Department of Educational Management,

University of Ilorin


Phone: 08033906694 



Department of Educational Foundations,

Faculty of Education and Extension Services,

Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.


Phone: 08035448236



YISA, Habibat Madami 

Department of Educational Management,

Faculty of Education,

University of Ilorin


Phone: 08063066649



Being a Paper Presented at the 3rd  National Conference organized by National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Ondo on a theme Educational Planning and Administration for Integrity, Accountability and Development Held at Ondo between 27th to 30th  October, 2015


This paper discussed how improving School-Based Management Committee (SBMC) strategies can promote integrity, accountability and development in Northern Nigeria’s basic schools. The paper went ahead to explain the concept of universal basic education, school-based management, and school-based management committee. Strategy and school-based management strategies were also discussed in the paper. Resource mobilization, resource control, advocacy, communication and monitoring are the categories of SBMC strategies discussed in this paper. The challenges affecting the way SBMCs use their strategies as examined in this paper include lack of teachers’ co-operation in the SBMC, lack of expertise among SBMC members, lack of devotion among SBMC members, and poor SBMC activities planning. The paper recommended that SBMC even though voluntary, should not be made open to people who are completely illiterate and ignorant of the aims and goals of SBM programme. it is also recommended that SBMC membership should be available to people with means of sustenance. This could reduce the effect of poverty among SBMC members.

Keywords: School-Based Management, Basic Education, Integrity, Accountability, Development



The Dakar Framework for Action invited different national governments to develop plans of action on ‘Education for All’ (EFA) before the end of 2002 (Dakar Framework of Action, 2000; Abu-Duhuo, 1999). In response to this call, Nigeria implemented the compulsory, free Universal Basic Education (UBE) in 2004. The UBE aimed at eradicating illiteracy, ignorance and poverty. It also aimed at provide equal opportunity for every child regardless of gender, background or physical ability (UBE, 2011). It is widely acknowledged that the public provision of basic education in Nigeria seems to be in a state of crisis. Widespread systemic failure has resulted in basic schools that are unable to develop literate, numerate, self-reliant pupils particularly in Northern Nigeria. To facilitate the implementation process of UBE, the National Council on Education (NCE) in 2006 approved the establishment of School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs) in all basic schools in the country. SBMC is the actualization of the concept of decentralization (Abu-Duhou, 1999).  Decentralization of basic school administration will make it possible for the community to participate in the decision making of the school (Ogundele, & Adelabu, 2009).

The SBMCs have been established as mechanisms to provide platforms for communities and schools to work together to enrich school governance, and promote improved management by education authorities, towards the achievement of better learning outcomes for children in basic education schools. The essence of establishing SBMCs among other things is to bring schools closer to their communities. Though the SBMCs have been established in many schools in Northern Nigeria, only few are reported to have operated effectively. Some related studies have indicated the progress and achievement so far made by the few functional SBMCs in Nigeria (Pinnock, 2012; UNICEF, 2011).

Despite the success being recorded by SBMCs in Northern Nigeria, there are still numerous challenges militating against their effective functioning. The first problem SBMCs have in Northern Nigeria was in the original SBMC guidelines that did not take care of the peculiarities of Northern Nigeria. Alabi (2013) noted that every local community has its own unique and peculiar problems and a remedial programme that successfully solves a problem at one community may become a tragic failure if applied in another community.  Possibly, even with the current policy guidelines, Northern Nigeria may find it difficult to succeed in establishing and running SBMCs that can meet up with the expectations of UBE. Therefore, the success of SBMCs in Northern Nigeria may depend, largely, on the type of strategies adopted and how these strategies are constantly being improved to take care of peculiarity of the zone. To this end, this paper studies how improving school-based management committee strategies can promote integrity, accountability and development in Northern Nigeria’s basic schools.

Universal Basic Education in Northern Nigeria

Universal Basic Education (UBE) means the type of education, in quality and content, that is given in the first level of education. It is an educational programme aimed at eradicating illiteracy, ignorance and poverty. The implementation of the universal basic education scheme in Nigeria started with its official launch on 30th  September, 1999 in Sokoto, Sokoto State. The vision of the programe is that at the end of 9 years of continuous education, every child should have acquired appropriate and relevant skills and values and be employable in order to contribute his/her quota to national development (Tahir, 2005).  The UBE act of 2004 covers Early Child Care Development and Education (ECCDE), six years of primary education, and three years of junior secondary education (Tahir, 2005)

According to Anaduaka and Okafor (2013) the UBE programme if properly implemented would help the country achieve the following: quality education, achievement of the MDGs, more jobs for Nigerian citizens, curbing of indiscipline and crime. It also include reduction in child labour, reduction of gender imbalance in educational attainment, reduction of the level of poverty, better health for the Nigerian child, help to parents and motivating students to enroll in schools. Anaduaka and Okafor (2013) also noted that inadequate funding, inaccurate data for planning, lack of competent teachers, poor implementation of the new UBE curriculum, poor public enlightenment, poor monitoring and poor motivation of teachers, are some of the challenges affecting UBE scheme in the North.

 School-Based Management in Northern Nigeria’s Basic Schools

School-Based Management (SBM) is fast becoming the hottest restructuring item in the arsenal of reformers, teachers' unions, governors, and legislators who want to change the traditional ways schools do business. Many state legislatures have passed, or are seriously considering passing, legislation mandating some form of school-based management (George & Potter, 1991). SBM is “a way for forcing individual schools to take responsibility for what happens to the children under their jurisdiction and attending their school. The concept suggests that, when individual schools are charged with the total development of educational programmes aimed at serving the needs of the children in attendance at that particular school, the school personnel will develop more cogent programmes because they know the students and their needs (Candoli, 1995; p. xi)”.

SBM can also be viewed conceptually as a formal alternation of governance structures, as a form of decentralization that identifies the individual school as the primary unit of improvement and relies on the redistribution of decision-making authority as the primary means through which improvement might be stimulated and sustained (Malen, Ogawa & Kranz, 1990; Akinsolu & Onibon, 2008).

School-Based Management Committee (SBMC) is a form of community involvement in school governance, based on regulation with elected but voluntary membership. In Nigeria, the SBMC was set up to increase citizen participation in basic schools management, as part of the efforts of school reform in Nigeria (Ayeni & Ibuku, 2013). Certainly, the intention behind SBMC is to implement democratic participatory decision-making. People who work in local schools or live locally, the argument goes, will efficiently gather information relevant for their own purposes, ranging from pedagogical to school infrastructural issues. The roles of SBMC are defined as what will take care of numerous challenges been faced in the planning and implementation of UBE programmes in basic schools (UBE, 2011). Undoubtedly, the SBMC is relevant at this time of Nigerian educational development. The function of SBMC goes beyond resource management and its utilization as some observers view it.  The communities through its SMBC are to ensure quality both in educational inputs and outcomes and quality in learning environment for schools (Ogundele & Adelabu, 2009).

The main objectives of SBMC in Nigeria according to Ogundele and Adelabu (2009) are:

  1. Enhancing school governance for effective education service delivery

  2. Promoting mechanisms for accountability in school system

  • Encouraging harmonious relationship between the school, community LGEA and LGA.

  1. Promoting active community participation in school planning and monitoring and evaluation of school progress.

  2. Promoting and supporting schools to achieve set objectives and to yield better learning outcome for children.

  3. Creating greater awareness and provide feedback to the target community in decision affecting schools.

  • Facilitating support for the disadvantaged groups within the school community

School-Based Management Strategies in Northern Nigeria

Strategy is the direction and scope of an organization over a long-term: which achieve advantages for the organization through its configuration of resources within a challenging environment, to meet the need of consumer and to fulfill stakeholders’ expectations. It is a method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of goal or to provide solution to a problem (Slack & Lewis, 2002). Johnson,  Scholes and Whittington (2005) define strategy as ‘the direction and scope of an organization over the long-term, which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its configuration of resources with the aim of fulfilling stakeholder expectations’.

SBMC strategy is often thought of as a plan or set of intentions that will set the long-term direction of the actions that are needed to ensure future SBMC success. However, no matter how grand the plan is, or how noble the intention may be, an SBMC’s strategy can only become a meaningful reality, in practice, if it is operationally enacted. An SBMC’s operations are strategically important precisely because most schools activities comprise the day-to-day activities within the operations function. For this reason, different strategies are used by SBMCs in basic schools. These strategies are classified under different categories some of which include:

1. Resource Mobilization Strategies

The provision of adequate resources and their efficient utilization are factors that determine the quality of education in any country. There have been repeated complaints that the education sector in Nigeria has been seriously under-funded resulting in poor quality performance of our educational products (Hodges, 2001). Therefore, one of the most crucial aspects of SBMC activities is planning for the best way to mobilize and manage resources particularly at the basic school levels. In resource mobilization, SBMC attempts to collect and allocate the resources (human, funds, facilities, programmes, etc.). Improved resource mobilization by SBMC therefore implies their use of modern management techniques, which deals with the prudent and judicious allocation of the available human and material resources to various school programmes in accordance with the specific needs, goals and activities of the UBE programme. It focuses on effective allocation and use of resources as well as monitoring the efficacy or nature of the use with a view to making adjustment as you go along the use (Akpochafo, 2003).

The need for adequate resources for running of basic schools cannot be overstated. This is because poor funding among others contribute to the systematic failure of the UBE programmes in the North. Resources are needed for building classrooms, furniture, transportation, etc. Money will facilitate the construction of adequate space, the use of better equipment, the development of better teaching materials etc. The SBMCs have available sources of funds that can assist in the running of schools which include federal, state and local government, communities, Parents Teachers Association (PTA), individuals and religious organizations (Aguokogbou, 2003).

SBMC can mobilize both human and non-human resource to achieve school goal by deciding to partition a classroom to decongest population of pupils in the classroom. The carpenter in the school can be assigned the responsibility of demarcating a classroom by using the supplies of ceiling board from store. The SBMC can mobilize other carpenters to produce sets of desks and benches for the new classroom. Pupils could contribute by bringing brooms from home to take charge of sweeping the classrooms and the surrounding daily; without the effort of all the persons involved in the innovation, the new classroom would not have become a reality (Abubakar, 2010).

2.  Resource Control Strategies

The term "resource control" according to Olson and Defrain (2000) denotes a compelling determination by communities and peoples whose resources have been taken away to regain ownership, control, use and management of resources for the primary benefit of the first owner (the communities and people) on whose land the resources originate”. Resource control, however, does not foreclose the future spreading of the benefits of resources to the non-owners in a manner acceptable to the vision of a greater humanity. There is a distinction between “resource control” and “revenue allocation” or “derivation”,

Financial resource control strategies are those strategies that is put in place to ensure that financial related assets or properties of a school are safeguarded, either from externals or staff and students of a school from any threat whatsoever, whether by theft, loss or misappropriation  (intentional or otherwise). Simply put resource control strategies are those policies, procedures practices and school structures which are implemented to reduces financial risk to the school. They are developed to provide reasonable assurance to management that the school main objectives will be achieved and risk prevented, or detected and corrected (Jokomba, 2013).

Before any control strategy can be put in place, SBMC must ensure that a friendly environment for its implementation is created. This could be through: The development of good attitude to the controls envisaged by both management and employees; Creation of a good school structure i.e. having a good reporting structure; Segregating of such as initiation of transaction, custody of  the underlying asset and recording of  transaction  (Jokomba, 2013).

3.  Advocacy Strategies

Advocacy means any activity intended to raise consciousness among decision makers and general community about an issue or a disadvantaged group, with a view to bringing about changes in policy and improvement in their situation.   It is an interactive, proactive and consultative process.  In another tone, it could be a process made up of series of activities undertaken over a period of time aimed at challenging or changing a situation or issues.  According to Akinsolu and Onibon (2008), the goals of advocacy include: challenging existing situation; establish a cause/issues; influence relevant authority; sustain pressure; promote desired group interest; bring about change.

Advocacy is part of an overall programme. In advocacy, the SBMC should develop a community action based programme whereby community members will be sensitized on issue concerning the school, this has become necessary because parents and community members in particular have vital role to play in their children education and such roles include:

  1. influencing educational policy makers on policies that will lead to eradication or minimizing school problem.

  2. sensitizing communities on the benefits of education.

  • mobilizing communities against ignorance and poverty

  1. organising co-coordinating and funding activities to raise awareness on learners well being.

  2. dialoging with other stakeholders such as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) local community leaders, Parent Teachers Association (PTAs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) on how to improve school and its programme.

4.  Communication Strategies

Communication as a factor that influences school community relation is a very important tool to achieve or accomplish the aims, goals, and aspiration of the school. Communication is the complex techniques under the control of management, which may be used to relate directly with people outside the school and potential students (Oguntunde, 2006). A good relationship between schools and parents starts with good communication (Heim, 2007). Ijaiya  (2000) identifies five method of communication: Written type as in reports, letters, memos, minutes of meetings, email, telex; oral type  as in conversations, oral interview, , meetings, telephone, conference; visual type as in charts, television, videos, graphs, diagrams and body language; electronic type as in telephone and computer network; and audio visual as in television and videos.

Communicating with parents is a necessity if SBMC expects them to support the school. There are other community members who might benefit from receiving accurate information from a school and who should be given opportunities to communicate with a school. Among those people are senior citizens, childless couples, newly married couples (Pawlas, 2005). According to Fiore (2006, p 136) “The best school plans involve strong regular and purposeful communication with both the internal and external communities of a school.” Good communication between SBMcs, schools, community, government and other stakeholders will help to ensure active participation in decisions affecting the schools and promote the partnership between the school and the wider community (UBE, 2011).

5.  Monitoring Strategies

Every educational establishment has a responsibility to monitor the effectiveness of the service being provided for its community. The better the common understanding of the purpose and nature of these core activities, the greater is the likelihood that SBMCs will recognize the importance of their own roles  in assuring, maintaining and improving standards. The monitoring of the effectiveness of learning is therefore an essential element of the overall management practice within all educational establishments (Glasgow Education Services, n.d). Cotton (n.d) defined monitoring as activities pursued by teachers to keep track of student learning for the purposes of making instructional decisions and providing feedback to students on their progress. Monitoring allows for the promotion of continuous development and improvement. It allows SBMC members of the school to check against established criteria and allow it to work towards becoming a self-evaluating school that does not need external agencies to judge its success or failure (Rodmersham Primary School, 2014).

Therefore, the monitoring of teaching and learning is vital to raising standards in basic schools and should be seen as an integral part of a school SBMC’s activities.   There is a need to monitor the implementation of educational policies, schemes of work and guidelines to ensure that the curriculum provision is broad and relevant to the needs of the basic school students. Curriculum planning, time allocation, monitoring of assessment criteria both internal and external are all needed (Rodmersham Primary School, 2014).

Challenges Affecting the Use of School-Based Management Committee Strategies

The SBMCs have been doing so such to improve their strategies in the development of basic schools. Their efforts have been deterred only by some challenges, which include:

  1. Lack of Teachers’ Co-operation with the SBMC

Each SBMC is expected to work with their school teachers to set goals and targets for the school and defined strategies for achieving the goals to deliver improved learning outcomes for children (UBE, 2011). In most countries of the world where SBM has been implemented, teachers unions have, at least initially, been opposed to SBM. Subsequently, and probably because most teachers have come to prefer self-management to the more centralized arrangements, signs of teachers acceptance usually follow. A teachers union’s opposition to SMB conflicts with the empowerment of its teachers. Inevitably, the shift in decision-making to the school level strengthens the latter and considerably offsets the former (Abu-Duhou, 1999). Therefore, SBMCs do not appear to be effective in achieving their goals because some teachers feign ignorance of the SBMCs existence and refuse to accept them as part of the management system for local schools (Osei-Owusu & Sam, 2012).

  1. Lack of Expertise among SBMC Members

The SMBC official are not necessarily expert in school management and as such tend to do their job haphazardly. Their actions are guided by their level of understanding not on a based known strategies or guiding principles.

  1. Lack of Devotion among SBMC Members

SBMC can best performed duties only if there is sense of devotion. Most of SBMCs in the North show lack of concern to what the school is doing. They do not work with any commitment. There is no zeal in them. They simply handle SBMC activities to while away time. They are members without any involvement in school activities (Bakwai, 2013). They have never felt inspired and have never further inspired anybody when it comes to issues concerning their school. There is no urge in them to work for self satisfaction or to earn gratitude of the students and the community. Extra attention or extra time for the student is no more in sight.

  1. Poor SBMC Activities Planning

In Nigeria, we hold this wrong impression that we are good at planning but poor at action. Our planning and execution both lack much to be desired. The plans are generally over ambitious which cannot possibly be put into practice. Most of the SBMC activities are unplanned adventures. The future of basic schools remains uncertain in the absence of planned school community relation programmes. There is no serious effort at planning the SBMC activities and events. The SBMCs in basic schools are moving in a blind alley in the absence of long term and shot term planning.

  1. Poor Facilities for SBMC Activities

Lack of urgent facilities leads to much complication for the SBMCs. Efficiency and control in SBMCs cannot be ensured in the absence of required equipments and provisions. Poor or complete lack of facilities is a big excuse for some SBMC s to be slack, irresponsive and negligence in carrying out duties. It may be genuinely difficult to carry  out effective SBMC activities in the absence of relevant facilities such as stationeries, posters, reference documents,public address system,etc. SBMCs are used to taking shelter behind every available excuse. Although the fact remain the same that one cannot get things done in the absence of things proper. One missing facility can stops a good SBMC activity even all other facilities may be present.


The roles SBMC play in the development of basic education in Northern Nigeria, are so much that basic schools cannot do away with it. These roles could be more felt in the basic schools if SBMC strategies are improved and modified.


Considering the identified challenges, this paper recommended that, SBMC leadership even though voluntary, should be made open to only people who are not completely illiterates and ignorant of the aims and goals of SBM programme. People who are ignorant of something are not expected to value it. It is also difficult to train people that cannot read or write. Therefore, appointing people into SBMC should take into consideration their ability to read and write.

            SBMC implementation in the North should be frequently evaluated to identify areas of weaknesses and make possible adjustments. Room for innovations should be given to SBMC members to promote creativity in their activities. Where the policies seem unrealistic, they should be reviewed and modified to match with what community considered as real and possible.

            SBMC membership should be made available to people with means of sustenance. This could take care of cases where SBMC members are thinking of depending on SBMC activities as a means of survival. People with no means of sustenance could not think of anything but how to get their daily bread. You cannot expect this kind of to attend meetings that do not provide for lunch or dinner.

Retired civil servants leaving in the community should constitute a part of the committee. This could give the committee an ability to exert some pressures and be able to influence the community. This group of people may have better experience and understand the educational involvement of other communities who have progress better than their own community does.

SBMC at state level should continue to mobilize, educate and convince teachers that SBMC is for good and simplify their work. Teacher should be encouraged to carry communities along in their SBMC activities. They should be made to understand that SBMC is not designed to depower teachers but to empower them. This is the only way teachers can dedicate their time and energy for promoting SBMC and its activities.



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