FEDERAL MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
NIGERIA EDUCATION SECTOR COVID-19 RESPONSE STRATEGY
A resilient and responsive education system, effectively providing inclusive quality education, is a necessity for driving and sustaining economic growth and national development. It seamlessly supplies the required manpower with requisite knowledge, skills and competencies to meet the challenges of sustainable development, inclusive social welfare and societal wellbeing. The Nigerian education system is presently lacking the required resilience to meet this need. The nation’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 envisions inclusive economic growth and accelerated national development. The ERGP prioritizes educational development to stimulate innovations and investing in people to achieve the objectives of social inclusion, food and energy security to evolve a globally competitive economy. Transformation of the education sector as a critical enabler is a key strategy of the ERGP. The achievements from the long-standing efforts to strengthen the sector over the years have been eroded in recent years particularly by insurgency and insecurity. Nigeria has an estimated over 10million out-of-school children, representing approximately 20% of global population of these marginalised groups. The nation is facing a learning crisis and among the least-achieving in education key performance indicators.
In the past few years, national and international interventions and coalition have been galvanized and being deployed to address the adverse effects and impact of insurgency and insecurity on the nation’s education sector. Several of these interventions are already yielding results. The immediate effects and long-term impact of the raging COVID-19 pandemic pose a huge threat and challenge to the education sector. Already all schools, education institutions, agencies and interventions have been shut down. Teaching, learning and all other supporting activities are on hold. Without a prompt and effective response, the pandemic has the potential to monumentally disrupt and weaken the system to the detriment of human capital development and sustainable national development. An effective response should also seek opportunities inherent in COVID – 19 challenge for leveraging to broaden and strengthen coalitions as well as to upscale innovativeness in redressing the age-long weaknesses of the Nigerian education sector.
A robust, dynamic and effective response to mitigate the effect and impact of COVID – 19 on the education sector is an urgent necessity. Education – teaching, learning and capacity development- must not be completely halted at any time in Nigeria. Learners at all levels and spheres need to be provided with continuous access to relevant quality education. Education ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as non-state providers and their institutions need to be supported in a systemic and coordinated manner to safely and as much as possible continue lesson delivery to learners and carry out ancillary management, supervision, monitoring and evaluation. This requires a concise strategy to create the enabling framework for quality planning and effective implementation. In line with its mandate the Federal Ministry of Education is providing policy direction and leadership to mobilize a coalition of all stakeholders for a dynamic and effective Nigeria education sector COVID – 19 response.
2.0 PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVE:
The Nigeria Education Sector COVID – 19 Response Strategy is developed by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with its Development Partners and the States. The purpose of the initiative is to provide the modality for a coordinated, systemic and appropriate response to COVID – 19 that will involve all stakeholders. The objective is aimed at mitigating the immediate effect and impact of the pandemic on the education sector, and to enhance the sector’s responsiveness and resilience in providing inclusive quality education at all levels. It provides the enabling framework for well-coordinated and effective planning, implementation, performance monitoring and feedback to ensure:
- that lessons delivery, assessments and learning continue remotely during the period of the pandemic without putting the health and safety of learners, teachers and education managers at risk;
- accelerated recovery and restoration of the education sector as well as quick regaining of the system’s pre-pandemic capacity for education provision;
- seamless reintegration of learners at all levels into the conventional school system post-pandemic;
- a quick normalization of the system and timely closing of the gaps in the education cycle as a result of the unscheduled long shut-down of schools; and
- that the lessons and capacity developed from education response to COVID – 19 are institutionalised and deployed for building and strengthening resilience of the education system in delivering quality manpower training and human capital development for sustainable national development.
3.0 PRINCIPLES AND APPROACH
The following principles and multi-faceted approach will guide and inform the design, planning, implementation, performance monitoring and feedback on the interventions and activities of education sector to COVID – 19 response strategy:
a. Collaboration, Partnerships and Coordination:Stakeholders’ collaboration, partnerships and coordination for the optimal engagement of federal, state and local governments, Development Partners, the civil society, private sector, communities, parents and guardians is paramount. Nigeria will buy into and leverage global COVID-19 and other relevant initiatives such as UNESCO Global Education Coalition, Global Partnership for Education (GPE) COVID-19 Funding Support and UNICEF’s Global Learning Passport. This principle is intended to enable effective harmonization and deployment of all available resources and create required synergy for an effective comprehensive education sector response to COVID – 19. It will facilitate:
- a well-resourced and coordinated response drawing from national and global initiatives to nimbly tackle the impediments of COVID – 19 pandemic; and
- expanded access to remote and e-learning resources as well as guidance and support for their adaptive use by the 36 States government, FCT and non-state education providers as appropriate.
b. Integrated Sector-wide and Multi-sectorial Approach:
For all learners to benefit and the education system imparted as intended; an integrated sector-wide and multi-sectorial approach is adopted. Response interventions will cover all levels from early childhood education, basic education, post-basic education and tertiary education. The interventions will also target and impact on non-formal education, IQTE, technical & vocational education, skills acquisition and enterprise education. Education response to COVID-19 will also forge cross-sectorial strategic partnerships, collaboration and coordination with health, information technology, social welfare and economic development sectors to enhance efficiency and efficacy.
c. Sustainability and Institutionalization:
While recognizing the need for urgency and innovations, adequate attention will be paid to the imperatives of sustainability and institutionalization. Education sector response to COVID – 19 aligns with government educational development objectives and the priorities of the Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) and States’ and FCT Education Strategic Plans (ESPs). It as much as possible builds on and strengthens existing government structures and systems. Good practices from initiatives and programmes of government, non-state actors and development partners will be identified and leveraged to achieve the purpose and objectives of the response strategy.
d. Creativity and Innovativeness:
Creativity, innovativeness, thinking-outside-the-box and deployment of smart solutions shall be the hallmark of education sector response to COVID – 19. The national response implementation framework will be anchored on adaptive digitalization to meet the needs and circumstances of targeted learners, groups and communities. The Federal Ministry of Education (FME) website will be strengthened with expanded scope and functionality with a dedicated Portal/Webpage as the umbrella e-platform for Nigeria education sector response to COVIC-19. The dedicated Portal will serve as national repository for digital and e-learning resources and the platform for dissemination, interactive feedback and database management consistent with the national curriculum and EMIS policy and protocols.
e. Multi-media Communication and Engagement
The necessity to reach and support all learners at levels and categories of education with varying characteristics and needs demands the use of multi-media communication and engagement approach. This approach will also be most effective for advocacy, sensitisation and mobilization for required intensity of stakeholders’ buy-in, involvement and participation. A combination of television, radio, print media and online channels and platforms will be adopted and adapted as appropriate for use in partnerships and collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
f. Learning Documentation and Experience Sharing.
A principal objective of the education sector COVID – 19 response strategy is application of the lessons learnt and capacity developed in the long-term to strengthen the education sector to be more responsive and resilient. Resilience and responsiveness of the sector to more efficiently and effectively provide inclusive quality education to meet Nigeria’s human capital development needs on a sustainable basis is a priority development objective. To achieve this outcome will require proper documentation of lessons across varying thematic and input areas for experience sharing among different education stakeholders and interest groups for application. A structured performance monitoring and reporting framework and database management will be in place within the FME dedicated Portal/Webpage for COVID – 19 and National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) framework to support and coordinate this process.
4.0 Institutional Arrangement and Coordination
- Identify and/or design strategies, platforms and actions for continued teaching, lessons delivery, assessments and learning for all during the period without putting the health and safety of teachers, learners and education administrators at risk;
- Identify and support the harmonisation of all resources from government and other stakeholders including the private sector, civil society, Development Partners and global initiatives for Nigeria education sector response to COVID-19 at all levels in public and non-state schools; and
- Liaise and engage with organisations involved in global initiatives as well as federal and state government MDAs on multi-sectorial COVID-19 response initiatives at the instance of the Honourable Minister to strengthen education sector response.
A National COVID-19 Education Response Centre at the Federal Ministry of Education will double as the service base for the Ministerial Task Team and the central operational hub for the education sector response to COVID – 19. The 36 States and FCT will be encouraged and supported by the Federal Ministry of Education to set up similar technical groups with ToRs suitable and relevant to their peculiarities and needs.
5.0 Planning and Implementation of Initiatives
National Education Sector COVID-19 Response Initiative and Plan
Education sector COVID-19 response interventions shall be planned and implemented for all levels and thematic areas by relevant stakeholders. There will be different, but linked and integrated, COVID – 19 response interventions at federal, state and local government levels for early childhood education, basic education, post-basic, technical & vocational and tertiary education as well as non-formal education including adult literacy, IQTE, skills acquisition and entrepreneurial training. A Federal Ministry of Education (FME) overarching Education Sector COVID-19 Response National Initiative and Plan developed in collaboration its parastatals and Development will be in place to provide a national framework to drive an integrated approach, effective coordination, synchronized implementation, quality assurance and synergy. The FME national response initiative and plan will be encompassing, covering all levels, sub-sectors and thematic areas. It will provide the planning parameters and implementation framework for education sector COVID-19 interventions at different levels, sub-sectors and thematic area. For each of the levels, sub-sectors and thematic areas, FME national response initiative and plan will indicate:
- possible major interventions and actions and targeted outcomes;
- required inputs expressed in quantities, scope, coverage, frequencies of application, etc;
- indicative national targets expressed as learning and teaching resources to be provided, learners, teachers, schools and communities to be reached, etc, in quantifiable and measurable terms;
- key performance monitoring indicators
- indicative cost implications and funding sources; and
- collaborating stakeholders;
States, FCT and Sub-Sector Initiatives and Plans.
The interventions planned for the different education levels, sub-sectors and thematic areas will be articulated in corresponding COVID-19 response plans should be informed and build into FME National Education Sector COVID-19 Response Initiative and Plan. Design, planning, implementation, performance monitoring, reporting and feedback shall be guided and conform with the stipulated principles and approach of Nigeria education sector COVID – 19 Strategy. In line with this, COVID – 19 education response plans should fulfil the following key criteria:
- verifiable evidence of collaboration and coordination of key stakeholders in design and planning as well as articulation of mechanisms for continued collaboration and coordination of stakeholders in implementation, performance monitoring and feedback;
- alignment with government development objectives and education policy thrusts, objectives and priorities;
- linkage with and contribution to the outcomes and targets of FME National Education Sector COVID-19 Response Initiative and Plan.
- sustainability-focused for institutionalization of lessens and capacity to be developed by building on, leveraging and strengthening existing government systems and structures as well as good practices from government and development partners education programmes;
- well-defined, focused and costed with a clear identification and stipulation of:
- intervention sub-sector or theme, targeted objectives, inputs, outcomes, deliverables and timelines;
- partnering stakeholders, their roles, responsibilities and coordination mechanisms;
- alignment and linkage relevant government development objectives, education policy thrusts and priorities; and
- mechanisms for alignment and collaboration with other COVID – 19 response intervention;
- mechanisms for integration and feedback to Nigeria education sector COVID – 19 response modality, institutional arrangement and database.
SECTOR: EDUCATION SECTOR COVID-19 CONTINGENCY PLAN
A. Overall Objective for intervention related to Education concern:
• To ensure the school community (learners, teaching and non-teaching staff) are protected from infection and transmission of Covid-19
B Specific objectives related to Education; To
• ensure the continuation of formal and non-formal education in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19.
• Provide uninterrupted education in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19.
• provide safe Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities to support prevention and transmission of Covid-19.
• Train and sensitize the school community on preventive measures against Covid-19 outbreak.
• provide psychosocial support for members of the school community.
• coordinate Education Sector response.
C Protection mainstreaming Principles for Education
• All activities should be done with consideration for principles of dignity, safety and with the informed consent of all affected populations.
• Effort should be made to ensure that schooling is uninterrupted through the practice of safe health measures/practices except as may be directed by government.
EDUCATION Sector Covid-19 Contingency Planning Worksheet
Operational Guidance Note: The Use of Educational Facilities / Temporary Learning Centres as Shelters, Markets & Treatment Units for COVID-19
The scale of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education systems and on children and young people’s learning and wellbeing, as well as on educational professionals, is increasing daily. This truly is a global crisis which is preventing children and adolescents across all countries, including those affected by conflict and displacement, from fulfilling their right to quality, safe, and inclusive education. With Sustainable Development Goal 4, the global community has committed to realising the right to quality education for all children and adolescents by 2030. The COVID-19 crisis puts this promise into jeopardy more than ever before.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) activated the Health Focused National Emergency Operations Centre upon confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 on February 27, 2020. The Federal Government on 7th March 2020 established the Presidential Task Force for the Control of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disease. In the Nigerian National COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Pandemic Response Plan, under Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) there is an assigned to “provide accessories for tents and IPC materials (plasma air purifiers) for the new structures identified and repurposed (Considering stadia, isolated Primary Health Care centres and school buildings in every state) to surge the system and support the treatment centres“2. On 24th March 2020, the House of Representatives adopted the motion by Speaker Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila that the Federal Ministry of Education should make available hostels in the now-vacated Federal Government Colleges for use as emergency care centres and isolation units.
In an outbreak, educational facilities and Temporary Learning Centres tend to be used as hubs for medical care in contexts where the demand for health care services and facilities exceed capacity. Educational facilities are further used as makeshift food markets to minimise the disruption of market closures. The Education in Emergencies Working Group Nigeria (EiEWGN) notes that Nigeria has recorded separate incidents during COVID-19 in April 2020 where educational facilities/Temporary Learning Centres have been re-purposed.