Abstract

The early years in life are the most important for the formation of the intelligence, personality and social behavior of a child. The years before a child reaches kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life to influence learning. That is why modern societies show serious concern for the education of their young ones by providing needed support to prepare them to succeed later in school [1]. It is common practice in most societies to make provision for early childhood education programmes of various sorts for children below the official school-going age (usually 6 years) mainly to prepare them for education in primary schools. The Federal Government of Nigeria recognizes the importance of early childhood education in Nigeria, and as a result it was given prominence in the National Policy on Education [2] as one of the programmes in the Nigerian educational system. This paper sets out to evaluate the early childhood education programme in Nigeria. It looks at its objectives and its curriculum. The extent of the achievement of these objectives is as important as the implementation of the curriculum. It also looks at the model of evaluation called Context, Input, Process and Product model. The study employs the survey research design and the area of study is Abia State in Nigeria. It has a population of over 20,000 and uses a sample of 1350 respondents which was got by stratified multistage sampling technique. Four research questions and one hypothesis were posed to carry out the research work. Research instruments used for the study include questionnaire, observation and interviews conducted on the respondents. The data collected were analyzed using frequency, percentages and chi square analysis. The results of the analysis show that the programme objectives were achieved to a high extent, though the objective of provision of adequate care was not fully achieved. The objective of teaching them in their mother tongue was also not achieved. The study also discovered that there are constraints to the achievement of the objectives of the early childhood education programme especially that of funding. Some recommendations were made which include that effective measures should be ensured in the training of early childhood/pre-primary education teachers through adequate scholarships, approving the mounting of such programmes in all Universities, Institutes of Education and Colleges of Education. Moreover, if Nigeria wants to achieve the objectives of education for all, there is a need for Early Childhood Education to cover children of 0-3 years, though some early childhood education centres make provision for what is called pre-nursery which is for 2 year olds.

Published in: London International Conference on Education (LICE-2016)

  • Date of Conference: 14-17 November 2016
  • DOI: 10.2053/LICE.2016.0026
  • ISBN: 978-1-908320-76-6
  • Conference Location: Heathrow Windsor Marriott Hotel, UK