The federal government will on April 29 begin a National Personnel Audit (NPA) to produce a data bank of pupils, students and personnel of public and private basic education schools in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Hamid Bobboyi, said the exercise would be conducted in two phases to give an authentic data on the schools and allow the country know the number of its children out of school.
Mr Bobboyi disclosed this at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the first phase of the “Conduct of 2018 National Personnel Audit (NPA) of all Basic Education Institutions in Nigeria” will be conducted in all states of the three geo-political zones in the southern part of the country from April 29 to May 27.
The second phase of the exercise in all states of the three geo-political zones in the northern part of the country will be from June 3 to 30.
Mr Bobboyi said government believes Nigeria should have its own personal data bank in the basic education sector.
He said the exercise, which was last conducted in 2010, would provide first-hand information on categories of people in school and ascertain the challenges with qualified and unqualified teachers.
According to the Executive Secretary, UBEC is empowered to establish a Basic Education Data Bank and conduct research on basic education in Nigeria.
“Without the audit, we will continue to grope on challenges and implement policies that are not related to the problems on the ground,” he said.
“We need data and good statistics to support strategic plan for the development of education because no plans can be implemented without data”.
Mr Bobboyi added that the two-months exercise will involve the process of data gathering for effective planning of the Nigerian Basic education sector.
“Its more about information gathering and sourcing out data for planning. Although this was carried out in 2006 and 2010, I will suggest it should be done every three years to aid effective planning of the basic education sector.”
He clarified that the national personnel audit programme otherwise called school census is not about taxation (financial audit) for private basic schools but rather to count everybody within the education sector.
The UBEC boss said the commission has trained its staff on the use of Geographical Information system and GPS to get proper coordinates of schools and their locations.
“The commission introduced the use of smart technology to fast-track electronic enrollment of personnel and other core aspects of the school census programme”, he said.
Mr Bobboyi also dismissed the data indicating 10. 5 million Nigerian children are out of school as not reliable.
He said Nigeria needs to compile a new data as many children have gone back to school while some other ones have been displaced by an insurgency.
According to him, a lot of statistics Nigeria has are being bandied around “but we need data we can rely on”, noting that most times there are conflicting data.
Mr Bobboyi said there will not be a balanced society without the public schools flourishing, noting that both private and public schools need to be harnessed in order to strike a balance in indigenous education.
“We can no longer work with 10.5 million out of school figure. We need the public to be aware that the National Personal Audit will cover all teachers, pupil and personnel in public and private education institutions (schools, SUBEBs and LGEAs).
“The public also needs to know that it is a personal audit and not a financial audit,” he said.
He said that strategic planning cannot be successful without a data and “if the foundation of the basic education is shaking, we are jeopardising the future of the sector.
“For instance, there are lots of private schools in the South than the North and some of the private schools are the money-making machine”, Mr Bobboyi said.
Speaking at the event, chairman of the National Planning Committee, Edwin Jarumai, said the 2018 personal audit is the first of its kind as the commission has been granted access to private schools.
Mr Jarumai said the audit will enable the commission to know the number of students in Nigeria’s primary and junior secondary schools, noting that the body in charge of senior secondary school will commence theirs soon.
He said about 725 staff including developmental partners would be deployed for the exercise across the nation.
He said it is essential for the country to carry out a personal audit at intervals as it will enable accountability in the basic education sector.
Mr Jarumai said the audit will address the challenge of the inadequacy of education data for effective planning and implementation of programmes in the sub-sector.
“The personnel audit will also help obtain comprehensive and reliable data of children of school-going age enrolled in basic education schools,” he stressed.
UBEC is a Federal Government agency saddled with coordinating all aspects of the Universal Basic Education programme implementation in Nigeria.