A Professor of Early Childhood Care and Education, Professor Esther A. Oduolowu has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to be proactive in making Early Childhood Education services available for children from birth to four years and increase the budgetary allocation.
Professor Oduolowu made the call in the 511th inaugural lecture at the University of Ibadan which she delivered on behalf of the Faculty of Education.
She noted that even though there is free and compulsory Early Childhood Education programme in Nigeria, it is only for the five year old.
According to the educationist, brains develop most rapidly from conception to age two and a half years and nurturing care is essential for children before the age of five years.
This period, she said is critical for not only intellectual abilities but also social skills development.
Professor Oduolowu lamented that Nigeria has the highest number of children with stunted growth and school drop-outs adding that the various policies that UNICEF helped the country to develop have not been implemented.
She stated that high quality Early Childhood Education supports the social and emotional well-being of the youngest members of our society and as such, Government should set up a Commission for Early Childhood Education because this level of education has the highest number of learners compared with other levels of education.