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36% of pupils joins early childhood education

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By Nicole

UNICEF says only 36% of Nigerian children attend Early Childhood Education.

Only 36% of Nigerian children attend Early Childhood Education, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (ECE). One in every three children, according to the fund, who also called for an increase in the rate. This was stated by Yetunde Oluwatosin, a UNICEF education specialist, during a two-day media dialogue on early childhood education (ECE) in Nigeria. Over 40 journalists attended the discussion, which was held in conjunction with the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Education. Early childhood is a crucial time, according to Oluwatosin, and every nation must pay attention to it in order to boost the child’s economic prospects.

According to her, the time period needs to be intentionally designed to support the child’s early metamorphosis. It has been noted that there are still significant disparities between the ECE attendance rates of the poorest and richest children, which are 8 and 87 percent, respectively. Less than one in three kids aged three to four worldwide attend ECE. Only one in four (24%) students in West and Central Africa attend ECE. Only 36% of students in Nigeria attend ECE, while there are at least 10 million unenrolled children. According to research, ECE students perform better academically and have more earning potential as they age, she said.

Untrained teachers, distance and wrong curriculum are big hindrances.

Oluwatosin outlined the systemic nature of the ECE difficulties, highlighting the examination of the education sector’s staff and ability to obtain Infrastructure. She emphasized that having enough data to support early learning is essential to making progress while stating that ECE should be seen as a specialized field that must be planned for. She promoted using a child-centered approach and giving students room to grow. She highlighted several obstacles impeding the expansion of ECE in the nation, including a shortage of qualified teachers, a long commute to school, and an improper Curriculum.

We also need to improve the parental roles as the child’s first educators, allocate enough money for pre-primary education, develop the skills of instructors, and provide suitable curriculum for ECE. There are over 7 million students but only 154,000 instructors, according to the 2018 National Personnel Audit (NPA) of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). This makes the student-to-teacher ratio too low, there is need to take action to change it. We are still far behind schedule in reaching the SDGs, and this imbalance exists, she said.

ECE is the bedrock of a child’s development, and it must thrive.

This is the cornerstone of a child’s development, according to UNICEF Communication Specialist Dr. Geoffrey Njoku, and efforts must be made to ensure that it flourishes in the nation. If it is not done, our children won’t be able to write, quote, or create software for our civilization. The future we seek is one in which every child in Nigeria receives a great education. ECE also serves as a catalyst for future development. Science has demonstrated that if we start with ECE, a lot of progress would take place in the nation, so we need to keep urging stakeholders to pay attention to it, he said. He consequently urged the country to give children’s issues more attention, emphasizing that if resources were used wisely, schooling would change.

Dr. Amy Panyi, the Nigerian country coordinator for the Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI), stated that early childhood education needed to be promoted in order to have a strong sector. In addition, Panyi urged the inclusion of stakeholders through the development of curricula, teacher capacity, and special education support for the kids. To her, allowing children to play in class through the ECE fosters their capacity for inventive creation and social interaction, both of which have favourable effects on the child’s later years.

Those who participate in the ECE programs tend to be more successful.

According to Mrs. Maryam Darwesh, the Chief of Field Office for UNICEF in Sokoto, the early years of brain development are a critical time because they shape later learning, behavior, and physical and Mental Health. According to Mrs. Darwesh, kids who take part in well-designed ECE programs typically perform better in later grades and have stronger social and emotional skills. She continued by saying that these kids exhibit greater verbal, intellectual, and physical growth in their early years than kids who are not engaged in such programs. This is due to the fact that ECE leads to higher learner quality, greater school involvement, higher graduation rates, and stronger economic and societal development.


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