December 30, 2021

UBEC, TETFUND, and NABTEB establishment ACT not yet reviewed, as the House of Representatives break another Promise

Promise: Review the UBEC, TETFUND and NABTEB establishment Acts to build-in incentives and mechanisms to promote entrepreneurial skills, vocational technical education, STEM, and adult education.

Abiola Durodola
Last Updated
January 1, 2022
min read

In 2020, barely a year after the ninth assembly resumed legislative duties, the House of representatives in Nigeria under Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila promised to prioritize education after the review of it its legislation agenda document.

Gbajabiamila noted that the education system is producing graduates who cannot compete in the 21st-century knowledge economy while delivering his remark during the unveiling of the updated legislative agenda. In the document, an immediate term legislative action to be taken by the legislators was the promotion of entrepreneurial and technical skills by reviewing the Universal Basic Education (UBEC) Act, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), (Establishment) Act and the National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB) Act with a deadline set for May 2021.

In recent years, Nigeria’s education sector has witnessed downward spiral as it becomes overburdened by the increasing population growth in the country. This has left many of the country’s young population to a moribund education sector characterized by dilapidated classrooms, overcrowded classes and poor laboratories. In Nigeria, successive administrations both in the legislative and executive arm have promised to overhaul the education system by promoting entrepreneurship, but many people are yet to see these promises come to fulfilment.

The House of Assembly had promised to consult with relevant stakeholders to review existing laws to identify gaps and come up with draft Bills which will be presented and passed by the House. The document further explained that the lower chamber would also engage Senate and the Executive for accelerated concurrence to the Bills and to get the Bills assented to.

In the wake of the rising unemployment and the bulging youth population in Nigeria, experts have also continued to underscore the importance of vocational education and entrepreneurial skills to the country. Bukola Iluyomade, an entrepreneur and a property expert noted that “one of the ways to curb youth unemployment and restiveness is the embracing of apprenticeship instead of chasing non-extent white-collar jobs”. She further noted the need for resuscitation and establishment of more technical colleges and the revival of the manufacturing sector of the country.

After the expiration of the time promised by the assembly for the legislative action, we tracked the bills to ascertain the progress. We understand that none of the establishment acts were reviewed, passed and assented to by the executive arm of the government.

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment) Act (Amendement) Bill, 2019 which was sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno from Borno State was stalled at the first reading in August 2019. The bill was represented in the lower chmaber by Hon. Kpam Jimin Sokpo but yet to scale past first reading since May, 2021. In the same vein, the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which was sponsored by the Hon. Waive Francis from Delta State have also been stalled at its first reading in February 2021.

On the other hand, the National Business and Technical Examinations Board Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was only introduced in August 2021 by Hon. Julius Ihonvbere three months after the date promised by the lower chamber for the actualization of the promise.

While the Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila have continued to restate his commitment to education on several occasions, it is apparent that the assembly have failed to achieve one of the its promises as contained in its “Contract with Nigerians”.

Therefore, we rate this promise Broken.