These days, if I have any hope of not being late for work or class, I have to be out of my house well before 6am. I also have to skip breakfast, else I’ll need to pee before getting to my destination and Lagos roads are not smiling at all.

This Monday morning, while waiting for the next bus, I had to think. Hard. When we say children of this generation lack home training, whose fault is it?

When the child is left at the mercies of school security, crèche managers, lesson teachers and the media, who is the real influencer and trainer? (I said media because television is not the only culprit anymore. In the world of “stem”, content that are not allowed on TV are now available on the internet – YouTube, Facebook, name it. Even apps that parents do not know of their existence, children operate them).
In sociology, they say family is the first agent of socialization. That has become a myth in the 21st century because all members of the family that should socialize are out of the house to make ends meet.
I’m sad to say this but I’m not apologetic: the family needs to be reawakened. Not the alternative family nonsense but the real family. Moving from extended to nuclear was a trend nobody really knew was going to ultimately lead to a one-person family. That has to be reversed.

All the feminism shenanigan is supposed to work towards that. “Equal right, equal pay for same jobs” is killing the future, our future.

I am female and I totally support the working-mum trend. Apart from the fulfilment it gives to the woman that she is achieving something, it puts more food on the table and clothes on the body. It let’s the woman know what’s obtainable in the workforce/labour market so she is able to better prepare and train her children. She also appreciates what little cash her man brings in and manages funds responsibly. Also, she isn’t bored stiff at home and attempt to ‘liven up’ with African magic and zeeworld. She has a sense of self.
However, what happens to the training of her children? (I’m not going to talk about her husband. Well, God knows what he has done to push her out. Or not). Boys, these days, don’t treat girls nicely. Girls don’t know to expect better care from boys. Females don’t have the voice or gut to object to being objectified and can’t defend themselves against abuse. Whose fault is it?

We can blame civilization, adoption of western culture, movies and actors for bad content and men (fathers) for being totally irresponsible. But I firmly believe that the woman is powerful and influential. She can counter all of these and more. Only if she’s home long enough to do so.
The family needs to be re established, norms taught and morals reinforced. One woman per household may not be enough but grandmother, aunt and mum? What a formidable force!

Oh feminist, please wake up to your real task. If you want the best for your girl-child – no rape, no abuse, no gender based bias and restrictions – then you have to be available to train both the girl-child and the boy-child. Advocacy outside the family is mere noise making, the real feminism is in training the human mind.

Work all you want, be the CEO. But NEVER forget one most important duty.
As a 21st century Muslimah, remember you will give account to Your Creator. What will be your excuse for your child turning out the way he/she eventually does?
So many daughters of popular scholars out their turning themselves to models in hijab. It’s not because their parents didn’t know, it’s because other people benefited from the parents’ knowledge than the children. They’re not home long enough to teach the children but they’re out their enlightening us. Please, re-awaken your family


Is mathematics some sort of witchcraft, magic or skills? I really don’t want to know but it gives me headache.

I am one of those people who people who can’t memorise to save their own life. Attempting to do “word for word” rote learning ALWAYS leads to disaster for me – I confuse and forget everything! What I do is get the gist of the story and formula. I simply translate to words that I understand. And, alhamduliLlaah, I use that skill in surviving academics till date.

So my niece in primary four has been bringing home some weird maths assignments. My answer is the answer o, but I have no idea how to get there. I no know formula. Calculation nko, zero. What do I do? Consult google.

Each time, I pity myself, my children and the coming generation. I respect my parents’ generation that studied without phone or internet. But I respect my generation more – those who have cheap and internet connection along side Siri and facebook memory but still memorise stuff and answer questions without calculator. God bless your brains.

Dear husband, you better be intelligent. If not, my father’s gene better be dominant. Else…..

I remember the stunt we used to pull when I was teaching higher primary quantitative reasoning between 2003 & 2005. Whatever we couldn’t figure out (even with collective effort of colleagues) became assignment. I hope no child has that kind of teacher

Veiled models

A copied post

The dilemma of hijābī/niqābī selfie syndrome

The weirdest thing that I’ve seen in recent times is hijābī/niqābī selfies being posted online by the sisters. As in, I don’t get it. What exactly is the logic behind a supposedly veiled sister taking pictures and posting it online for those from whom she was commanded to veil herself? Public notice? Assessment? Advertisement? Or what?

Perhaps some of our sisters do not really get the wisdom behind the divine command for them to veil. The hijāb, beyond being an adornment also serves multiple purposes.

  • It’s the clothing of the Muslim woman
  • It’s an adornment of Taqwā, obedience and morality
  • It’s a shield and protection from lewdness
  • It inculcates the Muslim with bashfulness and responsibility.

All of the above is lost the moment a Muslimah start posing for selfies indiscriminately, whether or not she posts them online. Had she asked herself, just before pressing the ‘post’ button, “what purpose will it serve to share my pictures with the social media world, Muslims and Kuffār, Sālihūn and Fussāq”, perhaps she might have had a second thought at it.

Let it be known that due to the democratic nature of the social media, your pictures can be viewed and saved by every Tom and Harry, including those who are not on your friends list, which makes deleting it afterwards fruitless.

My personal observation about this ugly trend is that the social media ‘notice me’ syndrome is getting to our sisters and they are really struggling to shrug it off. It’s not an easy battle, I know, but they have to be strong and ruthless against the instincts of Shaytān, lest they become social nuisances.

I feel worried whenever a niqābī posts her picture online for people to see. In fact, some even imitate other “shaku-shaku ladies” with the way that they pose. It reminds me of the statement by Benjamin’s Miles Franklin aka C- note of Prison Break when he said,

“You can take the man off the street, but you cannot take the street off the man.”

Apparently, some of our sisters have passed through the street before Allāh bestowed Sunnah upon them. We can only continue to appeal to them to abandon the street completely before it affects their reputation and faith.

May Allāh grant us understanding of the Deen.

Sanusi Lafiagi

Please give it a title

So I leave my home early in order to meet up with an 8:00am class in Unilag. I got to my bus stop at 6:00am and I see, at least, 3 teachers at the gate of a school receiving children.

This is not my first time seeing them but it’s midterm break in most schools in Lagos so I wonder why it’s teachers who are receiving children. So, while waiting for a tricycle (marwa), I ask the teacher closest to me – did I mention the school is at the bus stop? – ‘Are you not on break’. She responds, ‘Good morning to you too. (Well, that’s when I realise I have verbalized my thought without greeting) We are on a week break but parents aren’t so we have a work roster. Some members of staff are home now and we’re working for 2 days’. ‘Good morning, so sorry for being rude’ I hastily reply. ‘But are caregivers not supposed to manage this affair?’, I query. She replies, ‘We’re all on the roster to close by 6:30pm’. I say, ‘okay, well done’ and move along, well what else can I say?

Same old story of exploitation of teachers by school owners. They give their whole life to the school with almost no time for personal development. And what’s the salary? When children don’t understand what’s being taught or do not perform to expected standard, it’ll still be the teachers’ “incompetence”!

My angst is not about these teachers, they’re adults who should have been trained to know their rights.

The school doesn’t even conform with the minimum standard in terms of security, and that’s what I’m able to see from the outside. Who knows what’s on the inside.

Anyways, I digress. About the children, as I was saying, I worry. How can someone (or a set of people) who has been up at 5:00am (of course to get ready to report to duty before 6) have any strength left by 12:00pm to care for children’s learning and emotional well-being? Do schools not really know how energetic children are? “Last last”, they’ll play something for them on screen or put them to sleep. Lobatan!

If, as a parent, you’re bold enough to drop off your child at 6:00am when it’s still dark only to pick them up when it’s dark again, then you should be bold enough to ensure the best care for that child (without being obnoxious, of course).

If schools are to receive children early only to release them late, then they should have shifts, I think. A fresh mind engaging the children from 6:00am should hand them over to another fresh mind by 12:00pm. This may be expensive but teachers are paid paltry some in most cases anyways.

What I’m saying is reduce the staff workload for the betterment of the children.

We complain that the present generation of children do NOT know HOW to play, we have to teach them to play. The coming ones will be worse in the digital age if this trend continues.

The present generation have poor social skills since they don’t interact much with humans. You wanna take a wild guess as to why?


I was told by a friend, a fellow woman, a Muslimah to “use my brain”.

It so happened that I suggested 2 things for her to do, which from my own perspective are the most beneficial options. She didn’t like my opinion. She expected me to put her feelings into consideration and even defend her if others had suggested same.

I was surprised because that’s exactly what I thought I was doing. I expected better from her just as she did from me.

The only difference between us basically was in our manners of presentation.

This just goes to show human nature. No matter how much you think you know or understand others, circumstances change, mood changes, knowledge base changes. The opinion that two persons hold today may swerve in different directions for both parties the next day.

This change doesn’t make you stop the friendship, you just keep calm till the storm wears off. And that’s what I have chosen to do. AlhamduliLlaah

Early Childhood Education and policy in. Nigeria

I did an assignment for my masters programme that I thought to share here


Early Childhood Education, the policy and the Nigerian child


Education is the right of every child and must not be denied it for any reason. This has been the assertion of the World Summit on the state of global children, which has led to the inclusion and expansion of early childhood care and education in the global Education for All programme (EFA). This work is to examine the policies on ground and give recommendations that could make the educational programme a reality in the nation in the interest of the Nigerian children.

Early Childhood Education, the policy and the Nigerian child
The Child
According to the oxford dictionary, a child is a young human being below the age of puberty or legal age of majority.
In recent years, researchers have learned that the human brain develops the vast majority of its neurons, and is at its most receptive to learning, between birth and three years of age. In fact, the intake of new information is critical to the formation of active neural pathways (Shonkoff & Phillips 2000). A child’s early years lay the foundation for all that is to come.
Research linking early intervention to both cognitive and socio-emotional gains has fueled the proliferation of early childhood programmes since the early part of the twentieth century. The last four decades in particular have produced many new practices and principles for use in the classroom with young children, as well as countless books, videos, and activities to enrich the home environment. In fact, several Nigerian states have announced plans to implement universal preschool programmes (Obiweluozor, 2015).
Early Childhood Education
A country is as developed as its education and the foundation of such education is the early years, the bedrock upon which all other levels of education sit. In line with the National Policy on Education, the term Early Childhood Care Development and Education (ECCDE) has been adopted. In order fully understand the ECCDE concepts, let’s break down the components.
Care, which starts from conception, is the action taken to ensure the protection and support for the health, nutrition, physical, psycho-social, cognitive, emotional, spiritual and moral development of the child. This involves the provision of stimulating and safe environment, adequate and balanced diet, affectionate interaction and other actions that respect the rights of the child. Care is essential in the all round development of the child.

Development is the gradual process of change in the child which is exhibited physically, mentally, socio-emotionally, spiritually and morally. Developmental change may take place as a result of genetically-controlled processes of maturation or consequences of environmental factors and learning. In most cases, development involves an interaction between the two.

Education can be defined in this context as the systematic way of acquiring knowledge, skills, values and desirable norms, which takes place most commonly in a formal school system. Learning during the early childhood development stage commences from birth. During this period, the child’s experiences help him/her to acquire knowledge, skills, habits and values. Therefore, attempts to bring children at an early age to the formal school system calls for special attention on the form of knowledge that are most appropriate to their level of development.

Therefore, early childhood care and education (ECCE), as defined by UNESCO, is the “holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.” (Lietbag & Walton, 2018).

A common practice in most modern societies, another perspective is given by National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which defines early childhood education to include any part- or full-day group program in a center, school, or home that serves children from birth through age eight, including children with special developmental and learning needs. This definition includes programs in child care center, both for profit and nonprofit; private and public prekindergarten programs; Head Start programs; family child care; and kindergartens, primary grades, and before- and after-school programs in elementary schools.

Early childhood education is also defined as the training given to children from birth and age 8 in order to prepare children for primary education and beyond.
As education begins from the moment the child is brought home from the hospital (Fafunwa, 1967), Maduewesi (1999) refers to early childhood care and education as the semiformal education offered to children who have not yet reached the statutory age of beginning primary school.

In New Zealand, Early childhood education is the education given to younger learners before the age of entering primary education (6 years) in preparing their entry into primary school.
The Federal Government of Nigeria’s National Policy on Education provides that early childhood education in 2 parts. The first is early child care development and education (ECCDE) and the second is pre-primary education. ECCDE is the care, protection, stimulation and learning promoted in children from age 0 to 4 years in a crèche or nursery. Pre-primary education is the one-year education given to children aged 5 prior to their entering primary school (FGN NPE, 2013).
Early childhood education is a branch of education theory which relates to the teaching of young children (formally and informally) up until the age of about eight. Infant/toddler education, a subset of early childhood education, denotes the education of children from birth to age two (Makinwa-Adebusoye, 1981).
Early childhood education is a type of education provided for children 0-3 years in Day Care Centres and for children 3years to less than 6 years in Nursery schools as defined by Uzodinma & Akinware (2001) in Subuola (2017).
However, according to Obiweluozor (2015), opinions differ on the effectiveness/appropriateness of ECE as she quoted Robinson and Robinson (1968) who argued that the love and warmth of a mother is more important than any educational programme.

Early childhood education can be traced to the efforts of prominent European education experts like: John Amos Comenius (1590-1690), J. J. Rousseau (1782-1788), Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1748-1827) and Friedrich Froebel (1782-1751). These experts championed the right of children to early education in order to help students’ develop their full potentials (Obiweluozor, 2015).
Nations provide for the care and education of their young children in vastly different ways. Although some provide extensive services and others quite meager ones, all nations approach early childhood education according to their visions of childhood and their values for young children (organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2001).
Education before primary/basic school is given different connotations – early childhood education, pre-school, nursery education (Baker, 1973) “ota akara”, ”Jeleosinmi”, the crèche, the nursery and the kindergarten (Osanyin, 2001).

Early Childhood Education and Care in America
Historically, America’s forefathers built a nation, and in effect education of young children, around the dual values of family primary and privacy. Many of the effort to care for young child emanated from the private sector. Evangelical women worked to improve the lot of the poor and disenfranchised and established infant schools that enabled mothers to work (Omotuyole, 2016).
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) in the USA includes a wide range of part-day, full-school-day, and fullwork-day programmes in both the public and the private sectors with an emphasis on the “care” component of ECEC and at other times with stress on “education” or with equal attention to both.
In America, kindergartens are preschool programs for the year before primary school entry, largely for 5 year olds. However, programme content varies greatly across states (Day, 1988).
Early Childhood Education in England
Early childhood care and education for young children began to emerge in England in the late 18th century on a voluntary and philanthropic basis. In 1816, the first nursery school in the United Kingdom was established at New Lanark in Scotland by Robert Owen (1771-1858) for the children of cotton mills workers.
Although Owen’s ideas were ahead of his time, his example stimulated a significant interest in early childhood education and the founding of a number of infants schools in Britain. The main principle of traditional ECE in Britain was child-centred
Early Childhood Education in Nigeria
In Nigeria, organized education of the child below primary school age did not receive official recognition until very recently when it received the attention it deserved. The concept of infant schools was introduced in Nigeria by the missionaries in the early 20th century when such schools were set up in the Western and Eastern regions of Nigeria. Initially, it was limited to the children of the elites but as time went by the opportunity was made available to those who could afford it. Those who associated with the missionaries enjoyed the patronage of this education. Schools for the under six year’s olds were organized by the wives of missionaries for the children of foreign and local dignitaries (Omotuyole, 2016). Early Childhood education in the form of nursery school or pre-primary education as we know it today in Nigeria is largely a post-colonial development. The semblances of it during the colonial era were the Kindergarten and infant classes, which consisted of groups of children considered not yet ready for primary education. As grouping for instruction in schools was not age-based during that period, some children aged six or even more, could be found in some of the infant classes. With the phasing out of infant classes, some parents began to feel the need for nursery schools. During that period, (pre-independence) all efforts for provision of early childhood education were confined to the voluntary sector and received little or no support from the government (Tor-Anyiin, 2008).
The 1969 national curriculum conference was the very first time mentioned was made of formal school for education of children between the ages of 3 and 5.They were to be enrolled in nursery and kindergarten classes to prepare them for lower primary level of education. This declaration eventually led to the emphasis placed on the preparatory role of preschool institutions (Omotuyole, 2016).

It was for the first time in 2004 with the introduction of the 4th edition of the National Policy on Education that the importance and need for early childhood education, form birth, was given official recognition and linked with the child’s educational performance in primary school. Gradually, early childhood institution stayed, and by 1992, Nigeria had about 8,300 ECE institutions and the number keeps growing (Federal Government of Nigeria/UNICEF 1993).

Nowadays, early childhood educational institutions are located in various places and buildings campuses of universities and Colleges, premises of some industries and business organizations, church premises, residential buildings with unprecedented expansion owing to the high demand for early childhood care and education by parents (Ejieh, 2006).

According to Osanyin (2001), the tremendous amount of affection devoted to the subject of early childhood education for young children in the last few decades stem from the complexities that typify the nature of the child.
“This is your feeder system, the kinds of experiences that are accruing in these early settings matter” (Liebtag & Walton, 2018).
The rapid physical, mental, social, creative and emotional development associated with the period called early childhood should gravitate any responsive society towards meaningful programme of intervention in realization that their actions or inactions as individuals and collectively as society during these formative years can either enhance or impede a child’s success in learning (Bredekamp et al, 1992).
Some of the points are highlighted thus:
-Catching the early train
Early childhood is a crucial stage of life in terms of a child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. Growth of mental and physical abilities progress at an astounding rate and a very high proportion of learning takes place from birth to age six. It is a time when children particularly need high quality personal care and learning experiences (Gomtas, 2017).
Brain development usually begins three weeks after conception. At birth a newborn has about 100 billion brain cells (neurons) and trillions of connections (synapses). Early childhood experiences exert a remarkable impact and physically determine how the brain is wired. While growth continues, a single neuron can connect with as many as 15,000 other neurons. A three year old child has twice as many synapses as an adult. Those synapses that are not used wither away in a process called pruning. At about 10, the brain begins to radically prune extra synapses and make order of the tangled circuitry of the brain. New synapses grow throughout life and adults continue to learn but they do not master new skills so quickly or recover from setbacks so easily (Eastman, 2006).
Thus, children taught at an early age usually benefit in improved social skills, better grades, and enhanced attention spans (Gormley, Ted, Phillips & Dawson, 2005). According to early childhood education research journal, most capacity of language skill of learning vocabulary, which is a foundation for literacy, develops by ages of three (Bouchard & Gilles, 2011 in Ishola, 2016).
Development in early childhood affects physical activities as well as emotional and cognitive development. Children actually start to realize their identity in first eight years of life through the capacity of imagination and self-image of gender roles (Rolnick & Grunewald, 2003).
According to Gomtas (2017), ECE enables children to improve on their self-confidence since they are given opportunity to interact with their peers and adults too. It enhances independence and helps curb the negative tendencies in children through group activities as children learn to share and co-operate with others instead of developing the selfish tendencies. Children’s interactions with their peers and adults help to widen their scope of understanding and they also gain mastery of the world around them. Fafunwa, (1967) emphasized that early childhood education is vital to the child, parents and society because it permits smooth transition from home to school, because it enables the child to feel free to interact with other people outside his immediate family members. The pre-primary school helps to sharpen the children’s cognitive domain through learning rhymes and songs; while playing on the slides and swings help in physical development and build their muscles. Structured play with building blocks and puzzles, baby dolls, and teddy bears helps in emotional development of the children (Shrestha, 2006).
-School Readiness
Children who interact well with other children in a preschool or playgroup setting can practice skills shown to them. They identify being at school as a pleasant opportunity to see friends and to have fun. They learn which behaviours will attract friends and which ones are likely to drive friends away. Regular contact with peers in a group setting reduces the stress on first day of school.

-Positive Outcomes
Statistical research has shown that children who have experienced early childhood or pre-primary programs are more likely than other children to remain in primary school and achieve good results (UNESCO, 1995).
Early childhood education can impact a child’s academic success and reduce incidences of crime and delinquency, according to Professor W. Steven Barnett, author of “Preschool Education and Its Lasting Effects: Research and Policy Implications,” published by the National Institute for Early Education Research. Children enrolled in early childhood education programs may also receive direct benefits in behaviour, thought processes, socialisation and learning capacity. 

-For Families
The provision of pre-primary education assists working class parents who have no relation or house help to take care of their children while they are at work (Makinwa-Adebusoye, 1981)
Early child education is about honing and moulding the holistic child, which will eventually form the basis of their lifelong journey. One of the many benefits of your child receiving an early childhood education is the opportunity to participate in early childhood screening. This screening is provided for 3- to 5-year-olds and tests things like health, cognitive development, speech, vision, hearing, coordination, emotional skills and social skills, Screenings can identify any development or health issues that need to be taken into consideration, to prevent learning delays (Rolnick, 2003).
A note of caution
However, there is no one-size fits all instruction best suited for all children. While some children benefit immensely from pre-school, it may not be the best educational setting for other children. In most cases, children benefit most by receiving educational instruction from their parents. Parents must, therefore, evaluate a child’s unique personality before determining which program is best suited for a child since not all programmes benefit children the same way (Obiweluozor, 2015.).

The major essence of policies is to help formulate goals, purpose and aims of education. It is from the policies that academic goals are brought forth to define into achievable goals which will be translated to topics in the curriculum for teachers to implement.
Policies guide educational practice. What teachers
Policies bring about uniformity in the field. For a beneficial programme of import on so many levels, guiding policy is needed for practitioners to be clear about what to expect of children in specific measurable goals as well as proper coordination of activities.

The effort to make Early Childhood Education (ECE) effective, functional and appropriate rests on all and sundry but the largest onus is on the government of the given society. A programme can only function if the government, in collaboration with other stakeholders, provides the work plan for the implementation of this stage of education. A part of this work plan answers the questions why, what, how and how-to-be-sure of what to teach, which is collectively termed the curriculum. Another important part of the work plan is the necessary policies to ensure uniformity, enforcement and ease of implementation of the programme (Ishola, 2016).

Terry (1977) considers that “a policy is an overall guide that gives the general limits and direction in which administrative action will take place”.

National Policy on Education (NPE)
The foremost policy concerned with ECE in Nigeria is the National Policy on Education (published in 1977 and revised through 1981, 1998, 2004, 2007 and the 6th edition of 2013) (Unveiling Africa, 2017).
With early childhood (pre-primary) as one of the 4 levels of education in Nigeria, the National Policy on Education spells out the philosophy and objectives of Education. The Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) is the minimum teaching qualification. All teachers are expected to register with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (Action Programme on Education, 2004 – 2005).

The provision for ECE in the 2013 NPE is in two folds- Early child care development and education and pre-primary education. This in accordance with the UBE Act 2003 programme which made provision for every public primary school to have a preprimary school linkage to cater for children, and this resulted in increased government ownership and participation in ECE provisions (UNESCO-IBE, 2006)

Early child care development and education (ECCDE) is the care, protection, stimulation and learning promoted from birth to 4 years of age in a crèche or nursery. The purpose is to
Effect a smooth transmission from the home to the school;
Prepare the child for the primary level of education;
Provide adequate care, supervision and security for the children while their parents are at work;
Inculcate social, moral norms and values;
Inculcate in the child the spirit of enquiry and creativity through the exploration of nature, the environment, art, music and the use of toys, etc;
Develop a sense of co-operation and team spirit;
Stimulate in the child good habits, including good health habits; and
Teach the rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes, forms etc. through play.
Although the Nigerian federal government is not directly involved in the establishment of day-care centers and nursery schools (this is mainly provided by private entrepreneurs), it maintains oversight for the:
Provision and distribution of policy guidelines for the establishment and management of pre-primary institutions;
Production and development of appropriate national curriculum and textbooks in Nigerian languages;
Maintaining caregiver infant ratio of 1:10/1:25 for crèche and nursery respectively; and
Approval of relevant supplementary reading materials and teachers’ instruction manual
among other responsibilities.

Pre-primary education is the one-year education given to children aged 5 prior to their entering primary school. The purpose is exact same as that of ECCDE

To achieve them, the government has saddled itself with the responsibility of funding this 1-year programme, and, among other duties, also to ensure that relevant Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Development Partners synergise for proper implementation due to the multi-sectoral nature of the one-year education (Obiweluozor, 2015).

Universal Basic Education (UBE)
Motivated by a concern to drastically reduce illiteracy within the shortest possible time and its desire to achieve Education for All (EFA) target and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Universal Basic Education (UBE) was launched in Nigeria on September 30, 1999, by the Nigerian Federal Government. The UBE Act that gives the programme a legal backing was promulgated in 2004 and consequently, a commission – Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) – was set up to coordinate the implementation of the programme. The Federal Government also committed 2% of its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to the implementation of the programme.
According to the implementation guidelines released in February, 2000 by the Federal Ministry of Education, the specific objectives of the programme are to:
develop in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for Education and a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion;
provide a free, universal basic education for every Nigerian child of school-going age;
cater for the learning needs of young persons who for one reason or another, have had to interrupt their schooling through appropriate forms of complementary approaches to the provision of and promotion of basic education; and,
ensure the acquisition of the appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for life-long learning.
The expanded scope of the Universal Basic Education Act (2004) includes programmes and initiatives for early childhood education and development. The UBE is envisioned to ensure that there is adequate provision for early childhood care and socialization and persons in all manners and conditions of physical, spatial and psychological existence are taken care of (Ajayi, 2000). In this connection, the Compulsory, Free, Universal Basic Education Act of 2004 stipulates that Universal Basic Education encompasses early childhood care and education (ECCE), adult literacy and non-formal education, skills acquisition programmes and the education of special groups such as nomads and migrants, girl-child and women, almajiri, street children and disabled groups (Obong, 2006).
Chapter Two of the Federal Government’s Blueprint on Education (FME, 1999) specifically recognises early childhood and pre-primary education, covering the period from zero to less than six years of age, as one of the components of Basic Education. According to the blueprint, the objectives of early childhood and pre-primary education are to:
ensure that infants and children receive initial parental care;
prepare children in readiness for formal schooling;
provide adequate care and supervision for the children while their parents are at work;
inculcate in infants and children good health habits and personal hygiene;
impart in children the rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes and forms;
socialize and orientate children to positive societal norms and relationships; and,
familiarize children with their physical, social, and cultural environments (FME, 1999).

National Minimum Standards for Early Childcare Centres in Nigeria (NMSECCN)
While the National Policy on Education specifies the guidelines for operating pre-primary and lower primary education in Nigeria; it did not specify the care and support requirements for children. This is a major gap that has left the operation of early childhood care and pre-primary education more in the hands of private operators without adequate guidelines or standards.
In August 2004, the NERDC with the support from UNICEF convened a meeting of experts and stakeholders in early childcare. The result of this effort is the production the National Minimum Standards for Early Childcare Centers in Nigeria. It contains the rationale behind the setting of the minimum standards, the objectives, the strategy to be adopted, the prescribed minimum standards (which cover types of centre, location, ownership and characteristics of an effective centre), stakeholders involvement, supervision, human resources, health care and materials, protection issues and stakeholders’ roles. Thence, over the years, early childcare in Nigeria has metamorphosed from a single sector approach to a multi-sector pursuit, converging interventions in health, nutrition, care, stimulation, protection, and participation of the child (Ishola, 2016).
Some of the National Minimum Standards Requirement for an effective centre
In establishing an effective ECCDE centre, it is important to ensure that the environment is safe, secure and free from excessive noise. An effective centre should have:
play ground and appropriate equipment; fence; well ventilated classroom(s) with enough space adequate for about 20 – 25 (0 – 3 years), 30 – 35 (3 – 5 years) children with flexible sitting arrangement and well decorated with functional pictures; records such as admission register, log book, child folder containing bio-data etc; age appropriate furniture; and, among others, assessment instrument for growth and overall development of the child.

National Policy for Integrated Early Childhood Development in Nigeria (NPIECD)
Analysis of the situation indicated that, to a great extent, the Nigerian child still suffered deprivation from lack of good social services in terms of poor nutrition, health care, and access to safe water and sanitation, general protection from environmental hazards and insecurity. All of these gave justification for the formulation of National Policy for Integrated Early Childhood Development in Nigeria, which was developed and approved in 2006 at a meeting of the National Council on Education (NCE) to guide inter-sectoral interventions on childhood development for ages zero to five years and officially launched in October 2007.
The document features guidelines on the provision of basic services to the child, community support for socio-cultural development, inter-sectoral collaboration and partnership, integration of ECD into Quranic schools, quality assurance, research, monitoring and evaluation, funding and resources mobilisation (Ishola, 2016).

This policy provided early childhood care and development in Nigeria to adopt an integrated approach for the care and support given to children from birth through 5years. This is a holistic approach in which the Federal Ministry of Education collaborates with other ministries including, Health, Environment and Housing, Women Affairs, Information and Communication, Finance, Agriculture, and Water Resources, as well as the National Planning Commission to provide interventions for the cognitive, physical, social, moral, and emotional development of the child (Obiweluozor, 2015).
After 5 years of implementation, the following outcomes should have become manifest:
Full immunization for all children 0-5 years
Reduction in infant and maternal mortality rates
Smooth transition from the home to school.
Increase in primary school enrolment, retention and attainment
Adequate provision for children with special needs (children with physical, language, emotional and learning disabilities, gifted children, children in extreme poverty situations, OVC-orphans and vulnerable children and so on).

Early Childhood Development Standards for Nigeria (ECDS)
Another observed crucial challenge facing preschool education in Nigeria between 2007 and 2013 was the issue of the standard development expected of the children at every stage of the preschool education. It was noticed that many schools, in trying to impress the parents, exposed the children to academic activities meant for older children. This led the Federal Ministry of Education, with assistance from UNICEF, to provide a guide to teachers, parents and other stakeholders in providing learning experiences to children from ages 0 to 5years plus – The Early Childhood Development Standards for Nigeria included early learning/development standards in physical, affective/psychosocial, cognitive and language development. Other areas covered by the policy were food and nutrition, health, water and environmental sanitation, emergency and safety measures, protection issues, gender issues and national values, and consciousness. This policy document was the last provided on early childhood education in Nigeria (Shekarau, 2014).

Education for All (EFA)
The Jomtien World Conference on Education for All which held at Thailand, from March 5 to March 9, 1990 was the foundation of this policy. The Conference was convened jointly by the executive heads UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO and other governments and organisations promoting and protecting the interest of the child, among other duties. Education for All (EFA) is a global movement, adopted by the Dakar Framework in April, 2000 led by UNESCO aiming to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015, contributing to the pursuit of the MDG 3
The Six EFA Goals on education are:
1. Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children;
2. Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to a complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality;
3. Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes;
4. Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults;
5. Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality; and
6. Improving all aspects of the quality of education, and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy, and essential life skills.
In order to evaluate each country’s progress with regards to EFA, UNESCO developed the Education for All Development Index (EDI). By 2015, the EFA Global Monitoring Report published that only a third of countries reached all the goals with measurable targets.

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (commonly abbreviated as the CRC or UNCRC) is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under national legislation. Compliance is monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Some of the rights of the child in the CRC are
right to live, right to a legally registered name – officially recognized by the government, right to an identity – an official record of who he is, right to get information that is important to their health and well-being, right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities, among others.
When the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on November 20, 1989 and in July 1990, the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Governments adopted the African Union Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (CRWC) which Nigeria also signed and subsequently ratified on 23rd July 2003, it was assumed that humanity was appropriately committed to securing its own future.
The uniqueness of the African Charter is that it enjoins State Parties to embrace not only the rights of the child but also the responsibilities towards the child (UNICEF, 2017).
Nigeria signed on to the International Human Rights convention agreement on the rights of child. It was officially passed into law in 2003 by Former President Chief Olusegun Obansanjo as the Children’s Rights Act 2003 (CRA) to domesticate the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The law has three primary purposes: to incorporate the rights of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights into the national law, to provide the responsibilities of government agencies associated with the law and to integrate children-focused legislation into one comprehensive law. It also acts as a legislation against Human trafficking since it forbids children from being “separated from … parents against their will, except where it is in the best interests of the child”.
Yet, as of July 2018, the Child Rights Act 2003 has been promulgated into law in 26 states. The states yet to pass the bill into law are Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe, and Zamfara (

Declaration of the Rights of the Child (DRC)
The Declaration of the Rights of the Child, sometimes known as the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, is an international document promoting child rights, drafted by Eglantyne Jebb and adopted by the League of Nations in 1924, and adopted in an extended form by the United Nations in 1959.
The text of the document, as published by the International Save the Children Union in Geneva on 23 February 1923, is as follows:
The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually.
The child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succoured.
The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.
The child must not be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.
This text was endorsed by the League of Nations General Assembly on 26 November 1924 as the World Child Welfare Charter.
The document went through expansion in 1946, expanded to seven in 1948 and ten points in 1959.

Legal Framework in Support of Inclusion
The World Conference on Special Needs Education held in Salamanca, Spain, June 1994 provided the major impetus for inclusive education.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); Convention Against Discrimination (1960)
International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965)
Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
Convention on the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999)
Convention on the Protection and Promoting of Diversity in Cultural Expressions (2005)
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) and the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).

The policies on early childhood education are amazing on paper, numerous as have been highlighted. The documents would have meant a lot if they were practiced. Thus far, there is no known relationship or relevance of these numerous policies as they are not widely known nor implemented in Nigeria ( The researchers did not come across any study or report on how the policies have improved the lot of the Nigerian child. We did come across many practitioners – teachers, caregivers, school owners, parents even- who have no idea any policies exist besides the 2004 NPE.
Therefore, a full critique of the policies is essential.

The goal by the FGN was for the National Policy on Education’s development plan in pre-primary education to be distributed effectively, but there are many flaws in the plans process and implementation as discussed in this section. One major problem was the federal government’s decision to facilitate the objectives of pre-primary education by the granting permission for private establishments of pre-primary education in the country, but not the participation of the public schools in their establishment. Presently there are many ill-equipped, substandard pre-primary schools scattered all over the country. This is as a result of lack of supervision and inspection to ensure that standard and quality are maintained. Therefore, there is a need for the federal, state, and local governments to put measures in place to ensure standards. But can this be achieved when the one-year pre-primary programme in state-owned schools are nothing to write home about? The policy ironically failed in this aspect.
Further, the NPE ensures that the communication medium of early childhood institutions is principally the mother tongue (MT) or language of the immediate community (LIC) and orthography and textbooks of Nigerian languages will be produced to enhance MT and LIC. Ironically, in most of pre-primary schools in Nigeria the medium of instruction is principally the English language. As far as mother tongue instruction is concerned, Emenanjo (2001) notes the value attached to native language as regards to protection, preservation, promotion of Nigerian culture, as well as its role in promoting interethnic unity that enhances human dignity and subsequently helps promote national unity and integration in the country. This policy supported by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and justified in the National Policy on Education. The use of English language for a child to the neglect of his mother tongue has a negative influence on the child’s cultural background which the policy is meant to protect. Contrary to this most parents want their children to be immersed in the English language as early as possible because of the perceived advantages and belief that knowledge of English accelerates the teaching process for children entering the primary and other levels of the educational system. But on the other hand, evidence shows that, if children are taught with their mother tongue, they learn and develop faster intellectually, cognitively, and psychologically (Fafunwa, 1984). The policy has failed in the aspect of language implementation. The question is, does it mean that the teachers teaching those children do not speak their native language? How do we promote culture when our children cannot speak their mother tongue or language of the immediate community? This is for the policy makers to review and address.
In addition, the NPE ensures that the main method of teaching at this level shall be through play and that the curriculum of teacher education is oriented to achieve this. As a result of the government inability to regulate and control private establishment and operation of pre-primary education in the country, some schools employ teachers who are not thoroughly trained to teach. Such people without teaching pedagogy are unable to present the teaching and learning experiences to children in a stimulating, sequential, and logical manner as prescribed (Robinson and Robinson, 1968).

Inadequate data on births and enrolments in early childhood education sector

No sound distribution of resources to teaching and teaching support functions; concentration of resources such as libraries and teaching facilities in urban schools to the neglect of the rural areas due to inaccessibility of the rural areas

Lastly, the input of government in terms of the financial aspect in pre-primary education has been very negligible as stated by Maduewesi (2001). The only time the government financed education at that level was through the Early Child Care (ECC) project of the NERDC which was founded through the collaboration of UNICEF and Federal Government of Nigeria and other international agencies prior to 2001 (Maduewesi 2001).

The National Policy on Education (2004) stipulates that the goals of teacher education shall be to:
produce highly motivated, conscientious and efficient classroom teachers for all levels of our education system; encourage further the spirit of enquiry and creativity in teachers; help teachers to fit into social life of community and the society at large and enhance their commitment to national goals; provide teachers with the intellectual and professional background adequate for their assignment and make them adaptable to changing situations; and, enhance teachers’ commitment to the teaching profession
1. To this end, all the various levels of government should include teachers in policy design and implementation as well as participating stakeholders on issues that affect teachers and teacher education.

2. Recruitment and retention
• Proprietors of educational institutions to comply with the set criteria for recruitment of teachers.
• There should be special incentives for teachers in difficult terrains and approved ‘Teachers’ Salary Scale’ (TSS) should be implemented to ensure the realization of EFA goals by 2015.
• There should be a forum where government and private proprietors meet to discuss teachers’ issues.
All these will make it easy for teachers to be professionals in their job and avoid mediocrity.

3. Inspection and Supervision
There should be effective implementation strategies not just a policy on paper. If the pre-primary education is to benefit from this national policy there is a need for the federal, state, and local governments to ensure that the necessary educational facilities are available in both rural and urban areas. Through the various departments of the Ministries of Education implementation of effective monitoring, supervising, and inspecting of pre-primary school facilities should be mandated. If any of the private entrepreneurs does not meet the national standards or specifications for pre-primary schools, then they should be closed down and their license revoked until the owners meet the quality and standards required to maintain effective pre-primary education.
The federal government in conjunction with tertiary institutions, institute of education, and colleges of education should take positive steps to produce adequate numbers of teachers and specialists in early childhood education. This will help in the methodology and the teaching curriculum of early childhood education. In addition each state of the federation should add a nursery section in their existing publicly funded primary schools.
Government should ensure that pre-primary school proprietors implement the policy statement on the medium of instruction in their institutions to maintain the mother tongue or language of the immediate community as the medium of instruction. To support this implementation, government should encourage and facilitate the writing of textbooks in Nigerian languages beyond the three major languages (Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba). This will enhance the children’s cultural identity development. Government should ensure that the main method of teaching in pre-primary institution is through Montessori play and that the curriculum of teachers training colleges is oriented to achieve this (Orebanjo, 1981).

4. Implementing all policies
There is the need to move the practice of Early Childhood Education from that of pure practice to one that will be properly guided by a policy. Let all involved practice ECE based on policy guidelines. Also, relevant multilateral and bilateral agencies should continue to support the government and all stakeholders to ensure that children enjoy their rights. All must work to ensure that the rights of every child, especially the most disadvantaged are guaranteed by responding to that famous and apt call to “leave no child behind.”
Since, CRA 2003 was passed at the federal level, it is only appropriate for state assemblies to domesticate same (Unveiling, Africa. 2003). Therefore, the remaining 10 states yet to pass the bill on the Child Rights Act into their laws should do so.

5. For a long time, some of these policies existed without any forum for convergence of interventions before the inauguration of the Early Years Consultative Development Committee (EYCDC). To address these gaps, there is a need to converge the existing policies into a coherent policy which will emphasize integration of interventions for the whole child. A single policy on early childhood education practice will help put all the important issues in one document as will be easily distributed. A suggested distribution mechanism is through the institutions of higher learning – every final year student of education gets a copy of the policy.

6. General orientation
The Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) should re-orientate Nigerians on the rights and needs of every child -to survive and thrive, learn, live in a safe and clean environment; be given a fair chance in life; and be protected from violence and exploitation (Cullen-DuPont, 2009).

Evidence has shown that the pre-primary experience has a positive influence on a child’s education later in life; therefore the national policy statement should be effectively implemented to achieve and maintain its objectives and goals (Achilihu, 2010).
For this to be possible, the government should provide adequate facilities, fund, and encourage teacher training in early childhood education programmes. Additionally, there should be effective control in the establishment and approval of nursery schools. Approval should be given to nursery school building plans before they’re constructed in order to monitor the standard of facilities. These facilities should be inspected before students are admitted into the schools and monitored and maintained to ensure quality pre-primary learning institutions.

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My mother used to make me angry as a child.

One day, we were returning from the market with heavy loads, she and I. An annoying man pushed me and all she said was ‘e se o’ (thank you o). I was really mad at her but there was nothing I could do. Less than 5minutes after this, a woman pushed both of us in her haste. Both of us and all MY mother said was ‘e se o’. I couldn’t lash out because I was actually angry at my mum for her comments that don’t hurt.
Surprisingly, the woman turned to apologise. That was a miracle.

The angry mood was gone but I couldn’t understand the logic. So, after all our chores later that night I asked my mum, ‘How come all you can say is ‘e se’ to people that mindlessly hurt you?’
She replied, ‘Mo n sin Olorun ni ara won ni’ (I worship God through them).

It didn’t make much sense then. There are thousands of ways to worship God and letting people get away with bad deeds didn’t seem okay. I was less than 10years old.

Today, however, I completely get it. Not replying to some caustic remark, ignoring a trouble shooter, letting a rogue have his 5minutes madness, and so much more pay off big time. Other people sometimes do the fighting for me. Not that I don’t what to say (sometimes I blame myself for not responding appropriately), I have only decided Shaytan will not use me at that moment.
It’s just bliss when you get the last word without uttering any. May Allaah bless and forgive my mum, ameen.

Hamushiya! I love that Hindi word I picked from the movies (I may have used it wrongly – hamush?)

The Biggest Lies I Fight as the Introverted Mom of an Extroverted Child

A great read… When you are different from one of your ‘significant others’

I knew I was in for it when she was only 5-months-old.

I was only trying to get us out of the house for a bit, maybe find some adult interaction.  So I decided that even though she was probably too little, we’d check out Story Time at the library.

It was utter chaos: kids running everywhere, parents chatting, and the poor library staffer trying to rein them all in and quiet them all down so she could read.  I was overstimulated within five minutes, and said to myself, “We are NEVER coming back here!”

Right at that moment I looked down at Abby.

She was straining off my lap, arms wide, with a huge smile on her face.  She (non-verbally) radiated the sentiment that this was the greatest. day. of. her. life.

I smiled a tremulous, oh-no-what-have-you-done-God smile as it dawned on me: I have an extrovert on my…

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How many of you have seen “Bhul Bulaiye” or “BhootNath”? These are great Hindi movies on ghosts ‘unable to rest’ after death.

“Ti Oluwa ni’le” is there from the Yoruba movie industry.

Who knows the title of this American movie where a guy (Tony Goldwyn) killed his friend and partner married to artist Demi Moore? I just can’t remember the title.

And these are just the few I can recollect.

Truth is, there is no such thing as ghosts, or good spirits having unfinished business, or untimely death for that matter. Every death is as planned by God.

In Islam, every human that dies is dead and gone. To another stage of existence, yes, but no longer on earth. In any form or version. We have been convinced of this by all the “…woods” we watch. Sweetening the storyline is endangering our aqeedah.

What’s actually happening is that a jinn takes over the body when the soul vacates. And this isn’t the Djinni of Aladin tales, mind you. I’m talking about the third creature (besides man and angel) who takes any form/shape at will and have “superpowers”. I’m convinced if Thor and Thanus really exist, they’d be jinns.

Clarifying this may be challenging if we pick our knowledge from the “… woods” and do not learn from Qur’an and sunnah.

That’s my submission for today.


1. The “…woods” are nolly, bolly and holly.
2. Bhoot is the Hindi word for ghost.

Being FAT. Then and Now

Its not easy to be living in the 21st century. Back then, all a woman had to worry about were family life and scholarship (which were for personal development and pleasure, not career pursuit).

In this century, a woman has to struggle with education, family AND work. The stress overload and lack of time for self contribute greatly to the fast weight gain. And what makes it worse? Media.

In the past, especially in the African continent, a ‘fleshy’ woman is a ‘well’ woman. Rich even. It’s simply normal in a healthy way to be fat. It was accepted.

In this century, there are terminologies for fat – robust, endowed, plus size, extra large – everything to make her feel different on a daily basis. Seat on every mode of transportation has a particular size/shape, clothes are designed for the ‘chic’, jobs are taken by the slim ones, men want wives who are ‘sexy’ slim with nice rack. You can add yours to the long list.

We’ve built a world of anorexics and hate fat. A world where ‘healthy’ doesn’t matter but ‘fit’ and ‘right for the job’ count more than anything else.

And when the Muslimah, unfortunately, bases her ideas/opinions/thoughts/fashion sense on the *model world*, she is doomed. She would have to fight to fit in and be accepted. Struggling to observe the hijab and add another struggle with weight. ‘Fat Alhaja’, ‘fat and clad’ become her tag.

Why must we feel the need to blend in, be accepted by others? For some people, no matter the food they eat or avoid they’ll maintain same size.

You have to confirm you’re not one of those before committing yourself to the sensor-ship of E-News and fashion magazines.

No matter the result of that check, you have to appreciate yourself and get rid of the low self esteem. Fat can be fabulously beautiful if you’re confident.

Next, ensure you are well and fit medically. Exercise regularly and eat right. Then when someone says you’re fat, you can proudly tell them you’re “healthy, balanced and happy”.

Fat is overrated. Have you seen Serena Williams? What better weight loss exercise than running around hitting a ball? She’s still fat!

Bottom line is self acceptance. Don’t allow yourself to be objectified.

What’s more? Your hijab covers whatever it is ‘they’ see as fat, you should be immune to judgements. And please stop making movie ‘hero/heroine’ the model idea of your own body. It’s your body and you ain’t selling it. Be like these beautiful smiling lady in the borrowed image, who just happens to be fat.

Also, we need to, sometimes, see things as they were in the past. And this is Africa, not America or Europe. The females in other continents may be generally small, we are generally big. Accept it.

“A new world is not made by simply trying to forget the old one. A new world is made with a new spirit, with new values.” -Henry Miller…


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