Nigeria’s Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, has trained 450 early childhood educators and caregivers in Cross River State.
Dr. Stephen Odey, Chairman of the Cross River State Universal Education Board, said the training was flagged off with an advocacy workshop to sensitize Executive Secretaries, Supervisors, inspectors, and ECCDE teachers on the importance of ECCDE in the UBE programme.
Early Childhood Care Development Education, ECCDE, is an aspect of the Universal Basic Education, which was introduced in 1999 to increase children’s access to education and improve quality learning across Nigeria.
Odey, who further said the training was for 12 days, disclosed that the team spent 4 days with 150 teachers in each of the three senatorial district in Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
He said: “I was overjoyed to have 450 teachers receive such training. Children under five are very impressionable and we need special educators and caregivers to enable these category of children develop.”
“This training was also necessary to improve on the standard of education in our State. We need our teachers to remain relevant and effective in the education sector. We know that the quality of pupils is dependent on the quality of teachers,” said Odey.
A Deputy Director at the Ministry of Education, Abuja, Mr. kalu Obasi said the advocacy workshop was held to sensitize policy makers and other stakeholders on the importance of ECCDE and highlight challenges of its implementation.
He noted: “The essence of organizing a sensitization workshop of this nature was to encourage State Governments to establish Community Based Early Childhood Centres, CBECC, in hard to reach areas and deprived communities.”
The ECCDE Desk Officer under UBEC, Olumayowa Aleshin in a remark noted that children from ages zero to five require quality care, stimulation and conducive environment to express themselves.
He urged CR-SUBEB to “make classrooms stimulating enough by putting charts, story books, maps and other instructional materials in classrooms. I also advise Cross River State to access its UBE Intervention fund to aid the development of the ECCDE programme.”
Aleshin noted that ECCDE would promote holistic development of the child, reduce wastage and stagnation in primary education as well as boost enrolment and enhance Nigeria’s effort towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals earlier than scheduled.
According to him: “If children go through ECCDE, their brains will be properly developed. Children, who do not go through with the programme do not perform well.”
“The Ministry of Education through UBEC is advocating an increase of attention to ECCDE and CBECC to reach children from ages 3 to 5. This will ensure that children in remote and difficult to reach areas benefit from the programme too,” said Aleshin.
The Cross River State Government embraced ECCDE by establishing Early Childhood Development centres in most of the 1062 public primary school in the State.