Assessment Of Early Childhood Care Education Providers’ Adherence To The Provisions Of The National Minimum Standards On Early Childhood Education

Project and Seminar Material for Child and Basic Education

Assessment Of Early Childhood Care Education Providers’ Adherence To The Provisions Of The National Minimum Standards On Early Childhood Education


Abstract


The study was designed to find out the extent to which the Early Childhood Care Education providers’ adhere to the national minimum standard on Early Childhood Care Education in Owerri Education Zone. A structured questionnaire titled “Early Childhood Care Education Providers Adherence to the National Minimum Standard Questionnaire (ECCEPANMSQ)” was developed by the researcher to guide the study. 51 items were trail-tested on a sample of 16 Caregivers and 4 ECCE providers in 4 ECCE Centres in Okigwe education zone. The data obtained were computed using Crobach Alpha method. This gave an overall score of 0.71. The five research questions were analyzed using mean and Standard Deviation, while the t-test statistics was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. An overview of the overall results showed that ECCE providers to a little extent recruit staff in compliance with the national minimum standard on ECCE, ECCE centres were to a little extent supervised in compliance with the national minimum standard on ECCE, ECCE providers to a little extent adhere to the use of instructional materials in compliance with the national minimum standard on ECCE, ECCE providers to a little extent adhere to the provision of environment that promotes quality learning outcomes in compliance with the national minimum standard on ECCE and ECCE providers to a little extent adhere to the protection of children’s health in compliance with the national minimum standard on ECCE. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommends among others that; National and State desk officers should embark on regular visitation to ensure that ECC centres are established in compliance with the national minimum standard as prescribed by NERDC. Judging from the findings of the study, limitations of the study were identified and suggestions for further studies were made.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

People and nations are what they are because of the nature and types of education they have been exposed to. Education is a process of developing knowledge ability in learners in such a way that they use it to improve their society. Following the Nigerian National Policy on Education (NPE), the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) (2004), defined education as that process that helps to develop the whole being, physically, mentally, morally, politically, socially, economically and technologically to enable individuals function in any environment in which they may find themselves. Education is a process of developing knowledge ability in learners towards the formation and modification of their behaviours for the benefit of the society. Consequently, most countries of the world have provided various educational programmes for their citizens because education is conceived as the greatest legacy that any nation can confer to its child. A child is a young human being between birth and puberty. According to Opera (2012), a child is a person known as a minor from birth to the legal age of maturity, for who parents and caregivers, foster parents, public or private homes, institutional or agency is responsible. He or she is somebody under a legally specified age who are considered not to be legally responsible for his or her actions. However, the concept of a child varies from one culture to another. But for this study a child is conceived as a person from the age of zero to five years under the care of parents or caregivers, helpers and securities in Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) Centres. ECCE is an education programme, intentionally designed towards the general development of the child. Maduewesi (2002) sees Early Childhood Care Education as education given to children from zero to five years. Similarly, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) defined Early Childhood Care Education as education provided by the early childhood care professionals to create an enabling environment for a child to thrive and develop to the fullest potentials. In the context of this study, ECCE refers to education strictly designed by the early childhood care experts to create an enabling atmosphere for a child to thrive and develop to the fullest potentials. ECCE is a special field of education for development of children. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) recognizes the importance of ECCE and thereafter, began to explore ways of implementing the Early Childhood Care Education for general development of the child. The purposes of ECCE as stipulated in the National Policy on Education by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004:5) include: to effect a smooth transition from home to the school, prepare the child for the primary level of education, provide adequate care and supervision for the children while their parents are at work, inculcate social norms in the children, inculcate in the children the spirit of enquiry and creativity through the exploration of nature, environment, art, music and playing, develop a sense of co-operation and team spirit, learn good habits, especially good health habits, and teach the rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes and forms through play. These objectives must be implemented in the schools by ECCE proprietors and caregivers. Early Childhood Care Education proprietors are owners and managers of Early Childhood Care Education centres. Early Childhood Care Education proprietors include organizations, corporate bodies and religious organizations (churches) that are authorized by law and edict to establish the Early Childhood Care Education centre (Waheed, 2000). They provide instructional materials andrecruit staff such as helpers, securities and caregivers. A caregiver is a person who looks after somebody. Encarta (2010) defined caregiver as somebody who has the principal responsibility for caring for a child or dependent adult, especially in the home.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Effective adherence to the ECCDE curriculum requires various types of resources, which include physical facilities such as infrastructure, instructional and text materials, human resources and fund. However, it is a known fact that an appreciable number of the established pre-primary/nursery schools do not meet the conventional standards in terms of building, ventilation, sanitation, equipment, illumination and infrastructure. Other related problems are in adequacy of space, equipment and facilities that include classrooms, libraries, staff, laboratories and furniture.

Most buildings in which some of the nursery schools are situated are far from ideal as some of them are not primarily meant for such institutions. Some of the schools are situated in dwelling houses or large halls and in some, face-to-face type of rooms are used as classrooms. Moreover, little consideration was given to site selection, accessibility, freedom from health and noise hazards and physical safety. Some classrooms even led directly to the main road or to wide gutters.

Similarly a number of teachers in the pre-primary schools, apart from being inadequate, are not also qualified and majority of them have not received the special ECCDE teaching training programmes. In addition to the poor teaching methods are lack of materials such as toys, diagrams, charts, pictorials as part of instructional requirements. Other challenges include un-stimulating learning environments, preponderance of unqualified caregivers and high cost of education as well as exploitative and profiteering tendencies on the part of proprietors of ECCDE schools/centres.

Other challenges are the issue of minimum standard and lack of standard curriculum; the use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction in ECE; and funding as well as supervision of the programme in Nigeria. Additional challenges are the issue of monitoring and assessment as well as the establishment and management of ECCDE schools. Therefore, the aim of this research is to evaluate the curriculum adherence to early childhood care development and education in Imo educational zone in Nigeria and those resources that support and help its implementation in schools / centres of imo educational zone.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objective of this study is to evaluate the adherence to the provision of the national minimum standards of early childhood education.

Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. Assess whether the provisions of the national minimum standards prepares children for primary education in Imo educational zone in nigeria;
  2. Examine whether the ECCDE centres environment meets the prescribed standards for teaching/caring and learning in Imo educational zone in nigeria;
  3. Find out the influence of ECCDE monitoring and supervision by the States‟ Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) on the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) in Imo educational zone in nigeria;
  4. Investigate the methods used by ECCDE teachers in implementing the ECCDE curriculum in Imo educational zone in nigeria

1.4 Research Questions

The main purpose of this research is to find answers to the following questions:

  1. To what extent does the adherence to the national minimum requirement of early childhood care development and Education curriculum prepare children for primary education in Imo educational zone in nigeria?
  2. To what extent do the ECCDE environment meet the prescribed standards for teaching/caring and learning in Imo educational zone in nigeria?
  3. How adequate are the provisions of educational resources in the centres for early childhood care development and education in Imo educational zone in nigeria?
  4. How has the ECCDE monitoring and supervision of the State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) influence the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) in Imo educational zone in nigeria?

1.5 Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were proposed based on the afore-mentioned research questions:

  1. There is no significant difference in the opinions of respondents on the extent to which ECCDE prepares children for primary education in Imo educational zone in nigeria.

1.6 Basic Assumptions

This research is predicated on the assumptions that:

  1. Provisions of the national minimum standards prepares children for primary education in Imo educational zone in nigeria.
  2. ECCDE teachers are qualified and have access to the specialization programme in early childhood care development and education in Imo educational zone in nigeria.
  3. ECCDE environment meets the prescribed standards for teaching/caring and learning in Imo educational zone in nigeria.
  4. There is adequate provision of educational resources in the centres for early childhood care development and education in Imo educational zone in nigeria.
  5. Monitoring and supervision by the State Universal Basic Education Boards in the Local Government Education Authorities influence the ECCDE staff in imo educational zone in nigeria.
  6. Play is the main method of teaching in the ECCDE centres of the imo educational zone in nigeria.
  7. Pupils who attended ECCDE programme academically perform better than those who did not in the Imo educational zone in nigeria.

1.7 Significance of the Study

The purpose of any research is to make a significant contribution to knowledge. This research, therefore, makes a general assessment of resources, which are very important and necessary for the adherence to provisions of the national minimum standards in early childhood education. The findings will be useful to curriculum planners and other stakeholders, such as the Federal Ministry of Education (FME), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the States Universal Education Boards (SUBEBs), Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs), teachers, parents and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in guiding them to appreciate the significance of the programme as well as in the provision of resources required for the adherence to the ECCDE curriculum.

Furthermore, the research will bring to light the need for the authorities concerned to ensure that teachers involved in early childhood care development and education specialize in that field in order to achieve the objectives behind the programme. In the same vein, the findings will highlight to NGOs those States or LGEAs that need assistance in terms of provision/rehabilitation of infrastructures, instructional materials, teacher training and the like towards adherence to the programme. In addition, the results will reveal to the States the needed resources in their various LGEAs or schools in order to promote the effective adherence to the ECCDE curriculum.

The findings of the research will draw the attention of the parents/guardians and the society at large to the crucial role the ECCDE programme plays in shaping the academic performance of children at the later stage of their educational development.


1.8 Scope of the Study

The Study is delimited to only public pre-primary schools that offer early childhood care development and education in imo educational zone in Imo state in nigeria. This is to establish the extent to which the state have complied with the specified standards of the Federal Republic of Nigeria‟s National Policy on Education. Similarly, it focused mainly on the infrastructure, human and physical resources needed for the curriculum adherence to Early Childhood Care Development and Education.


Chapter Five


Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

Based on the findings of this study, it can be concluded that the ECCDE programme has been recognized and accepted in the Imo educational zone in nigeria. Moreover, efforts are being made to implement it as designed in many of the ECCDE centres. However, the adherence tothe curriculum is facing some challenges such as inadequate in-service training for ECCDE Teachers by the State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) and by the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) as indicated by the Head Teachers in their responses. Similarly, over-population of pupils in classrooms, which contradicts the minimum set for teacher-pupils ratio is another challenge facing the adherence tothe programme.

Other challenges include sub-standard and inadequate pupils‟ furniture; inadequacy of materials to support mathematics/language and literacy learning materials, art and manipulative materials as well as outdoor play equipment; inadequate provision of toilets, hygiene materials and first aid boxes; and the non availability / insufficiency of audio and visual equipment such as radio and television
sets.


5.3 Recommendations

The following recommendations were proffered on the basis of the findings from this study:

The ECCDE programme just like the UBE, should be made compulsory by Government since it prepares children for further education. Its curriculum should be simplified by breaking the contents into units of topics and each provided with the appropriate teaching method to effectively guide teachers in preparing their lessons and presentations. Similarly, the curriculum should identify and indicate local teaching aids and materials that could be improvised by teachers or used to complement modern ones.

Although the teachers are exposed to training programmes through in-service, workshops and seminars to update their knowledge and skills, it is recommended that more teachers with ECCDE qualification as their area of specialization should be employed for the effective adherence to the programme in Imo educational zone in nigeria.
Efforts should be intensified by Governments to address the problem of overpopulation as the teacher-pupils ratio is far from the set minimum standards in majority of the centres. This would further help, not only in classroom management and provision of adequate space, but also improve ventilation as well as effective adherence to the curriculum. Similarly, both the ECCDE compound and classrooms should be decorated with different pictures in variety of colours, textures, surfaces and visual dimensions as well as perspectives in order to encourage pupils‟ regular attendance.

It is recommended that stakeholders should ensure that ECCDE centres are provided with well-equipped First Aid boxes and adequate materials that would support mathematics learning such as manipulative, toys, sea shells, balance scales, attributes blocks, coloured beads and colours while teachers should be encouraged to improvise them. Furthermore, caregiver-pupils ratio should be looked into to cater for the ever increasing and large number of pupils.

Reports on quality assurance visits by SUBEB officials should be availed to the LGEAs not only for implementation but to ginger them to sustain their interest in the promotion of the ECCDE programme. Similarly, Supervisors from SUBEBs and the LGEAs should foster cordial relationships between them on one hand, and the staff in the various ECCDE centres on the other, to enhance effective supervision and school management as well as facilitate curriculum implementation in Imo educational zone.

For effective teaching and learning, it is recommended that Head Teachers and quality assurance Supervisors should encourage ECCDE Teachers to apply the appropriate teaching method when and where necessary including dramatization that was regarded of least importance for the attainment of the desired objectives. In addition, play-way and field trip methods, which are regarded as time consuming and difficult to execute by the teachers, should be used where applicable as any teaching method chosen must always be appropriate to a topic for the achievement of a specific objective.

Stakeholders should appreciate and recognise the important role early childhood care development and education programme plays in laying the foundation of future academic performance of children and therefore, ensure their enrolment before reaching primary school age. Furthermore, there should be continuous enlightenment of communities through the media including usage of dramatization on the imperativeness of the ECCDE programme in imo educational zone of Nigeria.


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