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1 PROMOTING EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND EDUCATION IN URHOBOLAND, NIGERIA: THE ROLE OF PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS* By Dr. Emmanuel Ojameruaye Vice President, Research & Program Development International Foundation for Education & Self-Help (IFESH) Scottsdale, Arizona State, U.S.A. *A keynote presentation made during the launching of the ECE program of Urhobo League of St. Louis, Missouri on July 24, 2010

2 What is Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)?
ECCE is care and education of children from birth to primary school age (i.e. to age 6 or 8). It covers children’s survival, growth, development and learning -including health, nutrition and hygiene, and cognitive, social, physical and emotional development – from birth to entry into primary school in formal, informal and non-formal settings ECCE covers very diverse arrangements, from parenting programs to community-based child care, center-based provision and formal pre-primary education, often in school ECCE programs typically aim at two age groups: a) children under 3 years; and b) children from age 3 to primary school (usually by age 6, and always by age 8) Early childhood education is the organized practice of educating those who are in early childhood, one of the most vulnerable stages in life. According to the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), it spans the human life from birth to age eight. Early childhood education often focuses on children learning through play. The terms preschool education and kindergarten emphasize education around the ages of 3-6 years. The terms "early childhood learning," "early care," and "early education" are comparable with early childhood education. The terms Day care and Childcare do not embrace the educational aspects. Many childcare centers are now using more educational approaches. They are creating curricula and incorporating it into their daily routines to foster greater educational learning.

3 Why ECE – The Case for ECE
ECCE is a right, recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been ratified by almost all countries of the world. Early Childhood is a time of remarkable brain development that lays the foundation for later learning. Children with access to ECCE generally perform better in primary and secondary schools, and perhaps at the tertiary level and later in life. ECCE can significantly improve the well-being of children, especially in developing countries. ECCE is socially cost-effective in the long-term: it is more cost-effective to institute preventive measures and support children early on in life than to compensate for disadvantage as they grow older. Affordable and reliable childcare provides essential support for working parents, especially mothers, and enhances women empowerment and household income and welfare. Investment in ECCE yields very high economic returns, offsetting disadvantage and inequality, especially for children from poor families

4 Global Situation of ECC
The youngest children have been neglected the world over in terms of care and learning. Many countries have no formal programs for children under 3 years. Most OECD countries have at least two years of free pre-primary education Although enrollment in pre-primary education has tripled since 1970, it remains very low in most of the developed world. Among the developing countries, Latin America (60.8%), the Caribbean (100%) and the Pacific (72% have the highest pre-primary gross enrollment ratios. Regionally, sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rate of 12.4% below Arab States at 15.7% and Central Asia at 26.9%. The private sector is prominent in sub-Saharan Africa, Arab States , the Caribbean and East Asia in the provision of ECCE.

5 Global Situation of ECC -cont
There are large disparities within countries. Children from poorer and rural households have less access to ECCE than those from richer and urban households The children most likely to benefit from ECCE programs – the poor- are the least likely to be enrolled ECCE staff in many developing countries have minimal (often inadequate or none) education and pre-service training, and are often poorly remunerated Governments accord relatively low priority to pre-primary education in their spending ECCE is not a priority for most donor agencies. Most allocate less than 2% of what they give for primary education to ECCE

6 Best Practice in ECCE: What works well
 An approach the combines nutrition, health, care and education is more effective in improving children welfare than limiting interventions  to one. An approach that builds on traditional childcare practices, respect for children’s linguistic and cultural diversity, and mainstream children with special education needs and disabilities. Mother tongue programs are more effective than those in official (non-mother tongue) languages. An approach based reasonable working conditions such as low child/staff ratio (less than 15:1), good rooms, and adequate materials including play materials (such as toys) that will enhance interaction between the children and the ECCE staff.

7 Critical Success Factors for an ECCE Program
 High level political support National ECCE Policy specifying roles and responsibilities of key players and budgetary commitments across sectors and levels of government. Increased and better-targeted public funding of ECCE, with particular attention to poor children in urban and rural areas and children with disabilities Inclusion of ECCE in key government documents such as the national/state/local government plans, budget and education plan. Increased allocation of funds to ECCE programs by donor agencies and the private sector Well-enforced national quality standards covering public and private provision for all age groups Strong partnerships between government and the private sector ECCE staffing. Access to appropriate training, quality standards and remuneration that retains trained staff; continuity in staffing. Age-appropriate curriculum. Parental and community involvement Supervision, quality control and regulation by government

8 ECCE IN NIGERIA Studies have shown that many parents in Nigeria do not value pre-primary school education due to distrust, poor quality, high cost and the notion that the child must be close to the warmth of the mother before primary school age Under Nigeria’s 1998 National Policy on Education, ECE was labeled as pre-primary education and defined as “education given to children aged 3 to 5 plus years prior to their entering primary school”. The policy document states the objectives of pre-primary education in the country and measures to ensure their achievement. However, very little has been done so far to realize the objectives other than the and FGN/UNICEF Cooperative Agreement in basic Education through which UNICEF provided assistance to some states for ECCE activities. Under this program, about 2,045 low-cost ECCE centers were established in 12 states catering for only 174,748 children aged between 3 and 5 years out an estimated population of over 25 million children below the age of 6 years in the country. The GFN/UNICEF ECCE program is an example of best practice that needs to be replicated throughout the country. The centers are run with NGOs and combine education for children with lessons on health and education, nutrition and sanitation for their mothers

9 ECCE IN NIGERIA - Problems
According to UNICEF “Though appreciable progress has been made in early childhood care and education in the past four years due to government policy requiring every public school to have a pre-primary school linkage, the proportion of children enrolled in pre-primary Early Childhood Care Centres still remains low at approximately 2.3 million children. This represents about 21 per cent of the population of children in this age group”. The caregivers of these centers are generally unqualified: about 85 per cent do not possess basic qualifications and more than half have no formal education. Another major issue in Nigeria’s early childhood care and development is the poor state of the infrastructure, equipment, facilities and learning resources. Essential learning resources are lacking in most facilities while the national curriculum is not yet widely operational. Mainstreaming of the early childhood education course into pre-service teacher training from the 2008/2009 session is expected to provide strategic solutions to some of the itemised problems. The EFA 2000 Assessment Country Report

10 ECCE IN NIGERIA - Problems
Eijieh (2006) and Ajayi (2008) have identified some of the challenges to ECCE in Nigeria to include the following: The “teacher factor”: lack of trained teachers in ECCE, few universities offering training in ECCE, etc The high pupil/teacher syndrome: The national policy on ECE stipulates 25:1 which is considered too high. In most countries, it is less than 15: 1 Issue of minimum standard and lack of standard curriculum The use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction in ECE Funding of ECE program Supervision of ECE programs in Nigeria Michael U.C. Ejieh (2006): Pre-primary Education in Nigeria: Policy Implementation and Problems. Elementary Education Online, 5(1), 58-64, 2006 Hannah O. Ajayi (2008): Early Childhood Education in Nigeria: a reality or mirage. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. Vol. 9, No. 4, 2008

11 ECCE in Urhoboland in Nigeria
1 =Abia 2= Akwa Ibom 3=Bayesla 4=Cross River 5=Delta 6=Edo 7=Imo 8=Ondo 9=Rivers

12 ECCE in Urhoboland Urhoboland has a population of about 2.5m over an area of about 5,000 sq. km. Of the 2.5m people, about 500,000 are children below 6 years, and less than 10% of these (50,000) have access to ECCE Although there are a few small towns (Sapele, Ughelli, and parts of Warri metropolis), much of urhoboland is rural. Relatively well-served by educational institutions. Has 3 universities, 2 colleges of education, 3 polytechnics, about 250 secondary schools and 1,000 primary schools. Poor quality of education. Increased income inequality –about 90% of the wealth of Urhoboland is controlled by about 10% of population. Widespread poverty and youth restiveness High unemployment, especially among school leavers and graduates resulting in increasing criminality, deviant behavior, devaluation of dignity of labor, lack of self-respect and value decadence

13 ECCE in Urhoboland - cont
Standard ECCE programs are almost not available. The existing Dare Care centres and Nursery Schools are privately owned and managed and they are located mainly in the urban areas. The quality of these centers and schools is very appalling. There are virtually no Dare Care centers or Nursery schools in most of the rural areas. Thus children from the rural areas and other poor ones in urban areas who do not have access to ECCE are seriously disadvantaged and tend to perform poorly in primary and secondary schools, thereby perpetuating the existing inequality in urhoboland Neither the federal, state or local governments are support ECCE programs. It is left to the private sector and private voluntary organizations to change the pathetic situation of ECCE in Urhoboland

Helping to provide infrastructure (hardware) for conducive learning environment for children, e.g. block of 3 classrooms with toilets, furniture, playground and play facilities (About N10m or $67,000 is required to provide infrastructure for pre-school in a village) Provision of software for ECCE, such a children books, writing and coloring materials, toys, charts, posters, TLMs, etc. Collect and ship donated “software” from the US to Urhoboland. About $20,000 required for shipping, port clearance, local transportation and distribution. Training of ECCE teachers – award of scholarships for pre-service and in-service training of ECCE teachers, sponsoring on in-service/continuing professional development for ECCE teachers, holding of seminars and workshops

Sensitization, capacity building and support of local communities and local entrepreneurs to establish and run ECCE centers. Lobbying, advocacy and putting pressure on local and international donors, private companies, governments and legislatures (fed, state and local), to support or establish ECE centers in Urhoboland, pass legislation on ECCE, establish grants to support LGC and CBOs or local entrepreneurs to establish and run ECCE centers. Holding government authorities accountable for support and establishing/running ECCE centers, or recruiting and paying teachers. Each LGC should be required to establish a given number ECCE centers in a a year. Each LGA must prepare an ECCE plan. During the annual conventions of UPU-USA or UNANA, visiting public officers should be lobbied and challenged to present a report of the achievement and progress on ECCE in all the LGAs of Urhoboland.

School C0nstruction in Kradji, Cote d’Ivoire Kindergarten (pre-school) class in one of the shelters in CDI A modern classroom for children in a cocoa-growing community in Ghana


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