The study attempted to investigate the Impact of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and Family Background on the Development of Children within the Nigerian System.
The study adopted multi-stage random sampling procedure, out of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, three zones were chosen, namely North West, South South, South West. A sample of 480 pupils were selected. The selection was purposeful in order to have a data that is nationally representative.
In addition, the questionnaire was adopted for the collection of data necessary for this study. Data collected were subjected to appropriate quantitative and qualitative analyses using basic descriptive statistics including frequency counts and percentages for easy interpretation as well as chi-square test.
The research revealed that children who did not pass through the preschool had more repetitions of classes than their counterparts who passed through the preschools. It was recommended among other recommendations that the preschool across the nation should be made compulsory. Also, there should be the establishment of preschools in the public education sector.
1.0 Background of the study
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 (Ajayi, 2008). Early Childhood Care and Development is an investment that offers outstanding returns- both in human and financial terms. However in most parts of the globe, the political will to put children at the center, to provide adequate supports for young children living in poverty, and to make sure that all children are ensured their rights from the start is nowhere near adequate as yet (Arnold,2004).
UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS; 2008) comparable statistical information on Africa tells us that 38% of the adult population remains illiterate, that only 12% of children are enrolled at the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) levels; 76% at the primary; 27% at the secondary; and 6% at the higher education level. Around 72 million secondary school-aged young people and 30 million primary school-aged children in Africa are outside the school system; the majority of these have no training or skills to be absorbed in the labour market.
Sub-Saharan Africa has made significant progress since the adoption of Education for All goals in 2000, by reducing its out-of-school population by nearly 13 million, down to 32 million in 2007. Yet the challenge remains large: one-quarter of the region’s primary school age children were out of school in 2008, and the region accounted for nearly 45% of the global out-of-school population. Gender, income, and location interact with other factors of disadvantage, such as language of instruction, ethnicity, and disability, to multiply barriers to school entry. If more actions are not taken, almost 12 million girls in the region are expected never to enroll, compared with 7 million boys. For millions of children entering primary school, their journey is marked by late entry, low achievement, grade repetition, and dropout. While intake rates are going up in the region, in half of the countries, 50% or more of the children entered school above the official starting age in 2007( WCECCE, 2010)
Following the 4th African Conference on ECCE (Dakar, 2009) the African Union voted to add early childhood development as a (new) eighth priority area in the Second Decade of Education Plan of Action. The result is that beginning in 2011, all African countries will track their progress in ECCE. Proposed ECCE indicators were identified in Kinshasa (July 2010) and scheduled for ratification by the AU in October 2010. A total of 14 indicators have been proposed which include health and education indicators. In addition, a national sample of household data will be used which replicates the Multi cluster Indicator Survey (MICS) designed by UNICEF. All African countries are expected to report secondary data and pilot the household data in 2011. Piloting of household data around child development indicators will focus on two countries within each regional economic commission (REC).
The literature on child development is replete with empirical findings demonstrating a strong causal relationship between foundation stage of the education of young children and their academic and social competence at secondary and tertiary levels. Such studies have demonstrated that the foundation stage is most important stage as children are growing and learning physically, socio-emotionally and intellectually (Merrell, Tymms and Jones (2007).
Early childcare education can be a double edged sword that can both alleviate and exacerbate disparity. Providing early childcare services can have an equalizing effect on cognitive and affective development, compensating for the disadvantaged backgrounds. Even if early childcare services cannot entirely close the cognitive and social development gap between the rich and poor children, a lack of this service can certainly widen the gap in a relatively well-off country (Jaramillo and Tietjen, 2001:3).
The provision of early childcare education can exacerbate disparities between rich and poor children, as the wealthy are its biggest users and beneficiaries. Early childcare education can have an equalizing effect on cognitive and affective development of young children. The gains such as early reading, phonological awareness results are revealed in Merrell, Tymms and Jones (2007) seven years longitudinal study on Changes in Children’s Cognitive Development; and invariably early mathematical awareness and general knowledge of their environment. Cognitive development associated with early childcare suggests that government should encourage the provision of early childcare programs as is been done in other developed countries such as Sure Start centres UK and The Early Head Start in the US.
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa has since 1999 been marked by several significant policy thrusts and programmes that seek to actualize the spirit of the Jamtien Declaration (1990) and Dakar (2000) Education for all plan of action as well as Nigeria’s own needs and goals for sustainable national development, using education as an “instrument par excellence’’ (Federal Ministry Of Education, 2006: 1)
Ololude, Kpolovie and Edbezor (2009) argue that inequality in learning is not only difficult to remedy but has also destroyed the intellectual ability of most children and resulted in inequality socio-economically and politically. “As a result … for a nation to develop, its early childcare education must be based on a solid foundation and all national, state and local facilities needed for enhancing it ought to be provided Ololude (2005a, 2005b, 2007 in Ololude, Kpolovie and Edbezor 2009). The major challenges faced in Nigeria include lack of trained personnel, inadequate infrastructure, awareness of the importance of ECCE and so on
This study will focus on the short term/ long term impacts of ECCE and family background on the development of children within the Nigerian system where problems such as government’s non-involvement in early childcare education, failure to understand the impact of attention to young children for human development and poverty reduction, failure to reach the most socio-economically disadvantaged children and the provision of early childcare education in the three chosen states.
1.1Statement of problem
Notwithstanding the claims that ECCE has been rolled out in Nigeria and despite the massive investment in contracts to purchase ECCE books, the reality is that what now passes for ECCE is no different from the primary education focus of the past. Baseline data reveals that most care givers of new ECCE classes have never been trained, do not know the meaning of ECCE and have not seen the curriculum. Similarly, most Ministry officials are not aware of place of ECCE in the state’s education policies.
There is lack of awareness to the importance early child care Development at all levels from government officials to most junior members of the communities. Thus; this study was designed to fill this gap.
1.2 purpose of Study
- To assess the impact of ECCE on future social development of the Nigerian child
- To assess the extent to which family background can influence the future social development of the Nigerian child
- To evaluate the extent to which these two variables (ECCE) and family background jointly influence or predict social development of children.
- To evaluate the awareness of importance ECCE in the three states (Lagos, Kano and Rivers) in Nigeria and determine the level of government involvement in the delivery of quality early childhood education/ preschool in these three states
1.3 Significance of study
This study will sensitize policy makers, educational administrators and planners on the need to provide adequate programmes, policies and curriculum for early childhood education. It will go a long way to make parents to be involved in their children’s early education by providing the necessary materials. This will encourage government to provide Pre-primary educational facilities (classrooms, instructional materials and equipments) needed for the success of the programme. Also, the result of the study will contribute to policy formulation and practices.
1.4 Research Questions
1. To what extent did you enjoy the attendance and activities done at the preprimary school?
2. What are the activities you enjoyed most during your playgroup/nursery school days?
3. Did you like your teachers and caregivers during your crèche/playgroup or nursery school period?
4. To what extent were you able to read correctly before leaving the playgroup or nursery school and did you find some subjects difficult?
5. For non-attendance of the preschool, did you repeat classes?
6. To what extent will childcare education and family socio-economic characteristics influence children’s intellectual achievement?
7. Will childcare and education and family socio-economic status influence the social competences of the child in latter life?
1.5 Scope of Study
Currently the Federal Government of Nigeria recognizes six geopolitical zones each comprising 5-7 states. For purposes of the study, Nigeria was divided into three geopolitical zones namely North East ( Kano State), South West ( Lagos State) and South South ( Rivers State). A total of twelve primary schools comprising both public and private schools were drawn from the three states. This was considered adequate and represented to make tentative generalisation.
1.6 Operational definition of terms
- Childcare is the act of caring for and supervising young children between the ages of 0 – 6years. It is either provided by parents as they look after their young or at designated centers such as child minders, crèches or day care while both parents go to work.
- Educationis the impartation and acquisition of knowledge through teaching and learning, especially at a school or similar institution such as early childcare centres.
- Social Development is the art of early childcare practice that nurtures the affective development of young children.
- ECCE means Early Child Care and Education, also referred to as pre-primary education is the education given to children between ages 0-5 plus prior to their entering the primary school.
- ECCD is process that refers to an orderly, sequential process of change in which a child learns to handle higher and more complex levels of activity.
- SUBEB means State Universal Basic Education Board