The Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board (CR-SUBEB) has recently held a stakeholders sensitization meeting on the implementation of the 2019 School Based Management Committee-School Improvement Programme (SBMC-SIP) projects in the State.
The one day meeting which held at PCN Primary School Akim, Calabar, had in attendance all Education Secretaries of Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs), Desk Officers SBMC-SIP of Northern, Southern and Central Senatorial Zones, amongst others.
Addressing participants during the meeting, the Board Secretary, SUBEB, Mr Cyril Itam extended gratitude to UBEC for the SBMC-SIP Initiative. He stated that the programme affords States the opportunity to have more infrastructural development in schools, especially in hard to reach Communities.
According to him, “I thank UBEC for introducing what I may call an expanded programme. It is common knowledge that SUBEB annually accesses matching grant and you know we have over 1000 primary schools across the state. This matching grant we access is not enough to carry out the number of construction and rehabilitation of school projects we have across the state. That is why I am really happy with the SBMC-SIP Initiative. Funds from SIP may not be as robust as that of the matching grant but it will help in reaching more communities. We have a lot of hard-to-reach communities due to our difficult terrain that this SIP will be of benefit to.”
He urged stakeholders involved in selecting beneficiary schools to prioritize those in hard to reach communities in order to not only improve decaying structures but also give pupils a sense of belonging.
Deputy Director Social Mobilization, UBEC, Malam Ibrahim Yusuf said the meeting was necessary to sensitize stakeholders on the process of selection of beneficiary schools in order to ensure fairness and equity. He added that it was also important to re-orientate education stakeholders, government agencies/officials on the need for participatory school governance with a view to securing sustained and meaningful participation at all levels.
In his welcome address, the Director Social Mobilization, SUBEB, Mr Francis Asaru said SBMCs is a government policy set up to encourage communities to take ownership of schools in other to curb vandalism, truancy and to support government efforts for quality education through infrastructural development.
According to him, “The school belongs to the people and that’s the gospel that SBMC preaches. If the community is involved in ensuring that the project is executed to completion, they will equally be involved in protecting it,” He emphasized.
Speaking on the need to foster a healthy School-Community relationship, the State Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Samuel Inyang stated that the role of the community in promoting educational development cannot be overemphasized.
According to him, “For the community to be able to perform this function and for the school to benefit there must be a healthy school-community relationship. I mention this because in the past we have had complaints of communities encroaching into the schools’ land causing friction and crises. We have also heard of community members attacking teachers in the classroom. If there is no healthy relationship, development cannot be achieved and sustained.”