A teacher in class

By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
As the test-running of the 9-Year Basic Education curriculum in all the nation’s primary and junior secondary schools continues, the Federal Government has called on state governments and owners of private schools to show seriousness in ensuring a successful implementation of the curriculum.
Apart from providing adequate funds for putting in place modern infrastructure, school proprietors, including Federal and state governments as well as private school owners, also need to enhance the professional standards of teachers and offer equitable remuneration.

The Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu says much of this: “There is the need to train or re-train adequate number of teachers who can effectively implement the curriculum, and also to provide an enabling environment for the teachers to operate.

There is also a need to develop adequate and up-to-date resources for teaching. There must be a sustainable capacity building mechanism to support professional development.”

This clarion call on school proprietors is in realisation of the significant roles they need to play if the basic curriculum is to be successfully implemented. For instance, the effective teaching of science and technology at the basic education level depends on the ability of school proprietors to provide well-equipped workshops as well as relevant instructional materials that will enhance the teaching and learning process.

This informed  the reactivation of the National Festival of Instructional Materials (NaFIM) by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC). NaFIM is a forum where schools from different states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory gather to showcase their best practices in making classroom instructional materials from local resources.

Stakeholders are quite aware of the important role which the use of relevant instructional materials will play in the implementation of the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum, a realisation that goaded them to pass some resolutions at the recent convocation of the Network of Educational Services Centres in Nigeria which held in Abuja.

According to the delegates who came from Education Resource Centres, NERDC, FCT and  State Education Boards, it is imperative for teachers to use instructional materials in their classrooms, that all stakeholders in education should partner with schools in sourcing and producing instructional materials to aid effective communication in the class and that emphasis should be laid on teachers’ creativity in sourcing for and using appropriate instructional resources for teaching and learning.

They also called for the intensification of capacity building workshops to tackle the challenges teachers face in developing instructional materials as well as the exposition of teachers to best practices through field trips and seminars in order to learn and adopt appropriate techniques and procedures for using instructional materials in the classrooms.

Initiating and sustenance of mentoring for teachers on selection and use of instructional materials is also part of the resolution made by stakeholders.

The Federal Government has shown serious commitment towards improving teachers capacity as regards the implementation of the curriculum. Last year, the Federal Ministry of Education picked 41master trainers from each state of the Federation and FCT, totalling 1,554 and subjected them to rigorous training exercise on the curriculum. These master trainers are in turn to train teachers in their respective areas.

The NERDC also carried out a series of sensitization and advocacy interactive workshops on the curriculum across the country.

Interestingly, relevant instructional materials are recommended in the curriculum having taken cognisance of the fact that the curriculum represents the total experiences to which all learners must be exposed. The contents, performance objectives, activities for both teachers and learners as well as evaluation guide are unambiguously articulated in the curriculum.

For instance, in the Basic Technology curriculum for JSS1-3, the following teaching and learning materials are recommended for the teaching of Metalwork: various machines, centre lathe, power hacksaw, pedestal drilling and pedestal grinder.

The same thing goes for the teaching of Soldering and Brazing with soldiering/ brazing tools, equipment and relevant materials being some of the recommended teaching and learning material.

To ensure an effective teaching of Concept of Maintenance at the JSS level, instructional materials like grease, engine oil, tools and machine parts are listed in the curriculum while teachers are to teach Woodwork and Metalwork through the use of measuring tools, driving tools, setting and marking out tools, boring tools and accessories, holding and supporting devices and cutting tools.

Relevant instructional materials are also suggested in the curriculum for the teaching of Basic Science and Technology at Primary 4-6. For instance, it is expressly stated in the curriculum that pupils are to be exposed to the use of ICT gadgets, including computer gadgets.

The tools and equipment, which are listed in the curriculum as essential for the teaching of Basic Science and Technology, presuppose that project-based learning is electricity, building, wood and metal work and so on are fully integrated in the curriculum.

This also implies that well-equipped workshops are to be provided by the Federal Government for Unity Schools, by state governments for state-owned schools and by private owners for privately-owned schools.

However, stakeholders are of the view that the Federal Government must show more commitment to the idea of Vocational Innovative Enterprise Institutions (VIELs) so that products of the Nine-Year education programme, who would have acquired professional skills, will still spend additional one or two years, if they are not going into Senior Secondary School, with privately-owned vocational institutions for the purpose of learning more vocational skills.

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