THE Federal Government has expressed determination to reform basic education to make it more responsive to the demands of the 21st century society.

Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Hamid Bobboyi, who disclosed this, also charged state governments to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning in the various schools across the country.

He spoke at a strategic meeting with quality assurance officers of the Universal Basic Education Commission and State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) in Abuja.

He told the officers that the worth of the meeting and training lies in their ability to use the knowledge skills acquired to improve performance in the course of quality-assuring schools.

“The meeting could not have come at a better time than now when efforts are being made to reform the basic education sub-sector to make it more responsive to the demands of the 21st century society.

“In doing this, our quality assurance mechanisms must also be reformed so as to deliver our expectations,” Bobboyi said

He reminded the officers that the Federal Government does not own basic education schools, saying schools are owned by the states and that there was the need to work very closely with them in the various areas to ensure that quality is assured and proper learning takes place in them.

He said: “As professionals, you need no convincing that quality assurance is an important component of the teaching and learning process. It ensures that school services consistently meet set standards; that content aligns with established educational standards and that the materials are relevant, appropriate, supportive and effective for the learners.

“Quality assurance involves the analysis and assessment of the interplay between all elements (environment, personnel, materials, and processes) in the school system for the purpose of determining how they combine to impact teaching and the learning outcomes.

“It goes further to prescribe what actions should be taken to remedy shortcomings to improve efficiency and effectiveness. In fact, quality assurance helps to determine whether what goes on in the school and its environment will lead to the achievement of the objectives of the school.

“As you are already aware, the above place a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders. In the discharge of your duties, you are being called upon to strive to ensure that there is constant improvement and accountability in the school system,” he stated.

The UBEC boss pledged the commitment of the commission towards providing the quality assurance officers with the wherewithal that would facilitate their effective performance, noting that he was aware of the importance of their responsibilities.

Bobboyi revealed that the e-quality assurance which came into operation a few years ago has greatly improved the way quality assurance was being done, stressing that it has not only saved the Commission the inconvenience of manually administering the paper-based instruments, but it has led to timely reporting, which is essential for prompt decision making.

“We will continue to strengthen the e-quality practice through regular updating of the software, provision of more tools and devices and training of personnel,” he said.

He also announced at the meeting that the report of the 2022 National Learning Assessment in Basic Education (NALABE), in which the UBEC and SUBEB Departments of Quality Assurance, played leading roles, is almost ready and would be presented to the public in due course.

He recalled that the activity was supported by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), CITO (Netherland) and the International Association of Educational Assessment (IAEA Netherland), was the first ever large-scale assessment conducted in Nigeria.

He said the success of the exercise led to Nigeria being invited to join in the conduct of Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (LaNA) in collaboration with IAEA in 2023.

Also speaking, Bala Zakari, the Deputy Executive Secretary (Technical), UBEC, urged staff of quality assurance departments to take their responsibilities seriously.

“We can only be sure that all the investment into basic education can only be realized, if the work of quality assurance officers is quite effective.

“Because when classrooms are built, furnitures provided, text books provided and our teachers are professionally trained, we can ascertain the impact of this if you do your job well.

“I hope you’ll sit up to expectations and properly drive the process for which the commission in collaboration with SUBEBs will realize it’s own mandate of implementing basic education in the country. Our single mandate is to ensure that the Nigerian child receives quality basic education,” he said.