…extracted from NYSC members

…FG infuses voter education into the elementary school curriculum

The Independent National Electoral Commission will deploy 707,384 presidents for the general elections scheduled to start on February 25.

The commission also said that since voter education was important, it needed to be infused into the national values ​​curriculum of Nigerian primary schools.

This was stated by the INEC National Commissioner and President of its Voter Information and Education Committee, Festus Okoye, during the public presentation of the Electoral Education Curriculum and Teaching Guide for primary schools.

The curriculum that was developed by the Consortium for Elections and Strengthening of Political Processes – The Sustaining Electoral Engagement for Democracy project funded by USAID and FCDO and implemented by the National Democratic Institute and IFES, was carried out in collaboration with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, INEC (through the Department of Electoral Education), the National Guidance Agency, the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All and academia across the country.

Okoye said: “We believe voter education is important to our nation’s goals. Voter education is a specialized area and that is why we have this curriculum infused with the National Values ​​Curriculum in our elementary schools.

“For example, for the 2023 general election in Nigeria, the commission will field a total of 707,384 chairmen and assistant chairpersons.

“These presidents will come from a crop of young men and women who are part of their National Youth Service Corps, while the co-chairs will come from students at federal community colleges.

“Therefore, it is important that we understand the importance of voter education in the development of our democracy.

“A national civics education curriculum and teacher guide with a specific focus on voter education will prepare our children for the challenges ahead and also prepare them about respecting other people’s races and also prepare them to take on leadership in the future.

IFES President Anthony Banbury said his contribution to the project was to strengthen Nigeria’s electoral process through the effective teaching and learning of civic education in primary schools.

“To engage them young, the revised curriculum is a distinctive innovation that will introduce children and youth very early to the concept, processes, ethics, and values ​​of democratic systems and governance.

“It will be fundamental for the orientation of young people to initiate a change of the existing norms. In the long term, civic participation and awareness of democratic systems and values ​​will increase as today’s children become tomorrow’s adults and voters,” Banbury said.

NERDC Executive Secretary Prof. Ismail Junaidu said the aim was to strengthen the nation’s fabric of democracy for sustainable growth and development.

According to him, since the return of democracy in 1999, citizen participation in elections and the electoral process has continued to be a matter of concern.

He also said that a known reason for this was a lack of proper electoral knowledge.

“Therefore, the promotion of a democratic electoral culture and the development of civic skills are necessary for responsible and informed participation in the elections and in the electoral process,” said Junaidu.

He said the above informed the initiative of the NERDC in collaboration with IFES to develop the voter education curriculum for primary schools in Nigeria.

According to him, the curriculum, in general, is developed to expose young students to the rudiments of democracy and instill in them the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for active citizen participation in the democratic process.

“Specifically, the curriculum is designed to achieve five key objectives, which are: to equip students with a basic understanding of the concept of democracy, the role of elections in democracy, and good governance.

He said that the choice of primary school students was based on the fundamental principle of using education as a socialization tool for young people to assume adult roles for the good of society.

“Therefore, teaching voter education at this level will ensure that by the time children reach voting age, they will already have understood the fundamentals of active participation in the political and electoral process,” Junaidu said.

While praising NERDC’s management of the initiative, Education Minister Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by his senior technical assistant, Dr. Claris Ujam, said the curriculum had become a dynamic process for sustainable national development.

He said: “Whenever there are changes or developments around the world, school curricula are affected.

“Therefore, the inclusion of electoral education concepts and contents in Civic Education is in line with the impulse of the Ministry of Education for Change: a Ministerial Strategic Plan.

“This is to enable the acquisition of citizen values ​​and skills through quality education. Voter education curricula are a notable step in creating positive change in the electoral landscape and political development.”