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Nigeria seeks Britain’s support on training of 500,000 teachers

Lai Mohammed

Nigeria has requested the support of the United Kingdom in the training of 500,000 teachers to be employed by the Federal Government. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this in Abuja at a reception in honour of the Chief Executive, British Council, Sir. Ciaran Devane, said the training would be centred on technical support and building the capacity of teachers from the U.K.’s wealth of experience in the education sector.

The minister also explained that part of their discussion was for the council to assist Nigeria in capacity building for the creative industry and changing the negative narratives about Nigeria in U.K. and other European countries.

Mohammed said, ‘‘We have earlier sought the cooperation of the British Council on recruitment of 500,000 teachers which has had experience on this in training teachers because one of the things the council offers is capacity building in these areas.

“This partnership is an ongoing one. I have had the opportunity of meeting with the country director of the British Council about two months ago and at that meeting, we both agreed on the necessity to grow the local creative industry and the council did offer its hand in capacity building for the sector.

“We had the opportunity to put across government’s position on fighting insurgency and the fact that the narrative out there is not the right narrative. So, we think it would be a welcome development if they can also help us to change the narrative”.

Mohammad explained that Nigeria has completely ‘decimated’ the Boko Haram insurgents in the country, noting, “We have completely decimated the insurgents, it does not mean that is the end of suicide bombing or the end of violence, there would be a spike in violence, because now that they can no longer fight as an infantry army, this is the time that can come into communities and detonate three or four more bombs at a time, butt this is the nature of insurgency.

“The most important thing is that the government is now mopping up and also increasing it’s intelligence gathering. We are more vigilant and are now rebuilding and resettling communities. In no distant time, you will no longer hear of the suicide bombings.”

Devane said the British Council was particularly interested in exploring every possible area of collaboration to assist Nigerians going out of school population in the country.

I am leading a delegation to Nigeria from the British Council and UK parliament involving journalist as well and Vice Chancellors of a leading UK universities. We are here in Nigeria to look at collaborations British Council has with Nigeria in culture sector, education sector, security and education .

We want to see what is going on and what we can learn from you which we can carry to other parts of the world. But going forward, we need to think of what is good for modern Nigeria in some ways. We need to think through how we can work through the education system, which is growing rapidly, and training the 500, 000 teachers the government plans to hire. We will be doing more, making new things like Lagos Festival.

We have a lot of experience from other countries and we work with teachers who become trainers. But then, a lot can be done digitally like in Pakistan, where teachers learn from different cities. In Europe and America, we have programmes with supporting classrooms and training methodology will be another input. ‘‘With the number of young people joining the school system in Nigeria, whatever we can do to support the school system we will do’.

He described Nigeria as one of the most important countries to the British Government, which cannot be ignored due to its potentials, saying that the bond between the two countries have grown stronger over the years.

For me, Nigeria is one of the most important countries in the world to the British Government, the bigger and fastest growing economy in Africa. Nigeria is going to be one of the powerful drivers of economy in the future. For me the connection is getting stronger, the significance of Nigeria will only grow stronger as well.’’

On security, the British Council’s Chief Executive informed that the council has a number of programmes on security, through which it is working with communities to develop mobile police and has also been working with government towards bringing stability to Nigeria through other initiatives.

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