In the Northeast of Nigeria, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has successfully trained 18,000 unqualified teachers through the aid of the Global Partnership on Education (GPE) Accelerated Fund Intervention project that began in 2021. The training which lasted twelve months was an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Teachers Institute (NTI) and the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) under the Federal Government of Nigeria. UNICEF fueled its focus on encouragement of unqualified teachers to study and pass the qualifying examination of the TRCN.
UNICEF’s Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Ms. Phuong Nguyen, at a media dialogue organized by the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in conjunction with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Maiduguri, stated that there was induction and licensure of teachers across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Aside from teachers, students also enjoyed the benefits of the program as there was provision of learning materials for over 500,000 children.
Children deserve to be equipped with survival skills.
He added that 438 education officials have had their capacity strengthened on education in emergency, budgeting and result-based planning. UNICEF and stakeholders have not relented in addressing challenges of out-of-school children and the learning crises that are present in the education sector. The essence of addressing these issues is to ensure that every child gets eligible for opportunities offered by education and is well equipped with skills for survival and positive contribution to the society.
The teachers training program of the GPE’s Accelerated Funding (AF) project is considered a major accomplishment. This is because not less than one million boys and girls would be beneficiaries of the teachers’ training when the newly certified teachers returned to their duty posts fully equipped with effective and modern methods of teaching. Nguyen explained that the modern methods of teaching majorly include skills that aid provision of gender-sensitive and psychosocial support to learners and students.
Almost half of schools in the Northeast need rehabilitation.
Nguyen refused to exclude the excitement of UNICEF as the teachers’ training might eventually be a new dawn for education in Nigeria, reducing high school dropout rates while facilitating access and retention of children in school. With a large cohort of well-motivated, prepared, trained and equipped teachers across the Northeast geopolitical zone, many millions of children are likely to have better outcomes of learning. In 2022, prior to the initiation of the project, only 29 percent of schools located in the Northeast zone employed teachers with the minimum qualifications, with the average pupil-teacher ratio of 124 to 1.
Another issue of concern is the need for rehabilitation of almost half of the schools in the region. In Borno, only 47 percent of schools have furniture; in Yobe, 32 percent; and Adamawa, 26 percent. Access to adequate learning materials is also low in these states with 30 percent of schools in Adamawa; 26 percent in Borno; and 25 percent in Yobe. Also, almost 2 million boys, girls are affected by the conflict lack of access to basic and quality education.
Intervention has suppressed partial devastation in the region.
The Executive Chairman of Borno State Universal Basic Education Board, Prof. Bulama Kagu, applauded the intervention for its contribution in reducing the huge devastation challenging the region. He also commended the initiatives for the renovation of classrooms, construction of temporary learning centers, training of teachers in psychosocial support and provision of instructional materials. Provision of furniture is covered by the government through grant intervention, bearing the loss of burnt down schools by insurgents. The chairman affirmed that education has been effectively enhanced within a short period and the region looked forward to more enhancements.