Since July 2016, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Nigeria has been developing its new Teachers Training programme. It is included within JRS's Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP), aimed to help children out of school, affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, to be integrated into the mainstream school system.
Boko Haram, one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world, has been waging an extremist Islamic attack on North-East Nigeria for over a decade --displacing over two million people according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Educational facilities have been, in fact, one of the main targets of the group, causing a severe school dropout in the country and curbing the Federal Ministry of Education's Strategic Plan (2018-2020) to wipe out illiteracy in Nigeria by 2025. In the northeast, where JRS supports victims of Boko Haram, since 2018, almost one million children are out of school. Sadly, over 547 teachers have been killed since the insurgency began, as revealed by the National Union of Teachers (NUT).
Due to this urgent need for education, JRS's Training Teacher Programme, focuses on improving literacy, numeracy and life skills for 17 head teachers participating in the ALP in five Local Government Areas (LGA) of Borno and Adamawa State.
Along with the training, teachers are introduced to literacy, numeracy, the concept of syllables, phonology and phonics, measurement and data-keeping, the impact of games in teaching, and social and emotional learning, among other subjects. Both trainee teachers at their schools receive training materials too, provided with the support of Jesuit Missions.
"This training and the proposed ALP Project will help my community recover from the damage of schools and lack of access to education," said Augustine Daku, the Head Teacher of Gulak primary school, Madagali LGA, Adamawa State. "The new methodologies that are offered in the training program will also help us improve how our students learn," he went on to say.
The two schools included in the Teachers Training program were both targeted by Boko Haram for promoting western education. "My community is among those affected by the insurgency, some of our students are traumatized and afraid to return to the classroom; some of them have been rendered homeless," a school headmaster from Azare community in Hawul LGA of Borno State, Musa Audu, said.
Another participant of the training and Head Teacher of Watu primary in Adamawa State, Elizabeth Wafa, said, "This training will provide learning opportunities for both teachers and students who have been affected by the closing of schools."