Ebonyi education officers, teachers express satisfaction over ECD training by UNICEF

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Ebonyi State teachers at the workshop

  • Appeals for employment of more teachers to enhance teaching, learning

By Nweze Anaga, Abakaliki

Education officers, teachers among others in Ebonyi State have expressed joy and satisfaction over “Early Child Development (ECD)” training organized by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to equip teachers handling preprimary school classes  with modern teaching methodologies, skills and lesson plans that will upgrade their knowledge in handling the ECD classes.

The five days training, which started from 2rd May and ended on May 6, 2022  was organized by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Universial Basic Education Board held at Owutu Edda Central School, Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

According to the director in-charge of UNICEF-Assisted programmes in Ebonyi State Universial Basic Education Board, Dr. Christogunus Nweke, said that the training was local government-based, stressing that the participants were selected by the local government education officers who are directly incharge of the teachers at the local government level.

He added that UNICEF funded the training since 2018 in Ebonyi State, but the training was mainly focused on three councils that were being funded by UNICEF which include: Izzi,Ikwo and Afikpo South representing each Senatorial zone.

Nweke also explained that the criteria include: All schools in Afikpo South must be represented, and should also ensure equity in the selection process and pay more attention at the caregivers, who had never benefited in the programme before to ensure that the receive proper training for effective teaching and learning.

He explained that the purpose of the training was to boost the capacity of teachers that teach in our preprimary school centres; the preprimary school centres attached to government schools to enable them adapt to a modern appraoch called, “Regio-Emillia Teaching Approach,” to instructional delivery.

“The training is local government-based. Participants were selected by the local government education officers who are directly incharge of the teachers at the local government. The criteria is that all schools in Afikpo South must be represented, and should also ensure equity in the selection process and pay more attention at the caregivers who had never benefited in the programme before.

On the challenges before them, he said that it ranged from structural, institutional and teaching problems, saying that the sources of learning materials had always posed a challenge to academic institutions since schools and communities do not replace their learning materials after use, calling on government to recruit more teachers for a comprehensive teaching and learning in schools across the state.

“Some of the challenges are structural, teaching, institutional among others.

“The problem of learning materials has always been in the education sector principally because many materials are consumables, and most of the times, when these materials are selected and used, the schools and communities do not replace this learning materials again.

“So, based on the impact of instructional materials in effective teaching and learning more especially at the ECD level. We integrated the development of instructional materials, the“ Regio-Emillia Teaching Approach” so that they will be able to produce some of the learning materials such as toys and other play materials to make sure there is no gap between what government provided and what is needed in the schools.

“I am confident that the skills they have aquired in the cause of this training, they are going to apply it, and if any of them does not apply it, we have already sensitized quality assurance department at the local government to step up monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the teachers utilized them.

“We have been able to build capacity to ensure that the local government education authorities actually repricate it as well as state government.

“More especially, we have been able to menstream this method in the annual UBEC Funded  Teachers Capacity Development. Infact, it is a very big achievement.

“Basically, I would want government to ensure that more teachers are recruited because they number of teachers have decreased.

“I also want to appeal to communities to step up their efforts in partnering with government to run schools and ensure that community teachers are employed.” he said.

On his part, one of the facilitators, Dr. Stanley Ikoro, said that the training was to stepdown the Rejio-Emillia Teaching Method” for teachers handling ECD classes at preprimary school level to be well edified on skills to develop daily teachers plan among others.

“Today’s training is quite successful. Today is the 5th day. The teachers had been drilled on the methodology; the skills and the lesson plan which we call “Daily Teacher’s Plan”on how the will manage the school each day. It has been impressive and they have learnt alot today.

“It is meant for those handling our ECD classes to enable them teach those children adequately at preprimary school level. ECD means “Early Child’s Development.”

“I am confident that it will impact positively on the children through their teachers. We are going to embark on monitoring to ensure quality output from the teachers.”

He however advised  government authorities not to transfer the trained teachers to other schools, but to allow them stay up to five  years  before transfer, to enable them impact on the children.

“My challenge is that, those that had been trained may not be allowed to remain in the same school. They may be transferred to another school. I have pleaded with the education secretary to allow them remain for at least five years.

While expressing their feelings about the training, Mrs. Onyike Nnenna, an ECD teacher at Nkpoholo Primary School, Itim Eda Afikpo South, said that the refresher training was about handling ECD classes with materials available in their environment using “Regio-Emillia method”

“We had been trained before, now we are refreshing and developing what we have forgotten. Handling these children is not easy because you have to bring it down to their level.

Others like Mrs. Elizabeth Nwogu and Okoro Rosslyn noted that the training was wonderful because it was an eye-opener to them, noting that it enhanced their knowledge on how to handle the children with the local materials available to impact knowledge on them and they children will exploit it  to bring out something meaningful.

In his remarks, the Afikpo South Education Secretary, Comrade Oti Ogene, applauded the efforts of UNICEF in collaboration with Universial Basic Education Board (UBEB) for organizing the training for teachers in the area, stating that he has set up a committee to ensure full implementation.

“I am satisfied with the way our teachers were trained because it helps to equip the caregivers with the necessary knowledge on how to handle the children under their care. Before now, they don’t know their left and right, but I am happy that they are fully equipped with the requisite knowledge as caregivers.

“To ensure commitment and effective teaching and learning, I use to send my quality assurance team to go round the schools to supervise the roles they are playing in various schools under my watch.

“I appeal to state government to recruit more teachers. When we went to UBEB, they instructed us to ensure that every school has aleast six teachers and I am doing my best to ensure that we maintain that from primary one to six.”

 

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