Thursday, June 30, 2022

Constitution amendment: NASS moves basic education to chapter of right of citizens

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Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The National Assembly says it has concluded the constitutional amendment process of moving basic education from chapter two of the Constitution to chapter four of rights of the citizens.

The Chairman, House Committee on Basic and Secondary Education and Services, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday at the National Roll Out of the Accelerated Basic Education Programme, ABEP.

The event is organised by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development, NERDC, in collaboration with Plan International, Save the Children and the EU.

Mr Ihonvbere, represented by a member of the House, Hon. Shehu Kakale said that this would radically overhaul the picture, planning of resources and implementation of educational programmes in Nigeria.

According to him, there should be no child who will be out of school and this it is going to be a fundamental right of Nigerian child to be educated.

“We have already concluded a constitutional amendment process, which is the amendment of the Constitution to move basic education from chapter two of the constitution to chapter four of rights of the citizens.

“As part of our national responsibility in the National Assembly, we are here to throw our weight behind the executive arm of government.

“This ABEP is one of the many programmes that is fashioned to mob up out-of-school children in Nigeria.

“We believe it is the responsibility of government to provide these schools, teachers, teaching aids and productive and functional educational curriculum to all Nigerian children.

“With this roll out now, it is going to be stepped down nationally. The national assembly will play its role in providing the needed funds to upscale and implement the programme nationwide.’’

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According to him, Nigeria has one major developmental challenge in education which is the out-of-school syndrome which is even more than 11 million.

Mr Ihonvbere said that the country would never achieve its developmental goal in any sector except the number of out-of-school problem was addressed.

Also, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, while unveiling the Accelerated Basic Education Programme Products, ABEP, said that products would help confront the challenges of out-of-school children by improving literacy in the country.

Mr Adamu, who was represented by the Director of Reform Coordination and Service Improvement in the ministry, Ishaku Abdulwasiu said that the products would be implemented in schools nationwide.

He said that specific goal of the programme was to mop-up or reduce to the barest minimum and bring back to school the large number of overage and out-of-school children who are disadvantaged and marginalised.

According to him, although the programme was well thought-out and properly designed, there was the compelling need to validate its usability and effectiveness within the educational landscape.

He, therefore, pledged to ensure collective institutionalisation of ABEP for sustainability by putting up appropriate policy framework and monitoring structure.

The Executive Secretary, NERDC, Prof. Ismail Junaidu said the programme was borne out of the 2030 Education Framework for Action, which identified the need for certified education programming it afforded flexible and alternative pathways including entry/re-entry points into the formal education system.

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According to him, the accelerated education programmes is today used as a standard descriptive term for flexible, age-appropriate education programme and run in an accelerated timeframe that provides pathways to mainstreaming learners into relevant levels of schooling based on proper profiling.

“The overarching objective of ABEP is to provide an alternative educational programme suitable for the needs of overage out-of-school children and youths, and in the process mainstream them to regular school programme or provide them with alternative career path through enrolment into vocational training centres.

“The intention to develop the programme also arose because of the need to provide a national framework and curriculum standard that can be used in all states of Nigeria where there are such peculiarities,” he said.

In the same vein, the Country Director, Plan International, an International NGO, Charles Usie, said the process of the ABEP had been tested in Borno and Yobe as the pilot states and had proven to be effective methods of teaching.

Mr Usie added that the process would leave no one behind as it was a way of bringing children who were out of school back to normal education.

“Priotising education gives an opportunity for one to thrive, opportunity to fight in life and be productive in life. We are celebrating another opportunity for Nigerians who will otherwise have no chance in life.

“This launch today is sacred, we are already testing this product and we are facing the right direction because testing products has worked in Borno and Yobe states,” he said.

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The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, Prof. Olusegun Ajiboye, said that the project had shown that Nigeria was ready to address the fundamental challenge of out-of-school children.

Mr Ajiboye said that the council would collaborate with NERDC to ensure the curriculum was delivered excellently in schools.

Also, the Registrar, National Examination Council, NECO, Prof. Ibrahim Wushishi advised NERDC to ensure the ABEP was taught in the different Nigerian languages rather than the usual English language.

Mr Wushishi said doing this was the only pathway to ensuring the country developed.

“Curriculum is the foundation of knowledge and the superstructure of a society is driven by knowledge.

“Country that has developed anchored their development on knowledge economy. I hope that this curriculum will be beneficial to the Nigerian children and Nigeria as a whole.

“Also, if you look at societies around the world that has advanced, their language of instructions are largely their indigenous language and so we as a country can also look in this direction and teach in our own indigenous languages,” he said.

The products unveiled are the ABEP Curriculum, ABEP Teachers Pack and the ABEP National Guideline.

The products are produced to target disadvantaged children and youth who are internally displaced, street children, out-of-school children from ages 10 to 18, who never enrolled in school or dropped out before completion of basic education.


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