Child Friendly Schools Evaluation: Country Report for Nigeria
The Child Friendly Schools (CFS) initiative in Nigeria was developed as a partnership between the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, and other national and international organizations in response to the dire state of education in Nigeria in the 1990s. Less than 80 percent of school-age children were enrolled in school. About a third of that number did not complete primary school, while twothirds did not achieve basic literacy or numeric proficiency. Schools had inadequate classroom space, furniture, equipment and teaching/learning materials; many of them had inadequate water, health and sanitation facilities; and there was very limited community involvement in education. Teachers were poorly motivated and used ineffective teaching methodologies. Hence this strategic partnership, which later became the CFS initiative, sought to create schools that reflected and realised the rights of every child; implemented student-centred pedagogy; were gender sensitive; promoted students’ mental and physical health; promoted quality learning outcomes for all children; enhanced teacher capacity, morale and commitment; and provided education that included families and promoted community cohesion.
UNICEF contracted with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in 2008 to conduct a global evaluation of its CFS initiative. The evaluation was expected to serve as a baseline assessment, examining the effectiveness of UNICEF’s CFS programming efforts in the areas of inclusiveness, pedagogy, architecture and services, participation and governance, and systemic management. Nigeria was selected as one of six countries for this global evaluation. The purpose of this report is to present an evaluation of the effectiveness of UNICEF CFS intervention efforts in Nigeria. As part of the data collection effort for the CFS global evaluation, the evaluators visited a total of 23 schools in the Federal Capital Territory, Ebonyi State and Niger State that had received support under the CFS initiative, administered surveys to teachers and students and school heads, observed the school grounds and buildings, and conducted interviews and focus groups with school heads, teachers, families and other key stakeholders.
Although there are still some significant areas of concern that have a long-term impact on children’s outcomes, Nigeria has made substantial progress toward the provision of schools that are child friendly. Most schools made an effort to reach out to enrol all students, including student with disabilities, and there seemed to be a positive attitude toward the provision of education for all. However, very few schools had teachers with training in special education, and most schools lacked resources to meet the special needs of students with disabilities once enrolled...