An evaluation of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) libraries in selected states in South-West Nigeria.

Author:Sote, Adetoun


The library serves as the nerve centre of all educational institutions and a crucial factor in the educational development of men at all levels especially in educational institutions. It is associated with all forms of education; formal, informal and non-formal. It consists of a collection of a collection of books and other materials maintained and managed for reading, consultation, study and research and organized to provide access to users, with a well-trained staff to provide services to meet the needs of its users. The library, which is the hub of any educational set up, provides information and idea that are fundamental to functioning successfully in the increasingly information and knowledge-based society. The library is, therefore, able to equip pupils and students' imagination, thereby enabling them to live as responsible citizens (IFLA/UNESCO, 2002).

The school library is committed to the development of the basic education sector, which is the foundation of any educational set-up. The need for adequate provision of information materials, staff, infrastructural facilities, accommodation is essential for school library to perform its role effectively. School libraries are established to support the educational curriculum of schools, which could only be achieved through various means such as the provision of relevant library resources, which are relevant with the school curricula, provision of various information services ranging from technical to readers services (Markless and Streatifield 2004).

However, a school library should have a balanced collection which must include printed and non-printed materials, electronic materials and audio-visuals. The balanced collection should also include materials for leisure purposes such as novels, music, computer games, videocassettes, video laser discs and magazines, among others. These kinds of materials may be selected in cooperation with the students to ensure it reflects their interests and culture without crossing reasonable limits of ethical standards.

The influence and importance of libraries for young people has been extensively discussed as the library is considered as having the most positive effect on young people. Libraries are specially established for every intellectual institution. It is really essential and necessary for the primary school, since it constitutes a big and rare treasure

A school library collection is a repository of knowledge with specific emphasis on the school curriculum. Thus, a standard school library offers a wide range of materials that can answer the question, of developing the mind of the students. According to Elaturoti (1998) learning resources for school libraries consist mainly of print and non-print media. The print media include books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, brochures, handbills and ephemerals]. However, books constitute the bulk of print materials in the school libraries, the non-print materials comprise of photographs, slide, audio tapes, film strips, motion films, video tapes, computers and realia.

The National Policy on Education, from which the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) derives its establishment clearly states the objectives of Nigerian education and indicates that the philosophy of the nation's education is based on the integration of the individual into a sound and effective citizen and the provision of equal opportunities for all citizens at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels inside and outside the formal school system. The curriculum for the various levels therefore aims at fulfilling the objectives of the policy. The basic education (primary) is given emphasis because it is at this level that a sound educational foundation ought to be given. Education at this level (primary) is expected to develop permanent literacy and numeracy and the laying of a sound base for scientific reflective thinking (Fayose, 1995).

The introduction of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programmes is aimed at reforming specifically, the basic education sector and the Nigerian Education sector in general. One of the objectives of the blueprint for the resuscitation of the basic education sector according to Adediran (2003) is "enhancing and energizing the curricular and its delivery. Thus UBEC libraries are established to promote to promote reading culture in Nigerian schools as well as enhancing and energizing the curricular and delivery. The replica of UBEC in the States is known as the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB). The SUBEBs also have responsibilities for establishing libraries in the states. SUBEB libraries are supposed to be able to adequately provide library and information resources and services that will meet the needs of pupils and teachers as well as support school curricula. SUBEB libraries are designed to serve as model school libraries and benchmark for school libraries development.

State Universal Primary Education Board (SUBEB), an offshoot of UBEC in the states, is established to address the inequality in educational opportunity at the basic level and improving the quality of its provision. The programme was introduced by the Federal government to remove distortions and inconsistencies in basic education delivery and reinforce the implementation of the National Policy on Education as well as to ensure access, equity and quality of basic education throughout the country. According to Adediran (2003) the establishment of SUBEB libraries can be traced to the need to enhance and energize the curriculum and its delivery.

The importance of school libraries cannot be over-emphasized. The school library has major and significant role to play in supporting and enhancing educational goals as authored in the school's mission and curriculum. It has come in the wake of making teaching and learning more meaningful and enriched for children. For a long time, teachers depend on their notes of lessons, textbooks and rote learning dominated the school system. Education was teacher centred rather than child centred. The inadequacy of teacher's notes of lessons and learning by note was later dumped as people realized that learning can be enhanced and accelerated by the use of a wide variety of learning methodologies and resource. The modern school library has therefore become an integral part of the school system.

The UBEC library development blueprint emphasized the establishment of a model library at the headquarters in each State. Also, as part of the development policy each state is to develop a Learning Resource Centre (LRC) in a selected school in each of the Local Government Areas (LGEAs) in each of the states. The LRC is to cater for the information, learning and teaching needs of the teachers, pupils, community people and other users within the Local Government Area. According to Obanya (2001) the development of State and LGEAs LRCs is part of the nationwide school library development programme. They are SUBEB LRCs in each local government in each of the state selected for the study. The LRCs is to cater for the teaching, learning and research needs of pupils, teachers and researchers. The establishment of these LRCs in each Local Government Areas is in line with the Universal Basic Education programme blueprint of the Federal Government. The LRCs is to cater for the formal school training and the non-formal programmes, which are specifically designed for up-dating the knowledge and skills of persons who left school before acquiring the basics needed for life-long learning (Amucheazi, 2001).

SUBEB libraries are established to serve as a model and anchor for school libraries development in Nigeria. Much recognition has been accorded SUBEB libraries as a pivot point around which teaching and learning activities in primary schools in the states revolve. However, they have not been able to perform important role of collecting, processing, storage and making available and accessible information materials to support teaching and learning. Visits to the learning resource centres in LGEAs and SUBEB headquarters libraries in Oyo and Ogun States revealed low patronage by users. Some of the SUBEB libraries and learning resources centres (LRCs) are almost empty as there are very few information resources available in them. This has resulted in low patronage of users as they can not have access to information relevant to their needs. Also the reading habits of pupils and teachers are negatively affected as they were discouraged from using the library.

Thus, this study intends to evaluate the library resources and services of the SUBEB libraries. The study will look into the relevance, recency, adequacy, availability, accessibility and utilization of library resources at the SUBEB libraries. The relevance of services being rendered to the needs of library users, such as pupils and teachers will be examined.

Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of this study include:

* identifying the range of resources and services available in SUBEB libraries in South west, Nigeria.

* assessing the relevance and adequacy of SUBEB library resources, services and infrastructural facilities to the needs of pupils and teachers in the school.

* determine the frequency of utilization of SUBEB libraries by library users.

* identifying the challenges constraining the users in making effective use of SUBEB libraries/LRCs

Literature Review

Universal Basic Education was introduced by the Obasanjo administration in September 1999 in...

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