Education experts in the areas of curriculum development, content creation, and teacher education from all over Nigeria gathered in Lagos last week together with leaders from the private sector to design Teachers Guides in all subject areas covered by the newly revised 9-year Basic Education Curriculum. The summit was sponsored by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, the official governmental body responsible for drafting the curriculum.
The creation of Teachers Guides is an important step in the adoption of the new basic curriculum since it makes it easier for teachers to understand the ins and outs of the new program as well as to know which material they need to cover. In addition, it makes it unnecessary for instructors to draft their own plan, thus leaving them free to actually teach the material to their students.
According to the NERDC Executive Secretary Professor Godswill Obioma, this is the first time that a curriculum revision comes with accompanying Teachers Guides that are specifically focused on the changes.
Each of the groups then worked on the conceptual framework for the Teachers Guides which was developed last month in Benin City and which outlined the units and components for the writing exercise. The different units and components of the conceptual framework, according to Prof Obioma, include: under-standing the revised curriculum; breaking of the curriculum into syllabus, scheme of work, unit of work, lesson plan and their preparation; modern teaching approaches and lesson plan; sample lesson planning based on modern teaching approaches; teaching of perceived difficult concepts in the subject areas; and resources for teaching and assessment of learning.
The new curriculum draws more than the usual focus on vocational education in Nigeria, with hopes that providing students with job training that would allow them to enter the workforce immediately after graduation would serve the country's goal of becoming one of the 20 largest economies by the year 2020. Obioma said that previous curriculum gave students an opportunity to study subjects like Agriculture and Home Economics, but made them electives. The new plan makes both the courses a pre-requisite for all the vocational programs outlined in the curriculum.
If the children are equipped with functional skills at an early stage, they will grow with it. This curriculum will produce students with skills in carpentry, plumbing, electricians, computer repairers and so forth. Engineers in the United Kingdom and United States of America do not earn higher pay than a plumber which motivates them to perform creditably well. That is why it is necessary for all stakeholders to put in place a good policy on reward system".
The new BEC also substantially narrowed the number of subjects that are considered "core." Instead of over 20 course areas described in the 8th version of the BEC, only ten subjects are specifically listed: Mathematics, Nigerian Languages, English Studies, Basic Science & Technology, Pre-Vocational Studies, Religion & National Values, Cultural & Creative Arts and Arabic Language. After 4th grade, students will also have an option to take French, and another – Business Studies – will become available in later grades.