By Elizabeth Uwandu & Esther Oyeniyi
Alarmed by the challenges that have besieged the education sector, especially at the formative years of education, stakeholders at the Second Round Table Conference organised by the Association of Nursery and Primary Education Instructors in Nigeria, ANPEIN, and cordinated by Mr Sunday Fawowe, a lecturer in Early Childhood Care and Education Department , Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, AOCOED, Otto/Ijanikin, have called for urgent steps to halt the decadence in the sector.
The conference has held at AOCOED has its theme, “Contemporary issues in school system: The role of stakeholders.”
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In her contributions, Dr Ola-Alani Eniola,a project supervisor, National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, lamented that school citing, employment of teachers and the lack of interest in inculcating indigeneous languages were some of the challenges confronting early childhood education in Nigeria.
According to her, “The first contemporary issue in early childhood education is that of school citing. Some school owners cite schools by the road side, market place, garage and so on, and the effects on our children include being exposed to all manner of vices.
“The other one is the employment of teachers. I am happy that the National Universities Commission, NUC is trying to solicit for graduates of AOCOED into the teaching profession. However, it is worrisome that , people don’t employ those who study education anymore but those with Higher National Diploma, HND holders. So, my take is that let us employ those that are well trained to teach children especially at the formative years,” she said.
She also called for the embrace of moral songs rather than the use of religious songs in school gatherings.
“How will you be singing religious songs on the assembly ground, the assembly ground has turned to church and mosque. I am not saying we should not sing religious songs in the school but let there be morals. We have to introduce morals to them through songs, so please our moral songs should not die.
“And we need to teach our children the language of our immediate environment. This is very important and essential. Some of us don’t want to teach our various languages again but we prefer teaching in English all through. I am not saying international curricular are not good but please adaptation of the environment language is very important,” she said.
Reiterating the call for the restoration of basic six class in Nigeria, especially in private schools, Mrs Florence Adekogbe, CEO/Lead consultan, Florish-Gate Consult, explained that primary education, being in the lowest ring of the ladder and the foundation, must be given adequate attention
On the importance of primary six education, she said, “it is also an essential component in the level of educational system. It is an education that is offered to children of ages 6 to 12. Primary six education is the education that prepares pupils for transition to the secondary school. It provides a strong foundation for further education; prepares the pupil with cognitive abilities; and it prepares the pupil for adjustment.”
Adekogbe who noted that government alone could not provide basic education for all,
called on private school owners to raise up their game.
For Orji Emmanuel,national president, Association for Formidable Educational Development, AFED explained that contemporary issues in Lagos State included: curriculum reviews and structuring them to solve national problems.
He also mentioned poor management and monitoring of schools, poor infrastructure and teaching facilities; curbing examination malpractices and economic hardship.