NGOs Task Speaker of House of Representatives on UBE Act Amendment Bill

ABUJA – 06 February 2022 – The Coalition for the Right to Education is deeply concerned and displeased with the delay in the passage of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Amendment Bill by the House of representatives. This legislative setback has contributed to the growing number of out-of-school children across Nigeria.

More than 420 days — December 9, 2020 — since the House of Representatives processed and consolidated the UBE HBs. 519, 552, 554, 794 and 666, no significant progress has been made by the House of Representatives led by Femi Gbajabiamila in improving access for Nigerian children to 12 years of free, compulsory education , quality and safe.

Recall that the Speaker, during his address to the resumed House of Representatives for the 2020 legislative session on January 28, 2020, indicated that the House would devote a special plenary session to consider the issue of the millions of children out of school in Nigeria.

With the expressed desire to address the issue of out-of-school children in the country, one would have thought that the issues of expanding Nigerian children’s access to free, compulsory, quality and safe education up to the second cycle secondary education would top the agenda of the House of Representatives led by Femi Gbajabiamila.

The Coalition hereby urges the Ninth House of Representatives to match promises with performance and expedite legislative and policy actions on the passage of the UBE Act Amendment Bill (2004).

The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Amendment Bill aims to provide a legal framework for free, compulsory, safe and quality education up to the age of twelve, ensure increased funding for education and promote gender-sensitive learning, among others. The bill has been in committee in the House of Representatives since December 2020, despite the myriad of political promises and declarations, advocacy and pressure from civil society and international development organizations.

Reports estimate that 10.2 million children of primary school age are out of school in Nigeria, which is 45% of the figure in West Africa. Over 60% of all children out of primary school are girls.

Girls’ education continues to decline due to the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and insecurity in Nigeria, particularly in the Northern region. Education is a catalyst for sustainable development and plays a key role in economic development, as well as in reducing poverty and child labour.

Although Nigeria is a signatory to several regional and international human rights instruments that affirm the right to education, there is no constitutional guarantee for citizens to have access to free, compulsory, basic education. quality and safe for up to 12 years.

As Nigeria prepares for the 2023 election cycle, the House of Representatives led by Femi Gbajabiamila must treat basic education as an inalienable right of all Nigerian children and provide the necessary legislative and policy support to achieve the goals of development of the country through education. Every child deserves 12 years of free education.

With growing public interest in socio-political activities, Nigerians are fed up with unfulfilled political promises of free, compulsory, quality and safe education. The House of Representatives and other candidates for public office should note that the quest for education will play a vital role in the 2023 decision-making process of many Nigerians.

Basic education up to the age of 12 should not be seen simply as a campaign programme, but as a commitment to national development and social security.

We implore the Ninth House of Representatives under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to make the passage of the UBE Amendment Bill a priority before the 2023 elections.

The Coalition for the Right to Education is a community of international and local organizations led by Malala Fund, PLAN, UNICEF, PLAC, Save The Children, Invictus Africa, YouthHubAfrica and CSACEFA. The coalition supports the process of making the legal framework for basic and secondary education more responsive to current gaps in service delivery around the key result areas of quality, access and systems strengthening.

Specifically, the Coalition for the Right to Education advocates for Nigeria’s urgent alignment with international education frameworks such as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4. Thus, ensuring free, compulsory, quality and safe up to upper secondary level.

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