By Bukar Bolori
The National Council of Education (NCE) has been advised to make academic calendar flexible in order to accommodate children of peasant farmers who drop out of school during harvest seasons.
Making the call on Tuesday Kagu during the 2020 school Enrolment Drive Campaign in Maiduguri was a Professor of Counselling Psychology in Education, Bulama Kagu.
The campaign, an annual programme supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund, Norwegian Government, European Union, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, German Government and the Education Cannot Wait organisation, aim to enroll and retain out-of-school children in school.
Kagu, who lamented that that many children of peasant farmers had to take leave of school to assist their parents, peasant farmers, during the harvesting people, should the flexible academic calendar not be evolved many of them would remained uneducated.
He said allowing for flexible calendar would ensure the success of efforts to enroll conflict-affected children in school.
He said, “Post-COVID-19, we will witness significant resettlement of IDPs in their ancestral communities. Since most of these communities are agrarian in nature, many of them will go back to farming probably with their children regardless of the school session. Therefore, the National Council on Education should conduct feasibility studies on flexible school calendar to target children of farmers, fishermen, pastoralists and other seasonal occupations.’’
Speaking at the programme, Executive Chairman of Borno State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Shettima Bukar Kullima, said radio and television lessons will continue in the state.
He said, “Enrolment campaigns work. An additional 138,000 children were enrolled in schools across the state last year. This year, we started radio lessons when schools were shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the rest of the country is looking to Borno to scale up radio programming. We have moved to television scripts and this has come to stay in Borno. We will continue to improve because the impact of insurgency is great in Borno.”
UNICEF Education Specialist, Robyn Savage called on stakeholders to work with families and communities to ensure the success of the campaign, noting that: We need to work with families, parents, guardians and heads of household to ensure the benefits of education are understood and promoted.”
She said: “Education offers protection against poverty and underdevelopment. We must leverage on the determination of the state government to ensure that every child, irrespective of their gender, social and economic status, has a chance at life and at maximising their potential.”