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ASSESSMENT OF EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE EDUCATION PROVIDERS’ ADHERENCE TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS ON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION


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ASSESSMENT OF EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE EDUCATION PROVIDERS’ ADHERENCE TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS ON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION


ABSTRACT
The study was designed to find out the extent to which the Early Childhood Care Education
providers’ adhere to the national minimum standard on Early Childhood Care Education in
Owerri Education Zone. The study adopted a descriptive survey design approach in which five
research questions were posed and three null hypotheses tested. The population of the study
comprised of 541 subjects (96 ECCE providers and 445 caregivers) in the nine Local
Government Areas in Owerri Education Zone. A structured questionnaire titled “Early
Childhood Care Education Providers Adherence to the National Minimum Standard
Questionnaire (ECCEPANMSQ)” was developed by the researcher to guide the study. 51 items
were trail-tested on a sample of 16 Caregivers and 4 ECCE providers in 4 ECCE Centres in
Okigwe education zone. The data obtained were computed using Crobach Alpha method. This
gave an overall score of 0.71. The five research questions were analyzed using mean and
Standard Deviation, while the t-test statistics was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of
significance. An overview of the overall results showed that ECCE providers to a little extent
recruit staff in compliance with the national minimum standard on ECCE, ECCE centres were to
a little extent supervised in compliance with the national minimum standard on ECCE, ECCE
providers to a little extent adhere to the use of instructional materials in compliance with the
national minimum standard on ECCE, ECCE providers to a little extent adhere to the provision
of environment that promotes quality learning outcomes in compliance with the national
minimum standard on ECCE and ECCE providers to a little extent adhere to the protection of
children’s health in compliance with the national minimum standard on ECCE. Based on the
findings of the study, the researcher recommends among others that; National and State desk
officers should embark on regular visitation to ensure that ECC centres are established in
compliance with the national minimum standard as prescribed by NERDC. Judging from the
findings of the study, limitations of the study were identified and suggestions for further studies
were made.
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ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
People and nations are what they are because of the nature and types of
education they have been exposed to. Education is a process of developing
knowledge ability in learners in such a way that they use it to improve their
society. Following the Nigerian National Policy on Education (NPE), the Federal
Republic of Nigeria (FRN) (2004), defined education as that process that helps to
develop the whole being, physically, mentally, morally, politically, socially,
economically and technologically to enable individuals function in any
environment in which they may find themselves. Education is a process of
developing knowledge ability in learners towards the formation and modification
of their behaviours for the benefit of the society. Consequently, most countries of
the world have provided various educational programmes for their citizens because
education is conceived as the greatest legacy that any nation can confer to its child.
A child is a young human being between birth and puberty. According to
Opera (2012), a child is a person known as a minor from birth to the legal age of
maturity, for who parents and caregivers, foster parents, public or private homes,
institutional or agency is responsible. He or she is somebody under a legally
specified age who are considered not to be legally responsible for his or her
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actions. However, the concept of a child varies from one culture to another. But for
this study a child is conceived as a person from the age of zero to five years under
the care of parents or caregivers, helpers and securities in Early Childhood Care
Education (ECCE) Centres.
ECCE is an education programme, intentionally designed towards the
general development of the child. Maduewesi (2002) sees Early Childhood Care
Education as education given to children from zero to five years. Similarly, the
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) defined Early Childhood Care Education as
education provided by the early childhood care professionals to create an enabling
environment for a child to thrive and develop to the fullest potentials. In the
context of this study, ECCE refers to education strictly designed by the early
childhood care experts to create an enabling atmosphere for a child to thrive and
develop to the fullest potentials.
ECCE is a special field of education for development of children. The
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) recognizes the importance of ECCE and
thereafter, began to explore ways of implementing the Early Childhood Care
Education for general development of the child. The purposes of ECCE as
stipulated in the National Policy on Education by the Federal Republic of Nigeria
(2004:5) include: to effect a smooth transition from home to the school, prepare the
child for the primary level of education, provide adequate care and supervision for
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the children while their parents are at work, inculcate social norms in the children,
inculcate in the children the spirit of enquiry and creativity through the exploration
of nature, environment, art, music and playing, develop a sense of co-operation and
team spirit, learn good habits, especially good health habits, and teach the
rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes and forms through play. These
objectives must be implemented in the schools by ECCE proprietors and
caregivers.
Early Childhood Care Education proprietors are owners and managers of
Early Childhood Care Education centres. Early Childhood Care Education
proprietors include organizations, corporate bodies and religious organizations
(churches) that are authorized by law and edict to establish the Early Childhood
Care Education centre (Waheed, 2000). They provide instructional materials and
recruit staff such as helpers, securities and caregivers. A caregiver is a person who
looks after somebody. Encarta (2010) defined caregiver as somebody who has the
principal responsibility for caring for a child or dependent adult, especially in the home.
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