UNICEF has trained 18,000 under-qualified teachers in the North East through the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Accelerated Fund intervention program starting from 2021.
The 12-month training is a Nigerian government initiative through the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Teachers Institute (NTI) and the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).
UNICEF’s support is to encourage under-qualified teachers to study and pass the TRCN’s qualifying examination.
“The programme has supported more than 18,000 unqualified teachers working in northeast Nigeria to study and pass the TRCN’s qualifying examination,’’ UNICEF’s chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Ms. Phuong Nguyen said.
She said at a dialogue with newsmen on Wednesday in Maiduguri that the teachers were inducted and licensed across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
She added that more than 500,000 children had also been provided with learning materials.
The capacity of 438 education officials had been strengthened on education-in-emergency leadership, and result-based planning and budgeting, Nguyen also said.
“The challenges of out-of-school children and the learning crises in the education sector remain issues that UNICEF and stakeholders are working to address.
“This is to ensure that every child has the opportunity that education offers and be equipped with skills to survive and contribute positively to the society.
“One major accomplishment is the teachers training programme of the GPE’s Accelerated Funding (AF) project,’’ she said.
Nguyen assured that with the training of the teachers, at least one million girls and boys would benefit as the newly certified teachers returned to their classrooms equipped with modern and effective teaching methods.
The modern teaching methods include skills to provide gender-sensitive and psychosocial support to learners, she explained.
She added that UNICEF was excited as the teachers training might finally be turning the tide against high school dropout rate as well as facilitate access and retention of children in school.
She assured that millions more children would surely have better learning outcomes with a large cohort of motivated, trained, prepared, and equipped teachers in classrooms across the Northeast geopolitical zone.
Nguyen lamented that as at 2022 only 29 per cent of schools in the Northeast zone had teachers with the minimum qualification where the average pupil-teacher ratio is 124 to 1.
“Almost half of all the schools need rehabilitation.
“Only 47 per cent of schools in Borno have furniture with lower proportions in Yobe (32 per cent) and Adamawa (26 per cent).
“In Adamawa, only 30 per cent of schools have adequate learning materials for pupils with lower proportions (26 per cent) in Borno and (25 per cent) in Yobe,’’ she said.
She added that it was not a surprise, therefore, that the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys conducted in 2021 showed that less than half of children (48.6 per cent) completed their primary school education in the northeast.
“About 1.9 million boys, girls and youth affected by conflict are without access to basic quality education in the region.
“This is inclusive of 56 per cent of all displaced children who are out-of-school,’’ Nguyen said.
In his remarks, Executive Chairman, Borno State Universal Basic Education Board, Prof. Bulama Kagu, commended the intervention saying it had helped to reduce the quantum of devastation meted to the region.
Kagu applauded the initiatives at helping to renovate classrooms, construct temporary learning centres, provision of instructional materials and training of teachers in psychosocial support to enhance teaching and learning.
“Government is cognizant of providing furniture in the schools through our matching grant from the Federal Government.
“For every matching grant intervention, there is provision to provide infrastructure, especially because of the burning down of schools by insurgents.
“With these interventions, learning has been enhanced within a short period and we hope to see more to have remarkable education standards at all levels from the primary school to the tertiary level,’’ he said.
The media dialogue was organized by the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF.