EVALUATION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION CURRICULUM IN NORTH -WEST GEO-POLITICAL ZONE OF NIGERIA (2004-2015) - UNIPROJECTS

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EVALUATION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION CURRICULUM IN NORTH -WEST GEO-POLITICAL ZONE OF NIGERIA (2004-2015)

EVALUATION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION CURRICULUM IN NORTH -WEST GEO-POLITICAL ZONE OF NIGERIA (2004-2015)

ABSTRACT The study evaluated the implementation of early childhood care development and education curriculum in the North-West Geo-Political Zone of Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to evaluate the adequacy and standard of infrastructure, the standard and availability of resources including personnel and whether the early childhood care development and education programme has any influence on the academic performance of pupils at the primary educationlevel. Seven(7) hypotheses were formulated to find out significant differences in the opinions of the five groups of respondents.The total sample number of respondents was 392 made up of 146 Head Teachers,138 ECCDE Teachers,68 Supervisors of LGEAs,35 Supervisors of SUBEBs and five (5) Coordinators of UBEC. The selection of States was based on purposive sampling technique in which two (2) States out of the seven (7)States in the Geo-political zone were sampled. The education zones and LGEAs in the two (2) States were randomly sampled, as a result of which six(6) zones and six (6) LGEAsthat is, three(3) each from the twoStates were sampled respectively. The instruments for data collection were a questionnaire, observation and test. A total of 396 questionnaires were administered by the researcher and 392 copies were retrieved whiledatawere analysed using ANOVA, descriptive statistics,chi-square and t-test. Similarly, 5 centres were sampled for observation from each LGEA totalling 30 and the results were analysed using simple percentages. The research findings revealed that the ECCDE programme prepared children for primary education but there were inadequate instructional materials; human resources and health care;and with most of the centres facing teacher-pupils ratio challenges and the programme was partially implemented. Based on the findings from this study,recommendations were made that the ECCDEcurriculum should be simplified by breaking its contents into units of topics each with its appropriate teaching method for effective implementation; intensification of efforts by Governments to address pupils’ over-population as the teacher-pupils ratio per class was far from the set minimum standard; fostering cordial relationship between quality assurance officials on one hand, and the ECCDE personnel on the other; and encouraging teachers to use the appropriate teaching methods when and where necessary for effective implementation of the ECCDE programme not only in the North-West Geo-political zone but the nation at large.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Quality education at the early years of a child is very important and there is no gain saying the fact that these formative years have great impact on the later life of the child and consequently national development. In essence, the physical, emotional and cognitive development of the child, if properly taken care of would benefit the child and the nation in general. This is why the Education for All (EFA) goal urges all nations to expand early childhood care and education services to all children particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged by the year 2015. The education system in Nigeria before 1999 was six years in primary school, three years junior secondary school and three years senior school. The Federal Government of Nigeria in the 6th edition of the National Policy on Education is very clear on the importance of basic education as the edition highlights and emphasises among others; “the consolidation of Kindergarten, Primary and Junior Secondary education to a 10-year Basic Education in line with the UBE and its establishment Act”.
In Nigeria, pre-primary education caters for children aged 3-5 years, prior to their entering primary school and is aimed at facilitating a smooth transition from home to school; providing adequate care and supervision for children while their parents are at work (on the farms, in the markets, offices, and so on); preparing the child for primary education; inculcating social norms; inculcating in the child the spirit of enquiry and creativity through the exploration of nature, and the local environment, playing with toys, artistic and musical activities; teaching co-operation and team spirit; teaching the
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rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes, forms, and so forth, through play; and teaching good habits especially good health habits. The curriculum was however, reviewed and revised in 2003/2004 using an integrated bottom up approach, targeting children aged 0-5 years. This revised curriculum was approved for use by the government, and a training manual to facilitate the use of the curriculum was in the process of development. The training manual was expected to promote the integrated approach and converge all sectoral interventions, health, nutrition, water and environmental sanitation, psycho-social care, early learning, child protection- with the aim to fulfilling the rights of all young children and creating a conducive environment for them to survive, live, learn and reach their full potentials. Early ChildhoodCare Development and Education (ECCDE) centres, day care centres and play groups are usually for children aged 0-2 years and 2-3 years. The UBE Act (2004) has an expanded scope which includes programmes and initiatives for early childhood education and development. The UBE programme has made provision for every public primary school to have a pre-primary school linkage to cater for children aged 3-5 years. Now that the Early Childhood Development programme is covered bythe UBE law, government ownership at State/LGA/community levels is certain to increase, particularly regarding centres catering for the 3-5 year olds.
UNICEF (2003) Act on the Child Rights and UBE (2004) Act on the National Policies on Education, Food, Nutrition and Health, are laws and policies that have given shape to different sectoral interventions on Early Childhood Care Development and
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Education in the country. Currently however, there exists an Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) policy that integrates interventions from the various sectors to promote an integrated holistic approach to the development of the child in its very earliest years. This stand-alone policy is expected to bridge observed gaps in existing sectoral policies, for example, the National Policy on Education and the UBE Act both of which did not make specific provisions for children aged 0-3 years. The ECCDE are services meant for children under compulsory school age involving elements of both physical care and education. Apart from making critical contributionto cognitive stimulation, socialization, early education and child development, early education and care services are essential services in most cases given to employed parents. The programme may also be provided before or after for primary school aged children. ECCDE programmes include a wide range of part day, full school day, and full-work-day programmes under education, health, and social welfare auspices, funded and delivered in a variety of ways in both the public and private sectors. Early childhood education is also referred to as the education given in an institution to children prior to their entering the primary school. It includes the crèche, the nursery, and the kindergarten.
The early years of a child‟s life are the most important to the formation of intelligence, personality and social behavior of a child. The years before a child reaches Kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life to influence learning. That is why modern societies show serious concern for the education of their young ones by providing needed support to prepare them to succeed later in school. However, reports
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across the globe revealed that an estimated figure of one hundred million children struggle daily for survival in villages and cities, and are exposed to the risks of hunger, poverty, disease, illiteracy and abuses. The need to address the problems and salvage these children and the next generation of children from these menace, necessitated the Early Childhood Care Development and Education programme. The aim of ECCDE is to foster the proper development of the children, identify and address their problems, harness their potentials, shape their character, enhance their learning as well as equip them for life, so that their actions are directed towards positive personal, communal and global development in all ramifications of life. The period around 1990 marked significant changes for children and for ECCDE internationally. On November 20, 1989 the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was formally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly; signing commenced on January 26, 1990, and 61 countries signed the document that day. By September, 1990, 20 countries had ratified the Convention, bringing it into international law, hence UNICEF (2001) stated that it had been “ratified more quickly and by more countries than any previous human rights instrument.” At the age of 0-8 years, the child definitely begins to become a „person‟, hence the national policy on education also provides that appropriate levels of Government (State and Local) be required to establish and enforce educational laws that will ensure that established pre-primary schools are well-run, pre-primary teachers well qualified, and other appropriate academic infrastructure provided. Similarly, Ministries of Education are expected to ensure maintenance of high standards.
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All these notwithstanding, it is important to highlight that if efforts are not made to evaluate the curriculum implementation of early childhood care development and education, the programme may face challenges just like the UPE programme not only in the North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria but also throughout the country. Early years in life (0-8) are the most substantial to the formation of intelligence, personality and social behaviour of a child. Hence, the reason why this study sought to find out the challenges facing the ECCDE curriculum implementation from 2004-2015 in order to draw the attention of stakeholders for remedial actions to facilitate effective implementation of the programme in the zone. 1.2 Statement of the Problem
Effective implementation of the ECCDE curriculum requires various types of resources, which include physical facilities such as infrastructure, instructional and text materials, human resources and fund. However, it is a known fact that an appreciable number of the established pre-primary/nursery schools do not meet the conventional standards in terms of building, ventilation, sanitation, equipment, illumination and infrastructure. Other related problems areinadequacy of space, equipment and facilities that include classrooms, libraries, staff, laboratories and furniture. Most buildings in which some of the nursery schools are situated are far from ideal as some of them are not primarily meant for such institutions. Some of the schools are situated in dwelling houses or large halls and in some, face-to-face type of rooms are used as classrooms. Moreover, little consideration was given to site selection, accessibility, freedom from health and
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noise hazards and physical safety. Some classrooms even led directly to the main road or to wide gutters. Similarlya number of teachers in the pre-primary schools, apart from being inadequate, are not also qualified and majority of them have not received the special ECCDE teaching training programmes. In addition to the poor teaching methods are lack of materials such as toys, diagrams, charts, pictorials as part of instructional requirements. Other challenges include un-stimulating learning environments, preponderance of unqualified caregivers and high cost of education as well as exploitative and profiteering tendencies on the part of proprietors of ECCDE schools/centres. Other challenges are the issue of minimum standard and lack of standard curriculum; the use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction in ECE; and funding as well as supervision of the programme in Nigeria.Additional challenges are the issue of monitoring and evaluation as well as the establishment and management of ECCDE schools. Therefore, the aim of this research is to evaluate the curriculum implementation of early childhood care development and education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeriaand those resources that support and help its implementation in schools/centres of the selected States of Kano and Katsina.
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1.3 Objectives of the Study The objective of this study is to evaluate the implementation of early childhood care development and educationcurriculum in Kano and Katsina States. Specifically, the study seeks to: 1. assesswhether the early childhood care development and education curriculum prepares children for primary education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria; 2. determinethe qualifications of ECCDE teachers and their accessibility to the specialization program mmes in early childhood care development and education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria; 3. examinewhether the ECCDEcentres environment meets the prescribed standards for teaching/caring and learning in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria; 4. ascertainthe adequacy of provision of educational resources in the centres for early childhood care development and education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria; 5. findout the influence of ECCDEmonitoring and supervision by the States‟ Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) on the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria; 6. investigatethe methods used byECCDE teachers in implementing the ECCDEcurriculum in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria; and
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7. assessthe academic performance of pupils who attended the ECCDE programme and those who did not in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria. 1.4 Research Questions The main purpose of this research is to find answers to the following questions: 1. To what extent does the early childhood care development and educationcurriculum prepare children for primary education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria? 2. What are thequalifications of ECCDE teachers and extent oftheir accessibility to the specialization programmes in early childhood care development and education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria? 3. To what extent do the ECCDE environment meeting the prescribed standards for teaching/caring and learning in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria? 4. How adequate are theprovisions of educational resourcesin the centres for early childhood care development and education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria? 5. How has the ECCDE monitoring and supervisionofthe State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) influence the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria? 6. What methods doECCDE teachers use in implementing the ECCDE curriculum in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria?
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7. What are the differencesin the academic performance of pupils who attended the ECCDE programme and those who did not in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria? 1.5 Hypotheses The following hypotheses were proposed based on the afore-mentioned research questions: 1. There is no significant difference in the opinionsof respondents on the extent to which ECCDE prepares children for primary education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria. 2. There is no significant relationship between the qualification of ECCDE teachers and their havingaccess to the specialization programme in early childhood care development and education in North- West Geo-political zone of Nigeria. 3. There is no significant difference between the actual ECCDE environment and the prescribed standards for teaching/caring and learning in early childhood care development and education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria. 4. There is no significant difference in theprovision of adequate educational resources for early childhood care development and education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria. 5. ECCDE monitoring and supervisionby the State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) has no significant influence on the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) in North-West Geo-political one of Nigeria.
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6. There is no significant difference in the methods used byECCDE teachers in implementing the ECCDE curriculum in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria. 7. There is no significant difference in the academic performance of pupils who attended the ECCDE programme and those who did not in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria. 1.6 Basic Assumptions This research is predicated on the assumptions that:
1. Early Childhood Care Development and Education curriculum prepares children for primary education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria.
2. ECCDE teachers are qualified and have access to the specialization programme in early childhood care development and education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria.
3. ECCDE environment meets the prescribed standards for teaching/caring and learning in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria.
4. There is adequateprovision of educational resources in the centres for early childhood care development and education in North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria.
5. Monitoring and supervision by the State Universal Basic Education Boards in the Local Government Education Authorities influence the ECCDE staff in North West Geo-political zone of Nigeria.
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6. Play is the main method of teaching in the ECCDE centres of the North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria.
7. Pupils who attended ECCDE programme academically perform better than those who did not in the North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria.
1.7 Significance of the Study The purpose of any research is to make a significant contribution to knowledge. This research, therefore, makes a general evaluation of resources, which are very important and necessary for the successful implementation of early childhood care development and education curriculum in public schools/classes of Kano and Katsina States of Nigeria. The findings will be useful to curriculum planners and other stakeholders, such as the Federal Ministry of Education (FME), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the States Universal Education Boards (SUBEBs), Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs), teachers, parents and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in guiding them to appreciate the significance of the programme as well as in the provision of resources required for the successful implementation of the ECCDE curriculum.
Furthermore, the research will bring to light the need for the authorities concerned to ensure that teachers involved in early childhood care development and education specialize in that field in order to achieve the objectives behind the programme.In the same vein, the findings will highlight to NGOs those States or LGEAs that need assistance in terms of provision/rehabilitation of infrastructures, instructional materials, teacher training and the like towards successful implementation of the
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programme. In addition, the results will reveal to the States the needed resources in their various LGEAs or schools in order to promote the effective implementation of the ECCDE curriculum. The findings of the research will draw the attention of the parents/guardians and the society at large to the crucial role the ECCDE programme plays in shaping the academic performance of children at the later stage of their educational development. This will further underscore the need to give priority and place emphasis by all and sundry on the programme, which can be termed as the “solid foundation of education”. Similarly, the outcome of the study will reveal to those States in the North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria,the LGEAsthat are in need of resources both human and material, for the successful and effective implementation of the ECCDE programme.Finally, the research will highlight to those authorities that have roles to play in the implementation of the ECCDE programme such as UBEC, SUBEBs, LGEAs, NGOs, Schools/Centres, teachers and parents as well as the communities, the inadequacy or unavailability of resources facing the programme especially in their areas. 1.8 Scope of the Study
The Study is delimited to only public pre-primary schools that offer early childhood care development and education in the selected States of Kano and Katsinain the North-West Geo-political zone of Nigeria. This is to establish the extent to which the two States have complied with the specified standards of the Federal Republic of Nigeria‟s National Policy on Education. Similarly, it focused mainly on the infrastructure, human and physical resources needed for the curriculum implementation
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of Early Childhood Care Development and Education. Though, essential to the success of the implementation of ECCDE beyond the scope of this study,was the quality (qualification), quantity (number) of teachers and teacher-pupils ratio that is 25-30 pupils per teacher and a caregiver. The study also examined the roles of the participants in curriculum implementation namely, the Universal Basic Education Boards and the Local Government Education Authorities of the two States with specific reference to policy implementation.

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