Playing can resolve out-of-school, insecurity, learning crises – Education specialist

International day of play logo.
International day of play logo
Playing can resolve out-of-school, insecurity, learning crises – Education specialist

A UNICEF education specialist with Bauchi field office, Mr. Abdurrahman Ibrahim Ado has disclosed that playing in schools has the tendency to reduce, out-of-school, insecurity and learning crises currently bedeviling Nigeria.

Nigeria’s education sector is currently hobbled by myriads of challenges including out-of-school syndrome, infrastructure, manpower and funding gaps amongst many challenges.


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The education specialist during an interaction with newsmen in Yola noted that in order to pursue these noble objectives, the United Nations introduced the international day of play which aims to enhance communication between children, parents and teachers through playing.

Elucidating the rationale behind the creation of the international day of play which was first celebrated on 11 June, 2024, the education specialist further noted that the introduction of the day will also improve literacy and numeracy of children during their formative stages of life.

“The reason behind it is to improve literacy and numeracy because we realized that the level of literacy and numeracy among the children at the upper basic level at the primary school is very low and equality education has to start from the early stage.

“That is the level at which children start developing their cognitive, effective and psychomotor domain. Scientifically, we understand that learning is taking place by play especially amongst the children between the ages of 3 – 5 years that is why we introduced this international day of play so that the teacher and also the parents could have the opportunity to interact with children to also play with them so as to increase their learning in the school and at the same time improve their social and physical interaction.

“It will reduce the menace of out-of-school children. If you look critically at the education sector in Nigeria you will find out that it is not only facing the issue of out-of-school children but another issue of children who are in school but not learning.

“So when you look at education in Nigeria you can say it has twin challenges where we have the issue of out-of-school children and we also have the issue of learning crisis. They are going hand in hand and if you look at some point, the level of out-of-school children is increasing because the learning is not taking place in the schools due to some certain variables,” he said.

According to the education specialist, another benefit of the day is that it has the tendency to resolve the insecurity crisis bedeviling the country.

“The insecurity is basically the result of not having education. So as long as our children will get quality education, the rate of insecurity in the country will be reduced. Insecurity and illiteracy are going hand in hand once a child has quality education the rate at which he will engage himself into vices is very minimal.

“Scientifically if you compare a school where the play among the children who are within the ages of 3 – 5 and the school where the play is not taking place, you will see that the children will be more enthusiastic more encouraged to attend school where there is a lot of play materials, where they will engage in different play activities with their peers and with their teachers so that play is also improving their psychomotor effectiveness and social interactions because all these are part and parcel learning,” he said.

When asked whether too much of play will not distract the children from learning, Ado said, the play is scientifically moulded in such a way that while the play is going on, learning is also taking place.

“If you have observed what is taking place during our training sessions at some points you will see the children are playing with stones for counting and also at some points they are playing on how to pronounce words. All these are the kind of play that motivate the children to learn and also fast track the level at which they are learning. So the play we are talking about is the type that will improve their learning ability. It is not about going to school and play throughout the day and continue playing at home,” he added.

He noted that to enhance the role of play in the development of early education in children, UNICEF has introduced a model christened ECD playing parenting engagement in Adamawa State so that the learning will not only be for the teachers but also for the parents.

“If you look at the child, he only spend few hours with the teachers in the school while basically almost seventy percent of his time will be spent with his parents. That is why we are collaborating with the parents and teachers to cater for the learners because they are the interconnecting dots that bring the child at the center. Basically, this playful parenting is for us to make sure the learning is taking place whether in school or at home. The child development is a responsibility of both parents and teachers,” he added.


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