The Talent Aids Initiative (TAI), has condemned the poor handling of some Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC) intervention projects on migrant schools in Enugu by contractors.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that TAI is an Enugu-based non-governmental organisation funded by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) under the United Kingdom Aid Nigeria SCRAP-C project.
The condemnation followed a report of School-Based Management Committee (SBMC) on UBEC intervention on Migrant Primary School at Ugba Nkwubor, Enugu East LGA of Enugu state during an inspection on Wednesday.
The Executive Director of Talent Aids Initiative, Mrs Ebele Okeke, said that CDD being the grantor of the project was aiming at strengthening accountability and transparency in education and service delivery in Enugu State.
While giving the overview of TAI, She said that the organisation had the mission of facilitating opportunities for children, the youth and women to access basic necessities for growth and development through education, service provision and self-actualisation.
Okeke said the objective of the meeting was to facilitate zero tolerance of service delivery without the inclusion and participation of community members.
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She pointed out that the meeting would demonstrate how communities could leverage on existing structures to report issues with verifiable evidence.
According to her, the community can achieve the purpose by asking the right questions using the dissemination of SBMC findings on UBEC intervention at Migrant School, Ugba Nkwubor as a case study.
“Five members of SBMC are constituted as Education Project Monitoring Team to conduct a social audit on the UBEC intervention in Migrant Primary School, Ugba Nkwubor Enugu.
“TAI trained the team to understand the roles and responsibilities of SBMC and also the use of evidence for engagement.
“The team then embarked on a field inspection of the three classroom blocks with a head teacher’s office.
“They also wrote to ENSUBEB to ascertain the specifications of the buildings,” she said.
Okeke on behalf of TAI thanked everyone for coming and commended their sponsors the CDD and the Uk Aid for their maximum support and promised to always deliver on the mandate.
In the same vein, the secretary of SBMC who was also a member of the five-man committee, Mr Edward Nweke, while presenting the report enumerated their observations as follow: leaking roofs in almost all the classes and broken tiles.
Other are pulling window protectors, cracks on the walls due to lack of pillars and beams, lack of door locks in some classes, lack of handrails at the front view for the safety of children and naked wire connections.
Nweke expressed displeasure with the discovery owing to the fact that the classroom construction was barely a year and urged ENSUBEB to ask the contractor to come back and tidy up the job to avoid the collapse of the building.
The committee recommended that adequate consultations and inclusion of community members/beneficiaries before project implementation, SBMC participation in school projects.
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In his response, the Executive Chairman, Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), Chief Ikeje Asogwa, informed the community that the school project in question had been confirmed as completed by ENSUBEB office.
Asogwa who was represented by the staff member of the board, Mrs Helen Ojei, said it was quite unfortunate that the project was poorly executed as a result of the “less concerned’’ attitude exhibited by the SBMC and community members.
She then encouraged them to learn from their mistake and to always ask questions so as to prevent such mistake from occurring in subsequent projects.
Asogwa said that the only remedy was for the SBMC to find alternative means to carry out the maintenance because it would be difficult to get the contractor back to site since the engineer in charge confirmed completion before the contractor’s final payment.
The ENSUBEB representative encouraged the community members to live up to their responsibility urging SBMC to learn how to ask the right questions whenever they saw any strange project construction of any kind.
She also encouraged them to apply for the construction of toilets and further urged them to clear the school compound to prevent the dry season occasional fire outbreak as a way of protecting the school.