Nigeria Country Liaisons
Greg Ikemefuna, Shamar Children's School
Esther Oduolowu, University of Idaban
Adefunke Ekine, Tai Solarin University of Education
Last updated February 2017 by Esther Oduolowu
News Related to Children’s Well-being
Two major news events from 2016 relate to the well-being of Nigerian children. The first is the recruitment of five million unemployed teachers for basic education. The federal government is partnering with state and local governments to address the chronic shortage of teachers in public schools across the country by recruiting, training, and deploying teachers to primary schools. The goal is to enhance the provision of basic education, especially in rural areas. Five hundred thousand teacher education graduates and holders of the Nigeria Certificate in Education have been recruited and posted to both public and primary schools across the country. However, they are yet to be re-trained.
The second major event was Nigeria's National Home Grown School Feeding Program. This program is part of the federal government’s efforts to tackle poverty and improve the health and education of children and other vulnerable groups. The program was formally launched by the Nigeria Vice President in June 13, 2016, at a special meeting of federal and state ministers and school feeding stakeholders in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. It is anticipated that the program will be feeding over 24 million schoolchildren.
The Federal Ministry of Education, in collaboration with UNICEF Nigeria, continued with the training of Master Trainers (Colleges of Education Teachers and State Universal Basic Education Board Desk Officers for ECD) in the Reggio Emilia Teaching Approach. It is hoped that the introduction of this pedagogical approach will improve learning at the pre-primary and lower basic education levels. Selected Master Trainers and 36 Early Childhood Development Desk officers have been trained to scale up this program in the colleges and states.
African Early Childhood Network (AECN) is a registered regional civil society network that was conceptualized during the World Forum on Early Child Care and Education held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2013. It is based in Nairobi, Kenya, and seeks to accelerate progress toward protecting the rights of all children, particularly those in Africa. Nigeria is one of six African countries that are collaborating with this civil society organization to actualize its goals. The Nigerian network affiliated with it was registered under the name “Foundation for the Promotion of Childhood Care and Development in Nigeria” (FPCD) in December 2016. The FPCD has been able to compile a list of early childhood development (ECD) experts and practitioners, ECD actors, and resources in Nigeria. It also has been able to embark on information campaigns, and develop advocacy kits and evaluation kits for the promotion and implementation of ECD policies in Nigeria. The Foundation is about to register its web address as it continues with a media campaign to inform Nigerian society about its activities. Two ACEI Country Liaisons are members of this group (Adefunke Ekine and Esther Oduolowu).
The Guardian, “FG to employ .5m teachers in 2016”, 2/1/2017. The article can be accessed here.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Nigeria launches Africa’s largest national school feeding programme,” 06/13/2016/. Go here to access the article.
Vincent Ujumadu, “10m children to benefit from FG’s school feeding programme,” Vanguard, 1/6/2017. Go here to access the article.
The year 2015 was unusual in Nigeria. A change of government occurred in May 2015, which affected every aspect of the nation. Restructuring led to a slow down of major activities, including funding for education. Nevertheless, significant events happened in the education arena. These include: meetings of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Managerial Team with Directors of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEB) in all the states of Nigeria; commencement of Early Childhood Development Virtual University (ECDVU), the Nigerian version; the Teacher Development Program collaborated with National Commission for Colleges of Education to carry out capacity development of pre-service teachers in three states of Nigeria; and a review of implementation strategies for the one-year education for 5-year olds.
- The meeting of the UBEC Managerial Team with SUBEB Directors focused on investing in teacher development through its Teacher Professional Development Programme. The major decision made at the meeting was that there should be a change in re-training strategies for in-service preschool and primary school teachers. The cluster school model of training was adopted because it was found to be more efficient, effective, and quality assured in the Nigerian context.
- The University of Ibadan, Nigeria Early Childhood Education Postgraduate Diploma (Web-based) Program commenced with an orientation program January 27-29, 2015, and its first face-to-face seminar was held July 17-28, 2015, for senior personnel/policy implementers/supervisors of early childhood development (ECD) programs. Thirty-five participants attended from five African countries. Five international instructors anchored the 10-day seminar. The instructors included Alan Pence and Debbie Blakely from Canada, Jophus Anamuah-Mensa from Ghana, and Esther Oduolowu from Nigeria. The focus of this program is to equip ECD personnel with the skills and knowledge to be able to effectively implement ECD policy at the grassroots level and also supervise the re-training of ECD caregivers and teachers so that they can provide quality stimulation and education for the youngest citizens of the nation.
- UKaid supported the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) to develop the Nigerian College of Education curriculum for Early Childhood Education (ECE), Adult Education and Language in modular form so that the document could be used to re-train childhood education teachers who have no relevant teaching qualification while they are on the job and also train out-of-school personnel who are interested in teaching at the ECE level. This effort was targeted to sharpen the pedagogical skills of these ECD workers. The re-training took place in three states—Jigawa, Katsina, and Sokoto.
- Two national conferences were held by early childhood development (ECD) associations focusing on childhood education issues. At the events, tertiary institution teachers for ECD and other stakeholders gathered together to share and discuss current issues of ECD and how to provide quality services at this level of education. Research papers were discussed and experiences were shared. Attendance at the conferences was less than hoped due to the economic situation of the country. The communiqué at the end of the meetings stressed the need to publish the proceedings of the conferences and the research articles for wider dissemination of information and to open websites so that the reports and activities of the associations could be widely shared.
- On October 1, Nigerian Independence Day, World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP) members of Oyo state Nigeria gathered together to discuss the current trends in ECD in Nigeria. I facilitated the discussion and we discussed, among other things, issues relating to universal preschool education, technology in ECE classrooms, achievement gaps, early literacy, and the Ten Pillars of a Good Childhood. Present at the meeting among others were the African Regional Vice President of OMEP, Dr. Funke Ekine one of the Nigerian Liaisons and other members of OMEP Nigeria.
- The review of the one-year compulsory education program for 5-year-olds came up in January 2016.
ACEI liaisons in Nigeria talked about the Ten Pillars of a Good Childhood at these events:
Two national conferences were held in November 2015. The first was the Nigeria Association for Early Childhood Educators conference, held in Enugu. It was attended by many instructors of childhood education from tertiary institutions across Nigeria. The second one, held in Ondo, was organized by the Early Childhood Association of Nigeria. One Nigerian ACEI liaison presented a lead paper at the conference.
Early Childhood Development Postgraduate Diploma (Web-based) http://ecdpgdiploma.ui.edu.ng
Teacher Development Program: www.tdpnigeria.org
ECDVU News: www.ecdafricaresources.org