Early childhood care and education
Pre-school age corresponds to a critical period of rapid physical, cognitive and psychosocial development of the child. The quality and intensity of care, nutrition and stimulation a child receives during this period determines to a large extent the level of physical and cognitive development a child can attain.
Though appreciable progress has been made in early childhood care and education in the past four years due to government policy requiring every public school to have a pre-primary school linkage, the proportion of children enrolled in pre-primary Early Childhood Care Centres still remains low at approximately 2.3 million children. This represents about 21 per cent of the population of children in this age group.
The caregivers of these centres are generally unqualified: about 85 per cent do not possess basic qualifications and more than half have no formal education. Another major issue in Nigeria’s early childhood care and development is the poor state of the infrastructure, equipment, facilities and learning resources. Essential learning resources are lacking in most facilities while the national curriculum is not yet widely operational. Mainstreaming of the early childhood education course into pre-service teacher training from the 2008/2009 session is expected to provide strategic solutions to some of the itemised problems.