EDUCATION IN NIGER: TENS transformative educations thrust

The Transforming Education in Niger State (TENS) is an educational transformation programme aimed at the primary and secondary school levels, in partnership with MRL Public Sector Consultants, the University of Cambridge – comprising of Judge Business School Executive Education and the Institute of Education and the Institute for Leadership and Management.

The aim of TENS is to significantly improve the State’s educational system. The current critical state of the education system is as a result of underlying factors such as minimal investment into the sector over the last decade.

In line with the TENS aim, over the next four years the intention of the present administration in Niger State is to tackle the problems within the educational system, commencing with the primary and secondary levels.

The new vision is to create an effective and efficient educational system with modern infrastructure, facilities and equipment, such that teachers will be appropriately trained, motivated and remunerated and the curriculum reviewed and updated to meet the needs of a changing world.

The vision will ensure there are sufficient classrooms for teaching and a revised teacher-student ratio to reduce and avoid overcrowded classrooms. The use of ICT in schools will be a standard, with library facilities, science laboratories and textbooks for children to learn in a pleasant environment. The quality of teaching will be significantly improved and educational standards raised with an increase in the pass rate of student in national examinations.

Problems facing the Niger State educational system, though immense, are not insurmountable. It will take considerable commitment, effort and the involvement of all if the current situation is to be addressed. The problems associated with the education system at all levels can be attributed to many factors which have not been properly addressed over the years.

Previous attempts to address the problems were done through a number of policies and documents such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), National and States Education for All (EFA) Plans, National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) and the Niger State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NSEEDS).

The main objective of the NSEEDS was to strengthen the existing development strategies and plans by identifying priorities that would lead to growth promotion and the reduction of poverty. However, Niger state missed the Education for All goals of achieving gender parity at primary and secondary school education levels by 2012. It also missed the achievements of the EF goal and the millennium development goals which concluded this year.

MRL Public Sector Consultants took delivery of the 8000 baseline educational statistics and infrastructure questionnaires for the Niger State Government, as part of the Transforming Education in Niger State (TENS) Programme. The questionnaires have been developed by MRL Public Sector Consultants, with support from the University of Cambridge – Faculty of Education.

This is a key milestone for the programme, with the commencement of the survey underway. 1,250 unemployed graduate enumerators have been recruited to take part in this exercise, which equates to 50 graduates in each of the 25 local government areas across the 274 wards in the state.

All primary and secondary schools (the scope of the TENS Programme) will be visited by enumerators who are indigenes of the local area. It is hoped that over the years, this improved standard in the educational system of Niger State, through the TENS programme, will reduce poverty and in the long term generate more development within the State.