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The Federal Government has commenced the conduct of a national assessment of learning achievements in schools across the nation.

The Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Hamid Bobboyi, who made this known on Monday, in Abuja, while briefing newsmen, said the exercise was part of the commitment of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, to reposition basic education in the country.

He also decried the quality of teachers in basic education, adding that most state governments recruit unqualified teachers and pay them “peanuts” as salaries that could not even take care of their transportation.

He said the recent incident in Kaduna State, where a lot of teachers failed simple test administered on them, was a clear indication of the crisis and rot in the basic education sub-sector.

He said the neglect of basic education over the years was responsible for crises that have continued to plague the nation, including the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.

He said: “We have always said that if we do not take care of our basic education in a manner that would lead to a positive outcome, we will end up in crisis.”

Bobboyi, however, said much progress had already been achieved as the Federal Government had already approved N3 billion through UBEC to be used to rehabilitate schools affected by Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east.

“UBEC as part of its intervention is committing N3 billion to ensure that we resuscitate the rudiments of teaching and learning in the area and then, see how we can reconstruct the affected schools,” he said.

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He noted that learning assessment that was last conducted in 2011, would enable the commission gauge the state of basic education and proffer solutions to some of the challenges being faced in the critical sub-sector.

According to him, “the main objective of the assessment is to use quantitative and qualitative methods to assess and determine the efficiency and quality of performance of primary and junior secondary school pupils and students in Nigeria.”

He noted that the assessment would hold between November 22 and 24, adding that the assessment of learners’ achievement was crucial to the implementation of the basic education programme.

He said that the specific objectives included, a collection of data on achievements of learners between Primaries 5 and 6 as well as JSS 2 and JSS3 in core subjects of English studies, Mathematics, Basic Science and Technology and Social Studies.

“For the primary level, the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs), in each of the 36 states, were stratified on the basis of location. Simple random sampling was used to select six LGEAs in the urban and rural locations,” he said.

“The exercise will involve head teachers and teachers of selected Primaries 5 and 6 classes. The sample is to consist of 216 LGEAs, 1080 primary schools, 1080 head teachers, 2160 teachers and 43,200 pupils.

“In the JSS level, 17,280 students and 12,960 parents would participate, 432 principals and 1728 teachers of English, Mathematics, Basic Science and Technology and Social Studies teachers across the JSS 2 and 3 classes will be selected to participate in the study,” he added.

On the sustainability of the assessment, the UBEC boss said Nigeria would maintain an international standard of conducting the exercise.

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