By Philip Yatai
A Non Governmental Organisation, Connected Development (CODE), is training 60 stakeholders to monitor utilisation of funds released for UBEC projects in 70 primary schools in Kaduna State.
The NGO’s Senior Programme Manager, Mr Chambers Umezulike, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Kaduna that the goal was to build the capacity of non government stakeholders at the grassroots to effectively monitor the spending.
He said that the training began on Tuesday with 30 representatives from School-Based Management Committees, Community Based Organisations, Parent Teachers Association and Nigerian Union of Teachers.
According to him, the project, supported by MacArthur Foundation, would track the implementation of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) projects in Jema’a, Kajuru, Kudan and Zangon Kataf Local Government Areas.
“We have given them the list of projects, the amount and the bill of quantity, starting with 23 schools under 2014 work plan.
“Out of the 23 schools, 16 projects have been awarded at a cost of N266.8 million in the selected LGAs.”
He added that 30 officials of Kaduna SUBEB would also be trained on data collection to address the challenges affecting the board’s monitoring and evaluation component.
One of the participants, Mr John Kajang, SBMC Chairman, Zangon Kataf local government, described the training as an “eye opener” for stakeholders in local communities.
Kajan said the training would equip local communities with relevant information on capital project releases, to enable them monitor the implementation.
NAN recalls that the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Malam Hamzat Lawal, had noted that the education sector was facing challenges of inadequate infrastructure, facilities, insufficient textbooks and instructional materials.
He said during a stakeholders meeting in Kaduna in September, that the situation had resulted in high pupils/teacher ratio and left 50 per cent of children out of school.
According to him, although UBEC is primarily set up to address the challenges, most rural communities have no relevant knowledge to monitor projects earmarked for them.
“Our mission is to improve access to information and empower local communities with the capacity to monitor implementation of projects to ensure transparency and accountability in capital expenditure in rural communities,” Lawal had said.(NAN)