1.1   Background to the Study

        Education is universally recognized as a fundamental element in human development, acknowledged by the United Nations (UN) as a right for all individuals. Efforts, particularly through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), have been directed towards achieving free universal basic education, with a focus on children. Unfortunately, Lee (2013) highlights that numerous African children still lack access to even basic education. Consequently, governments worldwide, including Nigeria, have expressed concerns about the provision of basic education, albeit sometimes with inconsistent commitment and implementation. Babatunde (2012) cites UNESCO's definition of basic education, encompassing organized education and training addressing adults' basic learning needs, spanning literacy, numeracy, general knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes necessary for survival, development, and informed decision-making. The National Policy on Education emphasizes the compulsory and free nature of basic education, encompassing adult and non-formal education programs at primary and junior secondary levels. The introduction of free and compulsory education in Akwa Ibom State in 2008, under Chief Godswill Akpabio's administration, significantly expanded the State Universal Basic Education Board's (SUBEB) responsibilities. While the initiative abolished various fees and charges in public schools, increasing enrollment, it also led to challenges such as a rise in the teacher-student ratio due to population growth. Okon (2014) points out that some local governments struggle to meet the mandated teacher-student ratio, posing a threat to educational standards. Despite the financial commitment to the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program in Akwa Ibom State, challenges persist, including a lack of legal frameworks to ensure the sustainability of the free and compulsory education scheme. The program faces a shortage of qualified teachers, ineffective monitoring, low teacher motivation, and insufficient community mobilization. Additionally, there are concerns about inadequate learning materials and infrastructure, such as functional libraries and laboratories. The implementation of the UBE program is expected to be a collaborative effort involving multiple stakeholders, but there is currently a low level of community mobilization for effective policy implementation.

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1.3 Objectives of the Study

Specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To identify and examine the major problems facing the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme in Nigeria.
  2. To assess the prospects of the UBE programme in achieving its goals.
  3. To develop recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders on how to improve the implementation and effectiveness of the UBE programme.

1.4 Research Questions

To guide the study and achieve the objectives of the study, the following research questions were formulated:

  1. What are the major problems facing the UBE programme in Nigeria in terms of funding, infrastructure, teacher quality, curriculum, and assessment?
  2. To what extent has the UBE programme achieved its goals of universal access to quality basic education for all children in Nigeria?
  3. What are the prospects of the UBE programme in achieving its goals in the next 5-10 years?
  4. What recommendations can be made for policymakers and stakeholders to improve the implementation and effectiveness of the UBE programme?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

The following research hypothesis was developed and tested for the study:

  1. Ho: There is no statistical significant relationship between Universal Basic Education and Student Attendance.
  2. Hi: There is a statistical significant relationship between Universal Basic Education and Student Attendance.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study is important for many reasons. The following are the major stakeholders this paper through its practical and theoretical implications and findings will be of great significance:

Firstly, the paper will benefit major stakeholders and policy makers in the education sector. The various analysis, findings and discussions outlined in this paper will serve as a guide in enabling major positive changes in the industry and sub-sectors.

Secondly, the paper is also beneficial to the organizations used for the research. Since first hand data was gotten and analysed from the organization, they stand a chance to benefit directly from the findings of the study in respect to their various organizations. These findings will fast track growth and enable productivity in the organisations used as a case study.

Finally, the paper will serve as a guide to other researchers willing to research further into the subject matter. Through the conclusions, limitations and gaps identified in the subject matter, other student and independent researchers can have a well laid foundation to conduct further studies.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study is delimited to sampled respondents in Uyo Metropolis. Findings and recommendations from the study reflects the views and opinions of respondents sampled in the area. It may not reflect the entire picture in the population.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

The major limitations of the research study are time, financial constraints and delays from respondents. The researcher had difficulties combining lectures with field work. Financial constraints in form of getting adequate funds and sponsors to print questionnaires, hold Focus group discussions and logistics was recorded. Finally, respondents were a bit reluctant in filling questionnaires and submitting them on time. This delayed the project work a bit.

1.9 Organization of the Study

The study is made up of five (5) Chapters. Chapter one of the study gives a general introduction to the subject matter, background to the problem as well as a detailed problem statement of the research. This chapter also sets the objectives of the paper in motion detailing out the significance and scope of the paper.

Chapter Two of the paper entails the review of related literature with regards to corporate governance and integrated reporting. This chapter outlines the conceptual reviews, theoretical reviews and empirical reviews of the study.

Chapter Three centers on the methodologies applied in the study. A more detailed explanation of the research design, population of the study, sample size and technique, data collection method and analysis is discussed in this chapter.

Chapter Four highlights data analysis and interpretation giving the readers a thorough room for the discussion of the practical and theoretical implications of data analyzed in the study.

Chapter Five outlines the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the study. Based on objectives set out, the researcher concludes the paper by answering all research questions set out in the study.

1.10 Definition of Terms

  1. Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme:
  • Universal Basic Education refers to a government initiative aimed at providing a standardized and foundational level of education to all citizens, typically encompassing primary and junior secondary education. The UBE Programme strives to ensure that every child has access to quality basic education, regardless of socio-economic background.
  1. Problems:
  • In the context of the UBE Programme, problems refer to challenges, obstacles, or issues that impede the effective implementation and success of the educational initiative. These problems may include infrastructural deficiencies, inadequate funding, teacher shortages, curriculum issues, and other barriers hindering the program's objectives.
  1. Prospects:
  • Prospects denote the potential opportunities, positive outcomes, and future possibilities associated with the Universal Basic Education Programme. Identifying prospects involves examining the program's potential to address educational disparities, enhance literacy rates, and contribute to overall societal development.