International visit to Nigeria

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.

2 thoughts on “International visit to Nigeria

  1. Yes, having taught in Nigeria nearly 50 years ago (!), and as an educationalist, i am aware how important education is there. You don’t really give details of the education programme beyond reference to teacher support. What Nigeria needs is more well trained teachers in more schools and a halt to the massive corruption. Oil money needs to be directed to education for all, with decent class sizes, as well as , of course, a fully funded welfare state.
    I do hope you answer the comments we make as I have not received answers to the last comment I made on your blog.

  2. Shirly, yes, yes, yes Nigeria desperately needs trained teachers. Various researches supported by ESSPIN in various states (particularly in Northern Nigeria) show that teachers could not pass primary 5/6 transition exams to secondary 6(grade 7). This includes teachers in private schools!

    I am glad ESSPIN is working with teachers (malams) of the Quranic schools, I always found that they are a sort of excluded group in the Nigerian education world. I imagine many malams would appreciate and roll out training in their islamiyyas if they were only trained to do so. Though one challenge they have and so do many formal school teachers have is speaking English. This is is major handicap. A 2 yr teacher development programme may be too short to deliver…………………

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