Commission evolves new strategies to teach more nomads
By Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe
The National Commission for Nomadic Education is adopting new strategies to educate more nomads across Nigeria, through the establishment of a specialised radio station, the Radio Zamani International.
Speaking at the office of the Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board, days after inspecting nomadic schools in the state, the Director, Social Mobilisation and Women Development of the Commission, Dr. Fidelis Idoko, said the commission considered the use of radio because of a research finding that paced 84% of nomads’ attachment to radio.
Mr. Idoko said the commission had extensively used the radio to give the nomads civic education.
“We have a radio programme on Radio Nigeria, Kaduna, titled, ‘Don Makiyaya a Ruga’ meaning for the nomads in their home state. This programme started in 1976, August and we have persistently produced it We have tried some other programmes in 2008, we produce radio series, health series for the nomads,” Dr. Idoko said.
He said successes were recorded from various programmes that had helped in changing certain patterns of the nomadic life, such as exclusive breastfeeding, importance of immunisation, participation in voter registration, participation in census and participation in other government programmes.
Dr. Idoko said because of the level of interest and involvement shown by the nomads in the radio programmes, the commission decided to scale up the use of radio by acquiring an AM License in 2017 for the establishment of an exclusive radio station for nomadic education.
“We want to use radio to teach them literacy, to teach numeracy, to teach them life skills,” Dr. Idoko stated.
He said insurgency, as well as farmer-herder conflicts had had their negative effects on nomadic education and as such wanted to use the radio to reverse the trend and promote peace.
According to Dr. Idoko, the National Commission for Nomadic Education has series of packages as instructional materials for the nomads, such as the development of an interactive radio instruction programme known as ‘Radio School’, as well as the development of scooping and sequencing, production of 30 radio lessons for Primary one pupils, which have all been tested.
He said afterwards, a result of a research conducted on the programmes and their effect on nomadic education showed that the radio programmes were as effective as the classroom instructions.
Dr. Idoko said this led to the resolve to scale up the programmes so as to afford every nomad, irrespective of where he may be, to access education.
Moreover, Dr. Idoko said the commission was not abandoning the face-to-face learning programme in the classrooms, but that paucity of funds, as well as lack of qualified teachers, were affecting the provision of classrooms in every corner of the country.
“The local governments and state are the owners of teachers and as a result, we don’t have control over them. And at times we give them specialised training, but after the training, some of them are posted out of the nomadic schools. It becomes a challenge to us,” he said.
Retain Nomadic Teachers
Dr Idoko then appealed to the Executive Chairman of the Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board to retain trained nomadic teachers in the Nomadic Schools.
Dr. Idoko also appealed for more supervision of the nomadic schools in Gombe, because one of the schools the delegation visited had no teachers or students present at 11 am.
He also said the visit of the delegation from the National Commission for Nomadic Education to Gombe State had also successfully conducted a research to know the appropriate time of airing the radio programmes for the different target audience.
The Chairman of the Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Babaji Babadidi, appreciated the assistance of the commission in complementing the state government’s efforts in the provision of infrastructure and other classroom facilities.
He said the Governor Yahaya-led administration had expended over 900 million naira on nomadic Education in the state, through the construction of classrooms, the establishment of new Nomadic Schools, supply of furniture, as well as the provision of instructional materials among others.
According to Mr. Babadidi, the Gombe State Government had done so to drastically reduce the out-of-school children in the state.
The Chairman of the Gombe State Basic Education Board, Mr. Babadidi commended the new approach being adopted by the National Commission for Nomadic Education.
He said the benefit of using radio will reach not just the nomads, but other migrants into the state as well.
According to Mr Babadidi, the Gombe State Government was developing a textbook in Fulfulde Language as an instructional material for the nomads to be produced in large numbers for use by the nomads.
He noted the request for trained teachers in Nomadic Education, saying from now henceforth, SUBEB would ensure that no trained Nomadic Teacher was posted to other schools.
Mr. Babadidi commended individuals who had been contributing towards enhancing nomadic education in Gombe State, citing an example with a Gombe Indigene, Ambassador Yerima Abdullahi for contributing to nomadic education, through the donation of a block of classrooms, uniforms and instructional materials for the nomadic schools in the state.