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/. Access the article here.
Vincent Ujumadu, “10m children to benefit from FG’s school feeding programme,” Vanguard, 1/6/2017. Access the article here.