A not-for-profit organisation, the Center for Social Awareness, Advocacy, and Ethics (CSAAE), has expressed worry over the “poor performance” of public primary education and healthcare delivery in the South-East.
The Founder of CSAAE, Rev. Fr. Godswill Agbagwa, made the remark on Thursday in Owerri during the unveiling of a 44-page report conducted between 2021 and 2022 on South-East Public Primary Education and Healthcare Delivery.
He said that the organisation, funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, was dedicated to social development and the advancement of good governance, accountability, and efficient delivery of public services.
“In 2021, we launched the Local Government Good Governance Monitor (LGGM) and built the capacity of 190 youths as champions to monitor public education and healthcare delivery in 95 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the South-East.
“The LGGM project lasted for 23 months, during which the LGGM champions visited 1,387 public schools and 534 primary healthcare centers in the region for data collection.
“We designed the project in such a way that we could get into the communities to see how the councils are performing based on minimum standards provided by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency of Nigeria (NPHCDA),” Agbagwa said.
He further said that most primary schools in the region were not conducive for learning, citing the lack of doors, toilets, and adequate teachers.
He also said that most primary healthcare facilities lacked doctors, at least four nurses, and ambulances for operational services.
“About 80 per cent of the primary schools do not have toilets thus making pupils and teachers, sometimes, to engage in open defecation when pressed.
“It is a shame that our primary schools do not have toilets where our children can go to ease themselves.
“UBEC says that every primary school in Nigeria must have perimeter fence and there must be a security guard in every school.
“But findings revealed that most of these public schools in the region have no fence, let alone security guards,” Agbagwa said.
He further lamented the absence of water in most of the public primary schools visited.
He said: “No state scored more than 29 per cent in the provision of a minimum of two toilets for male and female.
“Looking at the information from data analyzed, one could see that between 2021 and 2022, only Ebonyi scored more than 50 per cent in quality and inclusive primary education delivery based on UBEC’s minimum standards.
“In fact, Ebonyi, the best-performing state in the zone, exceeded 50 percent with just 1.56 percent, while Imo came a distant second with 42.32 percent.
“Anambra came third with 39.21 per cent; Enugu came fourth with 33.28 per cent while Abia came last with 29.26 per cent,” he said.
In the area of healthcare delivery, Agabgwa said that Abia emerged the best performing state, scoring 53.46 per cent.
“This means that only 53.46 per cent of Primary Healthcare Centers in Abia met NPHCDA’s minimum standards,” he said.
He said that Ebonyi came in second with 52.79 percent, Imo third with 52.57 percent, Anambra fourth with 52.43 percent, and Enugu fifth with 40.79 percent.
“We also looked at how the LGs contributed towards primary healthcare and primary education, and discovered that some of the council officials complained of lack of resources, portfolio and power to execute projects in the sectors under review.
“Sometimes they complained that SUBEB and the Ministry of Education performed their constitutional duties rather than work with the LG Education Authorities.
“This brings to bear the need to redefine the roles of the LG authorities and the roles of the state agencies, who have taken advantage to usurp the roles of the LGs.
“We got our data and an analyst to discover that the South-East is lagging behind generally.
The truth is that all of them performed poorly,” he said.
However, Agbagwa said that in spite of the general poor performance, some LGAs distinguished themselves for development in the sectors.
He said that Udenu LGA emerged the best performing LG in the South East, in terms of education, “but interestingly, Enugu is the second worst performing state in the South-East.”
Agbagwa called for urgent interventions to rescue and strengthen the LG system to improve the standards in primary education and primary healthcare delivery.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to 15 persons, including former LG Chairmen for their contributions to the improvement in the primary education and healthcare delivery in their areas