This complex processes is then made up of two essential elements; the participation by the people themselves in effort to improve their level of living with as much reliance as possible on their own initiative, and the provision of technical and other services in ways which encourage initiatives, self-help and mutual help and make these more effective”.
From the above definition of community development which has been universally accepted, active community participation is very imperative if the objective of community development must be achieved.  Community participation in delivery of social services elicit a sense of ownership, sponsorship and pride in the people.

2.1    Community development through self-help programme
Self-help emerged as a strategy for rural development in our communities in the time past.  Onibukan (1976) defined self-help as a strategy by which the inhabitant of an area co-operatively undertakes the building and/or the re-habitation of their neighbourhood or their own community using their own resources.  He went further to add that when ‘such’ projects are promoted either by government bodies, public agencies or by other philanthropic bodies, the strategy is referred to as “aided Self-help”.
Self-help also denotes a programme of activities involving the concerted effort of the members of a community aimed at providing certain social amenities in the community. The emphasis here is on the reliance of the members of the community on their resources and efforts without outside initiative or support.  Community participation in the delivery of social services to the community has always been through community Self-help programme and/or community assisted self-help programmes.
Under the community Self-help strategy, which is as old as community development itself, the inhabitant of a community mobilizes themselves using their own initiative, effort and resources co-operatively without any external support for the building or construction of a project for the benefit of the members of the community.  On the other hand, the community initiated self or added Self-help emphasizes partnership and collaboration with the community.  The community assisted self-help intervention to rural development involves a funding formula between the community (service beneficiary) and the fund provider.  The community provides counterpart contribution which may be in cash, kind or both. Community participation enhances effective implementation of projects vice versa.

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2.2    Community Participation in Basic Education in Nigeria
Community participation in the delivery of education is not a recent development in Nigeria.  The Institution for formal education system and the community have always existed side by side and have been playing a collaborative and partnership role even before the enactment of government policies and legislation on this.  The school and the community are like siamese twins which cannot be separated from each other.  However, community participation and the Basic Education Programme which is the focus of this study received a greater boost in Nigeria as a result of the enactment of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act of 2004.
The UBE Act, 2004 seeks to provide for compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education for all children of Primary and Junior Secondary School age in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  It further seeks to provide punishment for parent for failing to comply with the provision.
The recent renewed call and emphasis for active community participation in the delivery of Basic Education Programme is to fast-track the realization of the laudable Vision and goal of the Universal Basic Education Programme enacted by the Federal Government.  This vision and goal is previously mentioned is a home-grown programme that tries to achieve a compulsory, free and universal 9-year Basic Education, in the country.  Its overall objectives are in line with the goals enunciated in Education for All (EFA) Goal and the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal Agenda targeted at ensuring Sustainable Development, Poverty Alleviation, and Strengthening of Democratic Institutions.
The vision of the Universal basic Education Programme of the Federal Government as stated in the (UBEC Annual Report 2006: iii) read thus:
“At the end of the nine years of continuous education, every child should acquire appropriate level of literacy, numeracy, communication, manipulative and life skills; be employable, useful to himself/herself and the society by possessing relevant ethical, moral and civil values”.

Similarly, the mission statement of the UBE Programme as stated in the (UBE Annual Report 2006:iii) reads thus:
“To serve as a Prime energizer of a nation’s movement for the actualization of the nation’s Universal Basic Education Vision, working in concept with all stakeholders thereby mobilizing the nation’s creative energies to ensure the Education For All become the responsibility of all”.
From the above vision and mission statement of the Universal Basic Education programme, it can be deduced that realizing the goals of the programme is not only demanding, challenging and taskful but also requires collaboration and partnership with the relevant stakeholders – such as, Governments Federal, State and Local Governments, private sector/corporate organization.  Non-governmental  Organization (NGOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Civil Society Organization (CSO), Legislatures, Traditional Rulers/Community leaders, Parents, Host Communities of Basic Education Institutions, Donor Agencies/ Development Partners  etc.
More importantly too, the legal framework (the UBE Act 2004) which established the Universal Basic Education Programme categorically emphases active partnership and collaboration between stakeholders for efficient basic education delivery.  This process requires advocacy and social mobilization for education participation, empowerment of communities to take active and greater interest in the education of their children and consequently ownership of the school.
The UBE Act 2004 in Section 9 specifically mandated the Universal Basic Education Commission, the implementing body of the UBE Programme to perform this among others:
“carry out mass mobilization and sensitization of the general public and enter into partnership with communities and all stakeholders in Basic Education with the  aim of achieving the overall objective of free compulsory Universal Basic Education Programme of the Government”. (UBE Act 2004:4)
The Cross River State, Law No. 1 (2006) which established the State UBE Law, in Section 19 (Sub K) also mandated the State Universal Basic Education Board, the implementing body in the State to among others carry out similar function at the State level. That is, mass mobilization and sensitization of the general public and communities in the 18 LGEAs.
From the above, it is apparent that community participation in the Universal Basic Education Programme is a well-planned, articulated and designed activity aimed at achieving the goal of the Universal basic Education Programme of the government.

2.2.1    Rationale for Community Participation in Basic Education Delivery

The important of partnership and collaboration in the delivery of social services cannot be overemphasized in any social formation.  Collaboration allows for the pooling together of resource, skill, manpower to provide better response to a problem.
Mohammed (2009), has identified the rationale for community participation in the delivery of Basic Education as follow:   that Basic Education, like any social service and development issue cannot be left in the hands of government  alone, that Development stakeholder including the communities have a vast pool of human and financial resource that can be applied to achieve better basic education delivery services; that entrepreneurial dynamics are relevant and most necessary for improving the quality and relevant, and most necessary for improving the quality and relevant of basic education services offered by public institutions. Importantly, too, that current global reform prescribes strong collaboration in key areas of social service delivery and existing laws provide adequate opportunity for private sector investment in education amongst others.
Following the launching of the Universal Basic Education Programme in 1999, as a result of the advent of democratic governance, the call for community participation in Basic Education delivery has taken various forms and approaches.  These are self-help project in Schools, Catchment Area-Based Planning, Management and Monitory (CAP-MM), School Based Management Committees, (SBMC), Parents Teachers Association (PTAs), etc. this literature review will be examined in the above line and other layers of community involvement in Education.

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2.2.2    Self-help Intervention in Basic Education Delivery in Nigeria

The use of self-help approach in community development has contributed immensely to the development of many rural communities in developing societies.
The literature reviewed by the researcher on the Killite Self-help project in Kenya saw the excitement of the people which was exhibited in their actions as follow:
“Your fund has made us what we are – we are now able to produce enough to eat.  We have no problem of school fees for our children, we thank you much for this”. (Maungan Welfare Farmers group 2010-Self-help-ww.killi Self-help).
The above expression by the leader of the Mungun welfare farmer group of Killi Self-help project in Kenya was a reaction to the assistance granted them to grow Bio-Intensive method of organic farming and soil fertility management.
Many rural communities of Africa have enjoyed similar gesture through Self-help intervention which has improved the social economic lives of the people and area. Self-help intervention in Basic Education which is the main focus of this study evolved as a strategy to involve the community and private sector in the delivery of basic education through the initiation, execution, administration and ownership of designated school projects.
The Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Dr. Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed stated the objectives of the Self-help project as contained in the (UBE self-help  implementation manual 2009:6) thus:
“the Self-help Project is designed to provide support toward the execution of priority-based projects in public schools with the view to enhancing access, equity and quality in basic education  delivery in Nigeria”.
Mohammed (2009) in a related fora added that the Universal basic Education Commission (UBEC) adopted the Self-help intervention strategy in basic Education delivery as a strategy toward rectifying the educational imbalance among communities within States and among the various States of the federation who for one reason or the other are adjudged educational disadvantaged.  That Self-help projects became an opportunity and avenue provided for disadvantaged communities to collaborate with government agencies in initiating, funding, and execution of access, equity and quality based education project mostly needed for improved basic education delivery in Nigeria.
The Universal Basic Education Programme of the Federal Government lays much emphases on the adoption of Self-help intervention as a strategy to encourage Multi-sectorial partnership as a prerequisite for effective implementation of the UBE Programme in all facet.  The strategy seeks to galvanize grassroots, stakeholders support for Education Service delivery to achieve “Education for all is the responsibility of all”.  Before the enactment of the Universal Basic Education UBE Act 2004, there had existed the World Bank assisted Primary Education Project II.  Under this, the World Bank through its Primary School Small Scale Self-help Project PEP II and III assisted communities in the renovation/rehabilitation of classroom blocks, provision of Teacher/Pupil furniture, Library Development, Provision of Toilets, Portable Water in Schools.  These projects were funded with the assistance from the World Bank primary Education Intervention programme with support from the communities.  The communities were expected to make a counterpart contribution in cash, kind or both.
The then National Coordinator of the Universal basic Education commission (UBEC), Professor Gidado Tahir, during the flagged off ceremony of the World bank Self-help Project in Kano on the 12th November, 2001, stated thus:
“the willingness of the World Bank to support the Federal Government move for rural development via Self-help project in education calls for diligence in the implementation of the plan under the Primary Education Project II”. (UBE News Letter 2001.4)
The World Bank Primary Education Self-help Projects in schools which lasted between 2001-2004 was carried out in 3 phases.  These were pilot/phase I, phase II and phase III embarked across public primary schools in the 36 States of the federation including FCT, Abuja.  The projects ranged from renovation/rehabilitation of classroom blocks, provision of furniture, library development, and provision of 6 compartment toilets to provision of access roads in schools. The execution of these projects required counterpart contribution from the school communities which may be in cash, kind or both.  Contribution in kind were in the form of supply of sand, gravels water, timber, manual labour, etc.
According  to Tahir (2004), the adoption of the small  scale Self-help Community initiated projects in schools by UBEC was influenced by the report and recommendation from series of policy dialogue at the various levels (zonal and national) which revealed that there was a need for participatory funding and administration of primary education by user of the services (parent, communities) and the traditional providers of the of the service goal and (private sector operators as best strategies for effective and efficiency in primary education.
The expected objectives and outcome of the World bank Small Scale Self-help projects as outlined in the (Self-help project manual 2004:10) are follows:
    Increase enrolment of school aged children
    Increase retention rate of school aged children from 65% to at least 85% at the end of intervention period.
    Non-gender bias in the enrolment and attendance of school by school aged.
    Increase average scores of pupils on standardized test at supported schools.
    Increase teachers’ commitment to their job, while pupils willingly participate in school activities.
    More parents’ involvement in manning and management of school and show of understanding in the value of education and as a result becomes vanguard for achieving access, quality and equity in schooling.
    Mutual sense of accomplishment between the school and community and vice versa.
Its apparent from the above that the objective is to utilize all logistic, administrative and management mechanism to achieve the goals of Education for All, and the Millennium Development thrust.  The involvement of the community no doubt is to reduce to the barest minimum all the snags, bottlenecks and challenges that hitherto hindered parents from sending their wards to school.  Communities are here involved as co-owners in the initiation, execution of various school based activities form teaching/learning to policy formulation and implementation.
Its suffice to mention that the support fund for the world bank self-help project in schools came from the World Bank credit fund for Primary Education improvement in Nigeria, while the counterpart fund came from the host school community

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2.2.3    Cap-MM self-help programme
Cap-MM is an acronyn which means; Catchment Area-Based Planning, Management and monitoring.  This was another form of community participation in Basic Education delivery programme that had existed in the development of Primary Education in Nigeria.  The strategy which can also be seen as a form of Self-help assistance seeked the joint effort of stakeholders like the government, individuals, corporate bodies, communities, etc in the development of schools as well as encourage pupil enrolment and retention.
The programme according to SPEBCO, March 2004, the quarterly publication of the then State Primary Education Board, Calabar created enormous impact in schools/communities in Cross River State.  Under the scheme, material like cements, roofing sheets were procured and distributed to communities to embark on Self-help.  The essence was to encourage communities to actively participate in the rehabilitation of their schools rather than waiting solely on the government.
The same SPEBCO reported that between 2000-2001, 8,357 bags of cements and 1596 bundles of zinic were distributed to 98 primary schools in Cross River State to assist communities in the rehabilitation of dilapidated school structures under the CAP-MM Programme as shown in the table below:

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