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Build Model Day Care, Nursery School in each local government, FG told

By Boniface Okoro, Umuahia on 20/08/2012

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A university don has called on the federal government to build a model Early Childhood Care (ECC) Centre in all the 774 local governments in the country and provide scholarship and bursary awards to nursery school teachers to promote early childhood education in the country.

“I’m suggesting, let there be a model ECC centre in each local government in the federation so that private owners can come there and look at what it looks like because a good number of them that are operating day care centres, nursery schools, both public and private, are not knowledgeable in this area,” said Dr. Jude Manu Opara.

Opara, the Acting pioneer Head of Department, Early Childhood Education, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, told Transport & Business Express in an interview at Okpula Ngwa, headquarters of Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area, that only such steps would guarantee the success of early childhood education in the country.

He acknowledged that nursery; an essential part of education, was quite new in Nigeria, adding that it would require adequate funding to make the desired impact.

 “The importance of early childhood education cannot be over emphasised.  A research in Africa has shown that a child develops 95 per cent of his or her intelligence at the age of eight years while at the age of five years, the child has developed 65 per cent,” he said.

“This shows the importance of early childhood education that for somebody to have developed his or her intelligence at the age of eight years, even if he is going to be 100 years, is going to be pursuing five per cent. What it implies is that government should invest more. In fact, government has been trying but its best is not good enough because they have made it possible for all public schools to have a section that has to do with a nursery school, that is three to five years, but they have not captured the day care centre,” he added.

Opara argued that most day care centres and nursery schools in the public and private schools were nothing to write home about, a situation he enjoined education secretaries in the local government system to address.

According to him, both government and privately-run day care centres and nursery schools must meet prescribed minimum standards in early childhood education.

The expert called on government to organise workshops for handlers of the infants while local governments could partner with UNICEF to retrain and upgrade teachers’ knowledge in the area of early childhood education.

“Once we miss these children at this tender age whatever we are doing is useless because as far as I am concerned, investing huge amounts of money in the upper level of educational system is not helping us in this country,” he remarked.

Just recently, he said, President Barack Obama of the United States invested $81 million in early childhood education.

“If they (America) are still investing in early childhood education and seeing the standard of education there, that tells you the importance of early childhood education,” he said.

*Photo shows Dr. Opara

Source TBE

Posted 20/08/2012 8:52:29 PM


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