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A Look at the FCT Education Sector

FCT DPPRS TRAINING PROGRAM

The FCT Education Sector, in line with its vision, remains committed to becoming a model of efficient delivery of sustainable qualitative, functional and inclusive education. Its mission expresses this by committing to providing for its stakeholders accessible, qualitative and relevant educational services designed to empower learners with knowledge, skills and moral values for the challenges of globalization.

 

The mandate for education delivery still derives largely from the 1963 Northern Education law and the FCT Order 1 of 2004. The Minimum Standard Act no. 26 of 1985 reinforces its quality assurance mandate, while the UBE ACT (2004) provides legal backing for its intervention in basic education.

The framework for education delivery is as provided by the National Policy on Education (NPE), the policy thrust of the government as well as other policies approved by the National Council on Education (NCE), and other instruments such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), EFA, UBE and the Vision 20, 2020 also inform its mandate.

 

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Education Policy Framework and its implementation guideline were developed and ratified in 2014. The national framework for School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) ratified by the NCE has also been domesticated. The development of a framework to guide Partnership participation is also on-going and it is hoped that this will enhance the coordination and engagement of non-government actors in the delivery of education in the Capital Territory. A policy framework on special needs and inclusive education is also underway, as work on the document is in progress. However, policy gaps exist on subsisting issues such as School Bus Service, School Feeding, Language in Education, as well as Education in Emergencies and Conflict Situations.

 

The FCT Education Secretariat which coordinates policy development and implementation has been restructured albeit with its three boards - the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), Secondary Education Board (SEB) and the FCT Scholarship Board retaining their status. Two former agencies have been renamed Department of Mass Education (DME) and FCT Department of Science and Technology (DS&T). In the light of the new secondary school curriculum, there is currently overlap of functions of SEB and DS&T. While DS&T has the responsibility for five (5) Science/Technical schools, following the vocationalization of the secondary school curriculum, SEB is also responsible for coordinating Science and Technical Education in 79 Senior Secondary Schools. Moreover, the functions of DS&T in vocational training tend to overlap with the function of DME.

 

The Education Resource Centre (ERC) provides academic support services such as measurement & evaluation, teacher professional development, curriculum/teaching scheme development, mentorship and so on, while the scholarship Board manages scholarship awards for indigent and exceptional students. A Department of Higher Education was created in 2012 to coordinate the activities of tertiary education in the capital territory and the former Education Planning and Management Information System (EPMIS) division was upgraded to a Department of Policy Planning Research and Statistics (DPPR&S) in 2015. However, the department needs to strengthen the unit on Networking and Information Dissemination to ensure effective communication on the Education Secretariat activities. There is also need to ensure that the FCT Strategic Education Sector Plan (SESP) and the operational plan (SESOP) documents are made available on the FCT EMIS Website for a wider stakeholder awareness and implementation.

 

To align with National Inspectorate reform, the former Department of Policy Implementation (DPI) was renamed Department of Quality Assurance (DQA) thus ceding its policy component to DPPRS but still retaining its structure with seven zonal offices. The DQA is responsible for quality assurance at school level, regulates the establishment, accreditation and re-accreditation of schools. It also undertakes Whole School Evaluation and provides mentoring services for teachers and students. In addition, the DQA recommends teachers who struggle with lesson delivery in the classrooms to the Education Resource Centre (ERC) for further trainings and support. They advise the Education Resource centre on training needs of teachers as gaps are identified during its quality assurance activities. Some Area Councils and LEAs also undertake monitoring and supervisory functions. However, there is no clear delineation of roles of zonal quality assurance officers and supervisors at the Local Education Authorities. Also, the roles of quality assurance officers at the boards and departments in schools, and those of the officers at DQA are not clearly defined to ensure synergy in quality assurance activities in the sector.

 

Two units which were in the Department of Policy Implementation (DPI) and were responsible for Gender and School Health Education have been relocated to Department of Administration and Finance under the Education Secretariat headquarters which is not appropriate. A new department for Special Needs Education was created in 2019, which may need to be strengthened to accommodate gender issues and other aspects of inclusive education and conflict issues. There is still insufficient collaboration among departments and units to promote commitment to shared goals and common vision. However, there is limited role definition for some departments and units to avoid duplication of functions and reduce wastage.

 

The six Area Councils are responsible for the payment of the salaries of majority of teachers who are at the primary school level. To address the shortfall in teachers at basic education level, UBEB also recruits and makes direct payment to teachers especially for the junior secondary level. 

 

There is subsisting low engagement with organized private sector and other non-government actors, while Town hall meetings convened by FCT Minister to provide opportunity for dialogue with the civil society on policy issues, are no longer regular. However, zonal meetings with private school proprietors introduced to address the challenges of private education provision are still held regularly. International Development Partners (IDPs) including, UNICEF, UNESCO, World Bank, KOICA, provide technical support and other resource towards quality education delivery. For sustainable implementation of School Based Management Committee (SBMC) policy, UBEC supported SBMC activities with five million Naira in 2012 (for the domestication of the national SBMC guidelines and training) and ten million in 2013 (for training and strengthening of SBMCs). Consequently, SBMCs have been established in 577 (91%) of primary schools, 152 (90%) of junior secondary schools and 56 (93%) of senior secondary schools as at 2019. However, the proportion of functional SBMCs in primary and junior secondary schools remains as low as 40%.

 

The current priority of the FCT is to adopt a holistic approach to improving learning achievement. To this end, the Secretariat reaffirms its commitment to delivering to stakeholders on the following:

·        Education that promotes efficient Communication, innovation, creativity, problem solving, team work and digital competency skills for school leavers/graduates;

·        Education that qualifies school leavers to get admission into higher institutions;

·        Education that makes for self-reliance, employability and lifelong learning;

·        Education that promotes peaceful coexistence amongst its citizenry;

·        Education that re–enacts high moral values;

·        Education that promotes learning in safe and friendly environment;

·        Supportive environment for enhanced teacher efficiency and effectiveness;

·        Ensure that learners attain their maximum potentials at every level.


Courtesy: FCT Department of Policy, Planning, Research & Statistics (DPPRS).

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