By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-A curriculum aimed at accelerating the education of the over 10 million out-of-school children in the country has been developed.
The curriculum tagged: “Accelerated Basic Education Programme, ABEP, was developed by the federal government in collaboration with the European Union PLAN International and other development partners.
Executive Secretary of Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, NERDC), Prof. Ismail Junaidu, while handing down the curriculum to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, Thursday, in Abuja, explained that the programme was designed to provide equivalent, certified competencies for basic education through effective teaching and learning approaches that match the recipients’ cognitive maturity.
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Prof. Junaidu said the programme which was divided into three levels consisting of three stages each, was adaptable to the existing school system and needs of the target group, to provide a long-term solution to the menace of out-of-school children in the country.
He explained also that the curriculum covers English Language, Mathematics, Nigerian history and values, basic science technology, and one Nigerian language.
He said: “ABEP was designed to provide a catch up educational programme suitable for the educational needs of Out-of-school-children and in the process mainstream them to formal school programme or provide them with alternative career path through enrolment into vocational training centres, after completing basic education.
“It has pathways to mainstreaming learners into relevant levels of schooling based on proper profiling and effective instruction and learning.”
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, noted that the major source of criticism in the last two years was the obsolete curriculum for schools across all levels in the country.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Arc. Sonny Echonu, said the reinvigoration of curriculum from the tertiary to basic education was a welcome development.
“We are very pleased with the NERDC for focusing on the very vulnerable segment of our population; those who either never had the opportunity of going to school, those who are above 10 years and more, or those who started and had to drop for whatever reason or the other;
“Particularly, those upon whom disruptions were imposed by circumstances beyond their control. We are talking about insurgency and other sorts of insecurity that had led to this.”
Interim Country Director, PLAN International, Robert Komakech, said the goal of the European Union was to support early recovery and increase resilience in education in Nigeria’s education system.
The programme which kick-started from Borno as a pilot state, is focused on increasing access to safe, quality and inclusive education opportunities both formal and non-formal, for conflict-affected children, adolescents, and youth, in order to improve retention and completion of education to achieve better learning outcomes.
“This category of children and youths are found in various parts of the country. The situation became worsened by the escalation of insurgency in the northeast leading to the closure of many schools and the displacement of a huge number of persons including children and adolescents.
“The flexibility of ABEP can overcome factors which might preclude children who are forced to work, are over-age, are young mothers, or who face other forms of exclusion from entering or remaining in the formal education system,” Komakech said.
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