From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) have joined the fight to defeat HIV infections and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs), and mitigate its impact as well as other health issues in Nigeria.
Executive Secretary of NCCE, Prof. Chijioke Okwelle, told journalists that curricular that would help achieve the task at schools have been reviewed with relevant new things included in the curricular, while outdated knowledge and concepts were removed.
Speaking at a capacity building workshop for teacher-educators involved in imparting knowledge on Family Life and Emerging Health Issues (FLEHI) and Family Life HIV/AIDS Education (FLHE) on students, in Abuja, Prof. Okwelle stressed the need to improve the capacity of the teachers, acquaint them with improved skills and approaches to teach students on how to avoid unhealthy reproductive engagements and family life that could aid the spread of HIV and other STIs.
NCCE’s Director of ICT, Mr. Pius Ekireghwo, who represented Prof. Okwelle at the event, explained: “In 2019, the NCCE with the support of UNESCO trained 100 teachers on FLEHI/FLHE. In 2021, 335 pre-service and in-service teachers were trained by the NCCE in collaboration with UNESCO and Spotlight Initiative. Again, this year, with the support of UNESCO and 03 (Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future) the NCCE have trained 100 teachers on FLEHI/FLHE.
“All the above efforts are in response to reducing HIV infections and mitigating the impact of AIDS, as well as other health issues, a journey the NCCE started with support from the MacArthur Foundation in 2009 which led to the introduction of FLEHI as a General Studies (GSE 124) course in all NCE-Awarding Institutions in Nigeria.”
He said that since the introduction of the course, NCCE has trained teacher-educators on the best and effective ways of facilitating the course, notably, the concepts of Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW), Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Harmful Practices (HP) and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).
“These are all embedded in the 2020 reviewed FLEHI (GSE 124) Minimum Standard of NCCE meant for the training of pre-service teachers for the basic education level in Nigeria. The GSE 124 is a compulsory course for all students in all NCE-awarding institutions in Nigeria,” he explained.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the resource persons to strengthen the capacity of in-service educators on the delivery of the curricula covering EVAW/SGBV/HP/SRHR; build capacity of teachers for the coordination of ARH and HIV/AIDS related activities within their institutions and host communities, among others.
“At the end of the training programme, 100 in-service teachers that participated in the programme were trained on effective implementation of FLEHI/FLHE in their respective schools, and hopefully, NCE graduates would effectively implement FLHE and curricula covering EVAW/SGBV/HP/SRHR at the basic education level,” he said.