By Sarauniya g Usman Abuja
Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet),under the auspices of UNESCO Participation Programme,flags two national project towards realising national development.
This was made known during the three-day training well attended by about 100 participants from North-Central, North-East, North-West, South-East and South-South geo-political zones, staffof Federal Ministry of Education and NATCOM-UNESCO, Abuja.
Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet),under the auspices of UNESCO Participation Programme, organised the capacity training workshop for the Principals and School coordinators in view of achieving the Education 2030 Agenda. With the theme: “Strengthening the Capacity of Associated Schools Network (ASPNet) Schools Coordinators and Principals” on ESDand GCED: Whole-School Approaches in achieving Education 2030 Agenda.
The objectives of the workshop was to integrate Global Citizenship Education (GCE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into teaching and learning processes of ASPnet schools;
Also to experiment innovative approaches on GCE and ESD through ASPnet schools and strengthen the sharing of information, experiences and good practices among ASPnet schools.
Officials from the Federal Ministry of Education,NATCOM-UNESCO and UNESCO Regional Office were in attendance.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Architect Sonny Echono, was represented by the Director, Human Resource Management, Mr. Dauda Gende, urge them to restructure and strengthen the coordination of the ASPnet schools by establishing zonal nodes with a view to better prepare them to be a vehicle for the promotion of the values and ideals of UNESCO.
“We must esteem the activities of ASPnet in Nigeria. He therefore congratulate the Nigerian National Commission for the initiative to bring you together for this training to empower you for this task of nation building entrusted in our schools”.
On its own part, the Federal Ministry of Education demonstrated its support by approving ASPnet activities as most ESD and GCED are already enshrined in some subjects of our national curriculum. He charged the participants to embrace the two flagship projects on the Climate change (Green Issues) and Rule of Law (Student Council) which are both centred on ESD AND GCED to be implemented nationwide. This should be one of the concrete outcomes expected of this training.
ASPnet National Coordinator of the Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO said, the essence of the training was to strengthening the capacity of ASPnet School Coordinators & Principals on Wholestic Approaches on Education For Sustainable Development (ESD)/ Global Citizenship Education (GCED).
The Acting Director, Educational Planning, Research and Development, Mr.J.K. Fashina gave the Welcome Address.
The following papers were presented:. Overview of the workshop by Mr. S.L. Kayit, ASPNet National Coordinator.
Introduction and presentation of ASPNet guidelines by Mr. Shedrack Uloko,ASPNET Focal Person in Nigeria.
ASPNet in Nigeria by Mr. Samuel Kayit, OTA online tools for ASPNet (Practical Session) Crucial role of ESD in realising SDGs by Mrs. Anene-Maidoh, EducationConsultant, UNESCO Regional Office.
The discussions focused around how young people committing themselves as global citizens, can contribute to the creation of a sustainable planet.
Other Issues discussed is related to Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education, “Whole-School Approaches”, in achieving Education 2030 Agenda, to ensure that the future generations imbibe sustainable lifestyles and values which remain at the fore front and centre of the new development agenda.
He added that ASPnet is a good platform for translating UNESCO’s ideals into concrete action at the grass root level. In addition, they promote the Organisation’s visibility in their communities.
The Network is expected to be agent of positive change as well as promoters of the culture of peace and tolerance, respect for diversity, human rights, global citizenship education, and the elimination of discrimination in all forms, among others.
While appreciating them he said their deep commitment and sense of responsibility, he urged the participants to make good use of this rare opportunity and ensure
they derive maximum benefit from the presentation and the interaction among the participants.
Participants also worked in group parallel sessions to further discuss the varioussub-themes of the training and to come up with draft work plans.
In a COMMUNIQUÉ issued at the end of extensive deliberations, the participants observed that without education and learning, SDGs cannot be achieved;noted that the learner is the centre of change and it is necessary to teach to transform.
Noted that passion, interests and commitments are the key drivers of attainingthe goals and objectives of ASPNet; agreed that GCED is a cultural and behavioural transformational process thatmust be inculcated in learners over time;vi) noted the need to be informed at all times by constantly getting updates fromOnline Tools for ASPNet (OTA).
Participants recommended the following actions:The Coordinators are to: Leverage on UNESCO International Days, school club times and extra-curricular periods, to carry out ASPNet activities, other schools should also beinvited and involved in such activities to create more awareness.
It recommends Foster partnership and synergised efforts among schools and host communities to achieve the objectives of GCED; and to ensure learners be given responsibilities according to their abilities to carry out public enlightenment at different levels of governance; enlighten learners on sustainable entrepreneurial skills and develop talentsthrough activities like talent hunts, Future Farmers of Nigeria etc.
The communique recommended the review of papers presented during the workshop so as to draft out workplanstermly/annually to guide, and these should be made available to school headsat the beginning of each term; use ASPNet as agents of change through the exemplary lifestyles of the members/coordinators and their integrity; share of visions with others, during staff trainings/seminars;
To further create awareness through school club activities organised in line with the flagships projects – Green issues and Rule of law; and share opportunities that abound in ASPNet often so as to arouse peoples interests the more.
“The School Heads are to carry out high-level advocacy and sensitisation for ASPNet activities; mobilise collaborative efforts with media houses to expand visibility forASPNet activities”.
“Ensure adequate provision of internet facilities in schools to enhance global connectivity and share visions with others during the Principals’/Proprietors’ conferences to getothers to key into the vision; mobilise for external supports; Support coordinators morally, financial and physically through assigning ofmore teachers to assist the coordinators”.
support the capacity building of teachers/coordinators to meetings andconferences, and involve the State Ministries when need to maintain a network of communication to facilitate information sharing.
The Ministries of Education are to support ASPnet activities in the States; Encourage partnership with NGOs and stakeholders are to create UNESCO Desk Offices to facilitate UNESCO activities within theStates, like Kwara State has done; Equip UNESCO Desk Offices for proper and effective functioning.
It also encourage inter-ministerial actions and partnerships in addressing the SDGs; Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO is to Leverage on the platform of Principals’ of Federal Unity Colleges meetings toshare the vision of ASPNet; Write to FCT Secondary Education Board (SEB), intimating them of UNESCOactivities that are usually carried out in schools; Copies of letters written to SEB be shared with other ASPNet Coordinators;
Pay an official visit to Government Model Secondary School Jikwoyi, toacknowledge the cooperation of the school for ASPNet activities.
Ensure effective communication with ASPNet Schools across the States; Assign officers to ASPNet Coordinator to assist in monitoring activities in the States/Zones ASPNet.