As part of efforts to tackle the crisis of out-of-school children in Borno State, North East Nigeria, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has partnered the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) to deploy 200 graduates of the institution to teach children in the state.
The Education Manager, UNICEF Borno Field Office, Nasser Kaddoura, who disclosed this during a five-day training for the newly recruited teachers, said the participants, who are fresh graduates of UNIMAID’s faculty of education, have been deployed to provide afternoon education services in Borno communities and Q’uranic centres.
Mr Kaddoura said the deployed teachers will strengthen the quality of teaching and learning in selected Tsangaya centres and Islamiyah schools in the state.
This, according to him is aimed at ensuring the availability and quality assurance of education services for out-of-school children in the state.
He said; “UNICEF and its partners are collaborating to ensure that access to education translates to qualitative learning. This will ensure that children are learning as part of increasing access through non-formal education settings. That is why this partnership will use the right teaching methods to ensure that children receive qualitative basic education after which they can opt for a further educational or vocational pathway.”
“The Ministry of Religious Affairs has shown its commitment by directing Tsangaya centers and Islamiyyah schools to be part of this intervention. The teachers have also indicated their readiness to make a difference. UNICEF is happy that children who were hitherto out-of-school can receive education in their own communities and be equipped for the future.”
The ministry’s spokesperson, Umar Muhammad, who also spoke at the event said the state government is ready to invest in quality education for children.
“This is an opportunity for our children who cannot read and write to benefit. The state government has already piloted successfully the Teaching at the Right Level (TARL) initiative in formal education settings and is always supportive of efforts at ensuring that all children in the state are learning. This is the beginning, we are hopeful that more teachers from the university will be added to more Tsangaya centres and Islamiyyah schools in the scale up phase,’’ he said.
Teachers present also expressed their satisfaction in the initiative. One of them, Amina Amatiao, said: “I am a trained teacher, but I have learnt so much these few days. I have a new approach to classroom management and assessment tools now. I do not need to wait till the end of the term to assess the children. I will assess at the beginning of the project so that I will know whether they improved in their numeracy and literacy skills or not.
“Even the sitting arrangement is different. The training has given me skills to ensure that all the children participate in class. The sky is not the limit if parents can support us and monitor their children at home.”
The TaRL training deploys a progressive model of initial, middle and final assessments for children to track their learning abilities. Supported by the European Union’s Early Recovery and Resilience programme in Borno State, the training is a programme of the United Nations Children’s Fund, in partnership with the Borno State Universal Basic Education Board, Ministry of Religious Affairs and the University of Maiduguri.