The federal government of Nigeria has announced plans to review and enhance its curriculum for basic schools in the country to develop the creative skills of children and prepare them for future innovation.
Tahir Mamman, the minister of Education, disclosed this during a panel session on National Child Well-being at the ongoing Nigeria Economic Summit on Tuesday. Mamman stated that the current numeracy and literacy skills taught in basic schools are inadequate to prepare Nigerian children for present-day realities.
He further emphasized the importance of teaching soft skills such as critical thinking and practical skills at the basic level to improve the quality of learning and nurture children’s capabilities to think critically.
“We are going to rejig the curriculum for basic schools. We want to strengthen some level of critical thinking at that level. The teaching has to be in a way to nurture their capability at that stage to think critically”, the minister said.
The minister also revealed that his administration’s focus will be on basic education, which has been neglected in the past. The government is developing policies to increase enrollment in basic schools, which are currently free but have low attendance and a high number of out-of-school children.
Mamman emphasized the need for better learning opportunities and facilities in basic schools, and the government’s plan to engage the governors who have the funding responsibility to achieve this.
Mamman also highlighted the shortage of teachers and classrooms in the country, stating that there is a gap of 950,000 teachers and 20,000 classrooms. He assured that the government is working to improve facilities as well as security around schools, especially in vulnerable areas, to ensure the safety of children.
Muhammad Pate, the minister of Health and Social Welfare, also speaking, emphasized the importance of health and education in human capital development.
He said the government is working to expand and recalibrate the Vulnerable Group Fund to provide health insurance for the poorest of the poor and ensure health security.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in various sectors of the economy on Tuesday called for more private sector investments to fast-track the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The call was made during a panel session conversation on ‘rethinking strategies towards SDGs’ at the Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Senior special assistant to the President on SDGs, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, noted that there was a need for all groups and individuals, including private sector bodies to increase investment towards improving the livelihood of all Nigerians.
She explained that private sector investment has become crucial to achieving SDGs, as the government focuses on implementing the Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs).
“We need the support of the private sector in terms of resource mobilisation, and expertise needed to achieve the SDGs. We need to work together to accelerate the achievements. We need the private sector to create jobs for our young jobless people, it is critical for us to ensure that we create good jobs as this will address other goals.
“Creating good jobs will eradicate poverty, and if a man has a good job, he will eat well, and be able to take his children to school. So we want the private sector to create jobs,” she said.