By: Victor IHIDERO, Kaduna
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Connected Development (CODE) has called on the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to involve communities in the implementation of Universal Basic Education Commission’s (UBEC) intervention projects.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, Malam Hamzat Lawal made the call on Thursday while presenting the NGO’s one-year tracking report entitled, “Tracking UBE Spending in Kaduna State, Annual Report Year 1”.
Lawal explained that the NGO, supported by MacArthur Foundation is tracking the implementation of UBEC intervention funds in 70 schools in the state.
He said the exercise began mid 2017 with 23 selected schools in Jema’a, Kajuru, Kudan and Zangon Kataf Local Government Areas of the state, and involves assessing the quality of projects awarded under the fund.
According to him, the organisation has tracked 16 projects under the state 2014 UBE Action Plan and seven captured in the 2015 plan.
He explained that most of the projects tracked in 14 schools were of poor quality.
“Feedback from School Monitoring Teams, comprising Community Based Organisations, School-Based Management Committees, Nigerian Union of Teachers and other stakeholders indicated that the contractors are cutting corners to make more profits.
“Their reports showed that the contractors in most cases are not using the right cement mixture; not using the recommended ceiling and roofing sheets among others.
“Our findings equally revealed that community leaders are not carried along during project implementation.
“In fact, some of them had no idea of projects being implemented in their area until we engaged them. This is a huge gap in terms of sustainability, “he said.
According to him, poor monitoring was largely responsible for the poor quality of work done by the contractors.
He called on SUBEB to create synergy between contractors and community leaders and allow school based management committees to act in a sufficiently autonomous manner in project monitoring and reporting to ensure quality.
Lawal also advised to conduct needs assessment to determine what communities require in their schools during the design of its action plan.
Responding, SUBEB Executive Chairman, Malam Nasiru Umar, thanked CODE for supporting the state in ensuring value for resources.
Umar, represented by a permanent member of the board, Mrs Mary Ambi, said that the report would enable the board address all identified loopholes in its projects implementation.
“I assure you that we will block all the loopholes observed and work to strengthen our community and stakeholders engagement in the implementation of UBEC projects for quality.
“We will also strengthen the capacity and professionalism of our Technical Officers in local government areas to ensure contractors strict adherence to provisions in Bill of Quantities’’, she said.
A copy of the report indicates that CODE, through its Follow the Money Initiative, had in the last five years tracked and monitored public spending in 50 rural communities in 20 states across the country.