The United Nations Children s Fund (UNICEF) has attributed lack of trained teachers, distance to school and inappropriate curriculum among others as main barriers facing the growth of Early Child Education in Nigeria.
UNICEF Education Specialist, Yetunde Oluwatosin who made the indication in Sokoto on Wednesday, at a two day Media Dialogue on Early Child Education ECE in Nigeria said that early childhood remains a critical issue for the transformation of children but a large inequalities persist between the poorest children noted that adequate data to drive early learning is critical to achieve progress in early child education, while stressing the need for a child centred method for learners to thrive.
“We also need to strengthen the roles of parents as the first educator of the child provide adequate funding for pre primary education build the capacity of teachers and provide adequate curriculum for ECE.
“If you look at it from the 2018 National Personnel Audit NPA of the Universal Basic Education Commission UBEC we have over 7 million learners but 154 000 teachers.
“This ratio is low and we must do something to improve this This disparity is there and we are still far behind in achieving the SDG goals she said.
According to him, the UNICEF Communication Specialist Dr Geoffrey Njoku noted that ECE is the foundation of a child’s development hence the need to be given attention in ensuring that thrive in the country.
While calling for an increase space for children issues in the country saying that if resources were judiciously used there would be educational transformation, he explained that only 36 percent of children in Nigeria attend Early Childhood Education (ECE).
As according to him, “The future we want is to ensure that Nigerian child have quality education ECE is the stimulation for later development We need to continue to advocate for stakeholders attention on ECE because science has shown that if we start with ECE a lot of development will happen in the country.”
On her part, the Country Coordinator Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI) Nigeria, Dr Amy Panyi stressed the need to promote the early childhood education to have robust sector, as she also called for the engagement of stakeholders through curriculum and capacity development of teachers as well as special education support for the children, adding that children allowed to play in class through the ECE have the ability to create innovatively and relate socially with positive impacts on the latter part of the child s life.
Also speaking, the UNICEF Sokoto Chief of Field Office, Mrs Maryam Darwesh said the development of the brain in the early years is a pathway that affects physical and mental health learning and behavior throughout the life cycle, noting that children who participate in well conceived ECE programmes tend to be more successful in later schools.
The workshop was organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau CRIB of the Federal Ministry of Education.