Toryila KAJO, Makurdi
Benue state government in the past has not been assessing funds from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for the provision of infrastructural development of primary education which has piled up to the tune of N3.8 billion in the past eight years.
The Executive Chairman of Benue State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Philip Tachin who disclosed this in Makurdi said the federal government has allocated funds but states are to give their counterparts so as to match it together for the development of schools.
“These funds were not accessed in the past because the then government has been failing to pay the required counterpart in order to claim it. Today, governor Samuel Ortom is making efforts to raise another N3.8billion to match it so that together, we will have about N7.6 billion so as to begin in primary schools in honest”. He said UBEC has the percentage that goes to infrastructure and other areas and the Benue state have to work strictly in those directions.
The SUBEB chairman disclosed that at present, the primary teachers’ population is put at between 20,000 to 24,000 but that investigation is ongoing so as to ascertain the exact figure since there is high suspicion of ghost teachers in the system; pointing out that he has devised a method to get an accurate data for proper planning.
On the issue of free primary education as canvassed by the Ortom administration, Dr. Tachin noted that he has not seen any complication in it. According to him, “the first thing is that when you compare with the private schools, it receive fees from children in order to run their schools such as payment of teachers salaries while government pay teachers’ salaries, provide chalks, teaching and learning materials.
He continued that when such funds are received, the Ortom administration will ensure the availability of materials to primary schools for free text books and other essential materials and there will be no point asking parents to pay money since government has made provision for everything a pupil needs to study from the beginning to the graduation point.
Responding to a question, the SUBEB chairman explained that since assumption of duty some three months ago, he has issued out letters of normalization to some deserving teachers who have professional NCE and later acquired degree for them to earn their rightful grades; pointing out that some Education Secretaries in the habit of demanding N3,000 from teachers before releasing the normalization letters to them to desist or face sanction
Benue Yet To Access N3.8Bn UBEC Funds – Chairman
Toryila KAJO, Makurdi