Early Childhood Education: an Overview

Abstract:

This paper x-rayed pre-primary education as one of the sub systems and policies in the National Policy on Education (2004) that has been neglected and is failing in Nigeria. Several years after its publication (1977) and revised four times, there is still a very yawning gap between policy formulation and implementation. Pre-primary education, which ordinarily is supposed to be the foundation stone of our education system, is wholly left in the hands of private operators to manage with no supervisory authority over them, a situation that has led to poor standards and quality. The policy on the use of the mother tongue or language of the immediate community as medium of instruction; the writing of orthography of Nigerian languages for use at this level as a way of perpetuating the culture among others have all been neglected to the background. The paper observed that a policy could be good but if it is not carefully and religiously implemented, it will become a mere paper work. It was emphasized that if pre-primary education is to serve its stated purposes of making the children to have an effective smooth transition from the home to the school; prepare the child for the primary level of education; inculcate social norms; inculcate in the child the spirit of enquiry and creativity; develop a sense of cooperation and team-spirit and really teach the children the rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes, among others. It should be well supervised, staffed, equipped, financed and coordinated. To achieve this, this policy like others in the NPE requires political will, determination, transparency, accountability and steadfastness and a close interface between policy formulation and implementation. These are benchmarks to achieve these goals.