Media and Cultural Contents for Early Childhood Education in Nigeria

Media and Cultural Contents for Early Childhood Education in Nigeria

Olusola Samuel Oyero (Covenant University, Nigeria), Oluwafolafunmi Omoladun Afolabi (Covenant University, Nigeria), Lanre Amodu (Covenant University, Nigeria) and Oladokun Omojola (Covenant University, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0329-4.ch003
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The media have become major players in the socialization of children in modern African societies. Television, in particular, and its related products are at the center stage of early childhood education. Due to the attractive nature of television, children get fascinated as early as 3 months old. Thus, television begins to influence children's learning processes from the cradle. However, there emerges a conflict between media reception and social realities around children, creating a learning dissonance in them. This chapter explores the learning dissonance in children and the impact this has on early childhood education in Nigeria, in particular. It also attempts suggestions on how the situation could be redressed to the advantage of children in their early education.
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Early childhood education (ECE) is the basis for children’s development. It is accepted by the Nigeria National Policy on Education of 2012 as the bedrock of a child’s educational life. While the period of ECE varies from one nation to another, in Nigeria, it is the education a child receives between ages 3 and 5 which prepares him/her for the severities of primary education and education beyond primary education. According to Musa, Abubakar & Danladi (2017), ECE is any planned association that intended to improve and encourage the mental, expressive, sensitive, physical and lingual ability of children from the time of their birth up to the age of 8. Hence, it has different kinds of nomenclature such as pre-primary school, nursery school, the crèche, the kindergarten, and others.

The Nigerian educational system did not plan for children’s early education as obtainable with primary education which commences at age 6 and other higher levels of education. As a result, early childhood education was carried out informally at home. It was not until a few decades ago that societal dynamics compelled the establishment of early childhood schools. Improvement in the education of women and economic pressure necessitate women to seek employment, thus having less time to spend with children. These are among several reasons for early childhood education. Some even do not see this as serious schooling and as such give it some funny names such as ‘Jeleosinmi’ that is ‘let there be peace at home’. Consequently, the introduction of early childhood school was seen as a means of avoiding children’s many troubles at home. Even when the government introduced the idea of education before primary school in its policy, it was deficient in funding for its proper functionality. It is the private schools that came to make this as an opportunity to establish their business.

The proliferation of private schools that have pre-primary schools as part of their system offers opportunities for children’s early education. Government schools still do not make actual provision for early childhood education, though it was included in their policy. Hence, the actual main providers of early childhood education in Nigeria are the private institutions (National Bureau of Statistics, 2015). Unimpressively, pre-primary schools are not properly regulated. Each school’s administration is dependent on the experience, style, expertise, and resources of the owner. This does not make for the proper improvement of early childhood education in Nigeria. Therefore, the qualities of early education a child receives is a function of those afore-mentioned factors and more importantly, the financial capacity of the parents and guardians. Generally, schools whose fees are very high have better qualities in terms of the learning environment, quality of teachers and care-givers, learning materials used, and so on.

A common feature of these schools across board is their tendency to appear exogenous in their approach. These pre-primary schools, in their attempt to appear sophisticated and foreign, adopted media contents which they expose to children. These media products are imported video pedagogical materials and games which are completely culturally unfit for the children. Imagine Nigerian children watching white children sing rhymes. The pattern of word pronunciation alone is even different from the ones coming from their teachers. The children in the video play with materials that are not even available for them to see. The illustrations in the video are completely foreign and the children cannot relate with them. Again, there is a language contradiction. A set of children growing up in a language environment is already used to meanings of certain things and has developed affinity with those things. With the system of education where foreign materials are used for learning, the child gets confused because a different name is being given to what they are used to before. This leads to learning dissonance as children would not properly relate to what they are being taught against the cultural environment in which they grow up. This chapter thus situates the subject within the body of relevant literature and theory, pinpoints the significance of early childhood education, discusses the learning dissonance resulting from foreign pedagogical materials and proffers solution to solve the problem.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC): A United Nation's human rights treaty that seeks to uphold and protect the rights of a child (defined as any person under the age of 18). The treaty came into force on the 2nd of September 1990. Currently, 196 countries, compromising all members of the UN are parties, with the exception of the United States of America.

Nigerian Children: A minor of Nigerian descent who is required to remain under the tutelage of their parents or guardian till they attain maturity.

Socialisation: The adoption of the norms of a people.

New Media Technologies: A generic term used to describe all forms of computer-based or web-related communication technology characterized by creative participation and interactive user interface such as mobile phones, blogs, wikis, video games, social networking sites, virtual worlds, etc.

Values: A set of important principles and ethos by which an individual or a group of people are bound.

Childhood Education: All kinds of educational programs and strategies designed for the training of children from birth up to 8 years of age.

Media: A broad term used to describe various channels of communication, including the traditional and digital communication platforms.

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