At ATLANTIC HALL, HOTEL PRESIDENTIAL, PORT HARCOURT, FROM OCTOBER 26TH TO 27TH ,2011
The second annual national conference on kindergarten education in Nigeria was organized by the Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI), a non-governmental and non-profit making organization to further the advocacy for providing quality educational foundation from the kindergarten level for all children, in Nigeria, particularly the poor, deprived, oppressed, vulnerable, discriminated and marginalized.
The two days conference held at the Atlantic Hall, Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, from October 26th to 27th,2011. Eight papers were presented at the conference with the theme, KINDERGARTEN EDUCATION: THE FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT. The papers present include:
Education, the foundation for Human Development: The Kindergarten Perspective by Professor (Mrs.) Julie Ibiam as lead paper. Kindergarten Education and National Development by Dr. (Mrs.) Samuel Valerie Kindergarten Education in Nigeria: State Government and Involvement by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Honourable Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. An overview of Empowerment Support Initiative and Kindergarten Education Advocacy at the International Arena, New York, United States of America by Her Excellency, Wife of the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Initiator and Founder of Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI), Dame Judith Amaechi. Quality Assurance and Kindergarten Education: Lessons for Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) by Dr. Nnamdi Anero. The future of Kindergarten Education in Nigeria by Dr.(Mrs.) Glayds Idogo. Kindergarten Education in Nigeria: Women’s Contribution by Prof. Amakievi O. I. Gabriel. Empowerment Support Initiative Kindergarten Schools and Networking: Global Strategies and Challenges by Dr.(Mrs.) Pat Bialonwu. These topics underscore the essence to strengthen and intensify advocacy for liberal and quality Kindergarten Education in Nigeria, with ESI approach as a model Given the modest achievement of establishing 75 Kindergarten Schools with about one third housed in permanent structures within three years of existence, it is possible to sustainably develop good quality human capital for the nation’s advancement. The overwhelming psychological dimension for future interaction in the nation’s social space is unqualifiable for united in Nigeria.
Against this backdrop among others seven groups (participants and paper presenters) were constituted to thoroughly deliberate on the issues examined in the papers because of their profound implications for Kindergarten Education Practice and ESI in particular. The following communiqué items were generated at the end of brainstorming and discussion exercise.
Empowerment Support Initiative Kindergarten Schools should be established in each ward in Rivers State for easy access and equal opportunity for all children in the state. This strategy is critical for liberal quality Kindergarten Education. Investing, shaping and re-shaping Kindergarten Education is mandatory towards producing world class leaders in the future. High quality Kindergarten Education should be provided because it is essential for healthy competition and contribution of ideas for quality interaction in the social sphere particularly in this 21st century globalized world. Kindergarten Education should be free and compulsory and can be achieved through synergy between government at all levels, corporate bodies, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) among others. Kindergarten School should provide food (at least one meal) and medical attention for the pupils to facilitate enrolment, retention and completion of education at this level. Advocacy Visits/enlightenment campaign and programs should be undertaken and sustained in all the 23 Local Government Areas in Rivers State. Bulk Short Message Service (SMS), Radio and Television adverts should be used to popularize Kindergarten Education (KG)
Curriculum should reflect local and indigenous culture as well as aspects of global culture with emphasis on ethics. Indigenous songs, poems and rhymes should be taught. International Languages should also be taught. State Government should assist to procure and circulate a uniform curriculum to all Kindergarten Schools and ensure its implementation.
Government at all levels should as a matter of policy assist Kindergarten Schools (especially non-profit making types) by providing some percentage of the funds needed for development.
Government should create a separate Board for Kindergarten Education so as to articulate and co-ordinate Kindergarten Education.
Government should without further delay establish a department for specialized training of Kindergarten Education teachers in Tertiary Education Institutions in Rivers State. There should be a scholarship programme for candidates who wish to specialize in Kindergarten Education as this would attract more people into this area of need.
EMPOWERMENT SUPPORT INITIATIVE MAGAZINE
Government should assist in equipping Kindergarten Schools and employing teachers for the non-profit making types such as ESI Schools.
Government should sponsor jingles on Radio and Television and other enlightenment programmes to create more awareness about Kindergarten Education (KG) and erase the impression that KG is for the rich. Government should legislate on companies to pay some tax for Kindergarten Education.
Government should assist in providing at least one day meal to KG pupils in non-profit making schools such as those established by E.S.I.
Government should legislate on teacher, pupil ratio in KG Schools such that there would be one teacher to 15 pupils in a class. This should also be enforced.
Government should honour women who have significantly contributed to the development of Kindergarten Education in the states and the nation, Nigeria.
Teachers in K.G. Schools should be trained and re-trained on a continuous basis so that they keep abreast with current trends and global best practices. Teachers should be regularly and properly supervised. Instructional materials should be improvised and provided to enrich the teaching and learning process by teachers and ESI. Absentee pupils should be visited by the teachers among others. Guidance counsellors and good minders should be part of the Kindergarten School Staff.
Women have huge and challenging roles to play in providing solid foundation for human development as such as they should: Ensure gender equality in Kindergarten Education especially for the girl-child. Contribute a variety of items to the Kindergarten schools such as snacks, food items, writings materials and even visit to the schools and relate with the teachers. Provide quality time and food as they interact with the pupils at home. Ensure the inculcation of morals and other social values in their children right from the K.G. level. Help the children to build confidence in themselves. Monitor children’s schools work, create time to care for them and be patient in relating with them.
Communities where the K.G. Schools are located should be involved at all the stages and processes of the schools’ establishment and administration. Various groups to be involved particularly are the Community Development Committees (CDCs) women’s Clubs/Associations/Clubs, Youth Groups, to give various forms of support.
Chiefs and Elders to help provide land and also fund and food items among others.
EMPOWERMENT SUPPORT INITIATIVE MAGAZINE
Companies operating in the communities should assist with funding and provision of infrastructures and facilities needed. The must be a Parents-Teachers Association working with E.S.I. and other groups for sustainability. Experts in Kindergarten Education should monitor the progress of ESI, K.G. Schools. E.S.I should request executive bill on K.G. education. Annual Conferences on K.G. Education should be organized at the Local Government Areas, so that a majority of the people would appreciate K.G. and help to sustain it. State Universal Basic Education Board and the Ministry of Education should be involved in monitoring the schools for sustainability.
PROF. AMAKIEVI O. I. GABRIEL Dame Judith Amaechi
Chairman, Conference Planning Committee Wife of Executive Governor
Rivers State, Initiator/Founder ESI
Administrator, Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI)