Here’s a blog post from Nigeria. Yesterday, I was in Kano, launching a a two year teacher support programme alongside a significant contribution from the Kano state government, which will reach all 5,335 public primary schools in the state.
School means different things to different people.
For Adamu, it means his family sending him from their rural village to live and learn in a small room in the Fagge area of Kano in Northern Nigeria.
His family want him to receive a traditional Koranic education. Previously, this would mean a syllabus focused on rote learning of the Koran. Far from his family, without numeracy or literacy skills, Adamu may not have had access to important opportunities to fufil his potential.
For Fatima, school means a class of 50 in a school teaching 13,000 children. Fatima is in the morning shift when I arrive at Gobirawa special state primary school. Surveys in 2010 suggested as many as around 80% of Nigerian state teachers would struggle to pass the country’s tests set for 10 year olds.
But DFID programmes have made a difference here. Our ESSPIN programme has trained teacher trainers, mentored head teachers on school management, and helped write lesson plans. Today I launched a two year teacher support programme alongside a significant contribution from the Kano state government, which will reach all 5,335 public primary schools in the state.
Meanwhile, working with religious leaders and the state government, ESSPIN training and mentoring has meant Koranic schools can (and do) access the state primary curriculum. Standing next to the chief mallam in Fagge as he smiles, watching his three young children learn multiplication, I’m told that the school hopes to send its first pupils to state secondary school later this year.
That the government is focused on education, and recognises the work that must be done, is heartening. Because school can ultimately mean opportunity. And Nigeria has that in abundance. Education is one way in which Nigeria’s stunning economic growth can be shared by all of its citizens. And DFID will stand by Nigeria to achieve its ambitions in schooling it’s children.