By Johnson Adebowale
As a way to bridge knowledge and skills gaps of young adults who are the next set of parents, a non-governmental organization, A Mother’s Love Initiative (AMLi), has called for the inclusion of parenting practices in the school curriculum, to be taught at tertiary levels of education.
AMLi’s chief executive officer, Mrs. Hanatu Enwemadu, made the call in a statement to commemorate this year’s Day of the African Child, with the theme “Eliminating harmful practices affecting children: Progress on policy and practice since 2013.”
Since June, 16, 1991, the Day of the African Child, first initiated by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), has been celebrated annually in honour of those who participated in the Soweto uprising in 1976 on that day.
Agitating for new school’s curriculum, Enwemadu emphasised that school systems must review, to accommodate the concept of play; reduce unhealthy competition, and promote social and positive psychological capitals from the early childhood to tertiary level of education.
Enwemadu, whose organisation has been advocating against the “Hurried Child Syndrome,” recommended that psychological assessment and diagnosis of stress in children should be a critical indicator in admission process into primary and secondary schools and must be implemented in both private and public educational institutions in Nigeria.
She said: “The Nigerian policy on education must be revised to ensure that punitive measures are meted out on individuals or schools that practice harmful practices, including hurrying activities in the school system for both the boy and girl-child.
“Government inspection officers in the area of quality assurance in education must visit schools to ensure that classroom management and school activities are designed to reduce stressors in the learning process.
“The Nigerian policy on education must ensure that the school system must make play-based learning at the early childhood levels and extracurricular activities at secondary levels is made mandatory to increase the quality of school life.”
Enwemadu, a lawyer, noted that the goal of eliminating harmful practices is a daunting task that requires the collective voice of all well-meaning Africans.
She emphasised the need to seek legal actions that would ensure that certain policies and practices are implemented while the advocacy is on-going, and urged government to establish post marital counselling clinics in each local governments area, while workplace policies must be further revised, to reduce parenting stress, encourage inclusive and balanced parenting among present-day and reduce the drive for employment of underaged children.
According to her, “the African child should be given dedicated and accessible platform or channels in each local and state government to facilitate sharing of information with experts when they are embattled with a challenge in the course of their development.”