By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has tendered a passionate appeal to the Bauchi State Government to invest five per cent (5%) of allocated budget for education into Early Child Development and Pre-primary Education.
The Fund’s Chief of Field Office in Bauchi, Bhanu Pathak made the appeal during a two-day Policy Dialogue on Pre-Primary Education, held at Command Guest House, Bauchi.
The Advocacy meeting was organized by the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) in collaboration with UNICEF Field Office, Bauchi.
Pathak said: “Early Childhood Development (ECD) in the early stage of a child is crucial and fundamental as it greatly influences their personality in the early stage of life”.
According to him, research has shown that ECD has a lot of benefit to academic achievements, educational progression and attainment in life, hence imperative to invest in ECD in order to have useful citizens.
He said, “ECD is a critical tool for the social, technical, and economic development of any nation. It is also the best weapon against poverty and ignorance, and indeed the only sustainable legacy a child can get from his or her country”
Pathak however expressed concern that Bauchi state has low number of children in pre-primary schools and low number of primary schools (34%), as well as low schools with pre-primary education in the state.
He also revealed that the state also has low number of pre-primary teachers (523 with only 287 trained) while pupil-classrooms ratio is not favourable for effective teaching and learning process.
The UNICEF Chief assured that the fund is committed to sustain support to the state government to ensure quality education and development of children.
Pathak also assured that UNICEF would work with all arms of government, civil society organizations, development partners, private sector, families and communities to increase support for young children through the existing community system building on the positives practices that already exists
“UNICEF aim is that all Nigeria children across the country have better start to life using evidenced based implementation strategy as a support for national priority to achieving the SDGs for child survival, growth and development”, he stated.
“We therefore need to influence actions around the five core areas of planning and resource allocation, families and communities, curriculum, qualified pre-primary teachers and quality assurance that make pre-primary sub sector and support of the one year pre-primary education policy provision in Nigeria’s National Policy for education”.
“With the current policy one year pre-primary education in Nigeria’s national policy for education, Bauchi state government should actualize the policy and intensify rigorous campaigns and support of learning materials”, Pathak concluded.