by Chinedu Brown
Usually, Universal Basic Education Commission request that State SUBEBs submits their action plans before they can be allowed to access the matching grant. The action plan is a statement of what each state would do with the funds when given. It is like a budget on what the state SUBEBs intend using the matching grants for if accessed.
According to the recent tweet chat session held by HDI on this issue, SUBEBs’ Action Plans are breakdown of Universal Basic Education (UBE) intervention programmes activities to be implemented showing the costs and timelines. The document should be made public for citizens’ participation in monitoring and tracking UBE funds utilization”.
It is important that the states make public their action plans for public participation and engagement. The only way accessed UBE funds can be tracked is when citizens are armed information about what the fund is meant to be used for. But contrary to that, states keep secret their action plans, thus making it difficult to track and monitor the funds and the activities it was used to finance.
This is important if we must achieve accountability and transparency in the utilization of UBE funds accessed by state SUBEBs.
There were even unconfirmed reports that some states go to banks to get their counterpart funding in other to access the matching grants, after which they return the loan and then embezzle the matching grants. This is exactly what happens when there is no information on what the funds were used for, it is difficult to track and monitor.
It is also important that states includes stakeholders in the drafting of the action plans, the government needs to be all inclusive, citizens in the various educational districts should be invited to give suggestion on what should be contained in the action plans. Consideration should be given to people in far flung areas of each state who do not have access to quality education because of their location, especially people leaving in riverine areas.
Ask questions on how UBE funds are used in your state, demand that states action plans are made public so as to effectively track the fund, hold government accountable.