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   Nigeria
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PART II: ANALYTIC SECTIONS

7. PROGRESS TOWARD GOALS AND TARGETS

    1. Early Childhood Care and Development (ECD)

Pre-primary education is a prominent component of the national education system. It is a foundation training and is considered indispensable to future or life-long education. It is given in Day Care Centres and Nursery Schools to children aged 3 to under 6 years and is enriched by the informal, traditional up-bringing given to children.

Government is not directly involved in the establishment and day-to-day running of Day Care Centres and necessary schools but encourages private efforts to do so. It makes provision for teachers to specialise in early childhood education. In addition, Government:

In consonance with the Jomtien Declaration, World Summit for children, the Convention on the Rights of the child, ECCDE has become an important part of the basic education programme since learning begins at birth. This has provided supportive policy implications for different sectors such as health, social services, agriculture, nutrition among others. Furthermore, the Convention on the rights of the child led to the setting up of implementation committees that have harmonised national laws and polices. Consequently, certain States have assumed responsibility for setting standards with regards to day care facilities within their States. It is important to state that in the health sector, available reports indicate that the infant mortality rate dropped from 150/1,000 in 1960 to 851/1,000 as far back as in 1985. The chances for survival of young children has increased to 11 out of every 12 children ever born due to low cost health interventions during their infancy. On the other hand, a majority of surviving children are living in debilitating circumstances and under adverse socio-economic conditions that expose them to health hazards of mal/under-nutrition including arrested or delayed psycho-social cognitive and creative development.

The FGN/UNICEF Co-operation Agreement in Basic Education has for ECCD, the underlisted objectives for the period 1997 – 2001.

The output objectives of the project in 10 UNICEF – assisted States for 1991 – 1995 country programme of co-operation were the following:

During the 1997 – 2001 country programme of co-operation, emphasis is on early child care in all its ramifications and the main objectives are:

Pre-primary Institutions

In 1984, there were 414 government registered nursery schools in Nigeria. This figure rose gradually from 900 schools by 1986 to over 12,000 by 1996. The expansion of pre-schools is expected to be even greater with the projected population of 12.71 million pre-school children in the nation.

      1. Gross Enrolment in ECCDE
      2. Table 1 showing Short, Medium and Long Term Targets for Pre-Primary Education

        Year

        Projected Population of Under 6 years Old

        Expected Enrolment

        Estimated No. to Enrol.

        Estimated No. of Low-Cost Community Pre-Primary Schools to be Established with average of 250 Pupils in Each School.

        1995

        19.49

        9.02

        1.07m

        4.280

        S 1996

        20.05

        10.22

        1.67m

        6.680

        1997

        20.01

        12.26

        2.31

        9.240

        1998

        21.80

        14.70

        2.98m

        11.920

        M1999

        22.41

        17.66

        3.68m

        14.20

        2000

        23.05

        21.1

        4.46

        17.840

        Table 1 above shows data from the UNICEF/EPIU project derived from the 1991 National Census and projected into the year 2000 (FME, 1993). It is clear from this table that there are about 22.7 million children in this sub-sector, only about 4.7% 4.7% or 11 million children enrolled at any day care/nursery school or creche. The overall objective is to improve the quality of pre-primary education and to increase access to it from the present level of 4.7% in 1992 to 25% by the year 2000. This means an annual growth rate of 3.6% or 1 million as shown in Table 2 (which by 1997 has almost been achieved).

        Table 2. Projected Enrolment for Pre-Primary Education 1992 – 2000

        Year

        Pop. Of Children Under 6 Years (M)

        Expected % Enrolment

         

        Estimated Number Enrolled (M)

        Estimated No. of Nursery Schools or Creches with an average of 250 Children in Each.

        1992

        22.7

        4.71

        1.1

        4,400

        1993

        23.3

        7.21

        1.7

        6,800

        1994

        23.9

        9.71

        2.3

        9,200

        1995

        24.5

        12.21

        3.0

        12,000

        1996

        25.1

        14.71

        3.7

        14,800

        1997

        25.7

        17.21

        4.4

        17,600

        1998

        26.4

        19.71

        5.2

        20,800

        1999

        27.0

        22.21

        6.0

        24,000

        2000

        27.7

        24.71

        6.8

        27,200

        The trend in enrolment had been more females than males in the past. The population distribution of children below six years from 1999 and estimated projection for year 2004 are shown in table 3.

        The population of children below 6 years in Nigeria in 1999 is recorded as 22,395,119. The projected population of children for the year 2004 is estimated at 25,748,536. The distribution of children below 6 years by gender is as shown in Table 3 below.

        Table 3: Distribution of children (below 6 years) by gender

        Year

        Male

        Female

        Total

        1999

        116,670,051

        (49.86%)

        11,228,068

        (50.14%

        22,395,119

        Projected 2004

        12,909,345

        (50.14%)

        12,839,191

        (49.86%)

        25,748,536

        The population of female children recorded a higher percentage (50.14%) than that of the male children (49.86%). The estimated population of males (50.14%) is however higher than that of females (49.86%) when projected to year 2004.

        The population of female children recorded a higher percentage (50.14%) than that of male children (49.86%). The estimated population of males (50.14%) is however higher than that of females (49.86%) when projected to year 2004.

        Gender

        Table 4: Enrolment into Day care centres (N-18,836) by Gender and Age

          Under 6 months 7-12 months 13-24 months 25-36 months
        Male 1228 1519 2241 3269
        Female 1329 1422 2149 5661
        Total 2581 294 4390 8924
        Per cent 13.7 15.16 23.31 47.38

        At the nursery classes the emerging pattern in enrolment is a gradual decrease from Nursery I to Nursery III with a marginal difference in favour of males. This is shown in Table 5 and fig. 1) The number of children in Nursery II is less than Nursery III since a good number do not stay to read Nursery III but proceed to Primary I from Nursery II. Most children in Nursery III are either biding time to attain the age of primary education, or deemed intellectually immature by teachers and parents for primary I in private school.

        Table 5.1:Enrolment by Class by Gender in the sampled Pre-Primary Schools

          Nursery I Nursery II Nursery III TOTAL
        Male 19829 (51.99 per cent) 15202 (51.54 per cent) 2241 (51.15 per cent) 3269 (51.19)
        Female 1329 (48.13) 1422 (48.70) 2149 (48.84) 5661 (48.41)
        Total 2581 2941 4390 8924
        Percent 13.70 15.16 23.13 47.38

        Enrolment figures show that more males (51%) are enrolled when compared to females (48%).

      3. Establishment of ECCDE facilities: Since the beginning of the programme in 1991, and including 1996 activities, a total of 2,045 new facilities were established in the 12 states of the project, catering for a total of 174,748 children. The aim is to hand over these newly founded nursery schools and day care centres to communities, CBOs and NGOs to manage.

In its 1996 Report, UNICEF notes that 48 ECC facilities have been taken over by NGOs/CBOs, Communities and Church organizations. Furthermore, many private day-care centres and nursery schools sprang up as part of community participation in ECCDE.

  1. Health and Nutrition services were delivered to at least 7000 of these children.
  2. Training of personnel: 400 counterparts, 578 trainers and supervisors, 6038 care givers, 30 NGO officials, 48 managers and 165 para-teachers/instructors were all given training from 1991-1996.

(iii) Development of training materials. The project developed the following:

(iv) Development of Pre-school Readers, including translation and transcriptions of folklore, traditional songs, games etc.

(v) Toy Making: Apart from the development of a book on toy making, "Learn As You Play", instruction was given to parents elders and youth in the making of simple educational toys.

    1. Widespread Advocacy and Mobilization was undertaken at grassroot to enlighten the community and to boost demand for pre-primary education.

All these activities are designed to raise the standard and improve the quality of pre-school education.

      1. Although there are no data for determining the percentage of primary grade I pupils who attended some form of organized early childhood development programme, it is common knowledge that the percentage of this category of pupils is very low, the situation being worse in the rural areas where there are hardly any Day Care Centres and Nuseries.
      2. Lessons Learnt:

In Nigeria, Pre-primary/Early Childhood care Education (PPECCE) is a vast field that is continually expending. Although there is a National Guideline for the establishment, organization and management of PPECCE, yet its application and implication are varied and various. The official curriculum for this level of education is not widely circulated and many of the teachers to implement it are yet to be adequately trained in its use. The teaching/learning materials are few and expensive while the educational materials used are not standardised.

In addition the level of Monitoring and Evaluation is low. On the positive side, due importance of the holistic development of a child is amply demonstrated at this level of education since an inter sectoral approach is adopted.

The above situation poses many challenges to the ECD sector. These include:

    1. Review of the ECDE curriculum and the Guidelines for the Establishment, Organisation,
    2. The need to promulgate a national policy on Pre-primary/Early Childhood Care and Development Education;
    3. Evolution and support of a mechanism for the production, development and distribution of Teaching/Learning materials; and
    4. Translation of relevant and appropriate education materials into major indigenous languages.
    1. BASIC EDUCATION

As earlier indicated, for Nigeria, Basic Education includes six year primary education and the first three years of secondary education as well as basic and functional literacy for our school children, youths and adults.

7.2.1 PRIMARY EDUCATION

DEFINITION AND OBJECTIVES OF PRIMARY EDUCATION

In Nigeria, primary education is the education given in institutions for children aged 6 – 11 years. According to the National Policy on Education the goals and objectives of primary education are to :

  1. inculcate permanent literacy and numeracy, and ability to communicate effectively;
  2. lay a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking;
  3. give citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society;
  4. mould the character and develop sound attitude and morals in the child;
  5. develop in the child the ability to adapt to his changing environment;
  6. give the child opportunities for developing manipulative skills that will enable him to function effectively in the society within the limits of his capacity;
  7. provide the child with basis tools for further educational advancement, including preparation for traders and crafts of the locality.

In Nigeria, primary education remains the bedrock upon which the formal education system is built. Although the constitutional responsibility of primary education rests with the local government, the other two tiers of government, namely the state and the federal governments have been variously involved in the funding and management of primary education in Nigeria. At the moment, the management of primary education remains a contemporary national issue as controversy has ensued since the federal government announced that it is handing over the management of primary education to the local governments, with a view to contributing its funding quota through the State governments.


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