The quality of education is a key element to socio-economic development in any society. Perhaps the most critical element in ensuring quality of education is the teacher. Good teaching methodology, with the right textbooks, will quickly provide a good platform for a quality education system in Nigeria.
The challenges are sometimes overwhelming when the fewer number of teachers are made to meet the needs of millions of children in school. The State Ministries of Education conducted a baseline survey to assess classroom teachers, the role of the head teacher and the level of pupils learning outcomes. The findings in most cases were alarmingly poor, with not much difference between qualified teachers and unqualified teacher with respect to output. The majority of teachers were themselves victims of an education system that was in serious downward slope.
Following this, the State Ministry of Education, the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs), supported by the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), embarked on a series of reforms that will help strengthen schools.
This work has focused on classroom teaching skill – in particular how to make teaching child-centred – and the organisational structures needed for SUBEB and LGEA staff to provide effective support and advice to primary schools.
With many school leavers unable to read or write, a specific focus has been on improving the teaching of basic literacy and numeracy. To support this, the states developed a benchmark for assessment and carefully designed literacy and numeracy lesson plans for Primary 1-5 teacher. These plans provide a step-by-step guide to teachers, while ensuring children become active learners.
The lesson plans, however, are not sufficient. Structures and processes have also been put in place so that teachers are continuously supported by both the State School Improvement Team and the LGEA-based school support officers.
We are sure that within a short time of these lesson plans being introduced, children’s learning abilities will improve considerably. The materials will also enable teaching and learning to be more exciting – an important element in all classes, but in particular at the primary level. We are confident that these lesson plans will raise standards and improve the quality of children proceeding to higher levels of education.
We commend all those who have produced these lesson plans and trained our teachers to use them. We offer thanks to the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for its ongoing support to education reforms in various states of the country through its ESSPIN programme.