In Nigeria, improving quality of Mathematics and Science education is essential for national development, more specifically, joining one of the top industrial countries in the world in accordance with the Vision 2020. Teacher development, especially at the primary and secondary schools, is the key factor.
To this end, JICA is now implementing a technical cooperation project, titled "Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education Project Phase 2" (SMASE Phase 2) jointly with the Federal Ministry of Education.
The objectives of SMASE Nigeria Project are:
Federal Ministry of Education (FME),Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC), National Teachers' Institute (NTI), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB)
SMASE Project addresses improving quality of teachers in terms of attitude, pedagogy, mastery of content, resource mobilization and utilization of locally available teaching materials.
SMASE Project aims to shift teaching paradigm from "banking style/chalk & talk" to "ASEI & PDSI approach." ASEI & PDSI approach is the effective approach for ensuring the quality of mathematics and science lessons and their steady improvement. ASEI, which is an acronym for Activities, Students, Experiments and Improvisation is a key word in the SMASE project for lesson innovation. ASEI lesson is made possible through PDSI practice (Plan, Do, See, Improve).
The approach consists of three levels:
The SMASE Nigeria Project Phase 1 implemented training of State Trainers at the National INSET and training of Core Teachers at the State INSET in the three pilot states; Kaduna, Niger and Plateau. In Phase 2, our project will implement National INSET targeting State Trainers from 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory and Local INSET targeting classroom teachers in the three pilot states.
SMASE-WECSA (*) Network, which is the network connecting among Sub-Sahara African countries in the area of mathematics and science education, will be utilized in training the National and State trainers in the third country (Kenya).
(*) SMASE = Strengthening Mathematics and Science in Education
WECSA = WESTERN, EASTERN, CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
The Federal Ministry of Education and JICA conducted a baseline survey in 2005 to ascertain the strategies in use, the needs and challenges facing teaching learning of mathematics and science at primary education level. Major findings of the survey presented to stakeholders showed a mirage of difficulties such as (i) poor Teacher-Pupil strategy, (ii) perceived difficult concepts, (iii) monotonous use of lecture method of teaching and (iv) inadequate and poor utilization of available teaching materials to mention but few.
JICA's intervention is to put in place a system of INSET for teachers of mathematics and science education in Nigeria that can be adapted and replicated in other states of the Federation apart from the pilot states.