The British Council has offered to assist Nigeria in training the 500,000 teachers to be employed by the federal government. The Chief Executive of the Council, Claran Devane, announced yesterday this during a dinner organised in his honour in Abuja. He said the training would be centred on technical support and building the capacity of the teachers from their wealth of experience in education sector.
He noted that the Council was particularly interested in exploring every possible area of collaboration to assist her in matching the growing out of school population in the country. ‘‘I am leading a delegation to Nigeria from the British Council and UK parliament involving journalist as well and Vice Chancellors of a leading UK universities.
We are here in Nigeria to look at collaborations British Council has with Nigeria in culture sector, education sector, security and education. ‘‘We want to see what is going on and what we can learn from, which we can carry to other parts of the world. But going forward, we need to think of what is good for modern Nigeria in some ways. We need to think through how we can work through the education system which is growing rapidly and training the 500, 000 teachers the government plans to hire.
We will be doing more, making new things like Lagos Festival. ‘‘We have a lot of experience from other countries and we work with teachers who become trainers. But then, a lot can be done digitally like in Pakistan, where teachers learn from different cities. In Europe and America, we have programmes with supporting class rooms and training methodology will be another input. ‘‘With the number of young people joining the school system in Nigeria, whatever we can do to support the school system we will do,’’ said Devane.
He described Nigeria as one of the most important countries to the British Government, which cannot be ignored due to its potentials, saying that the bond between the two countries have grown stronger over the years. ‘‘For me, Nigeria is one of the most important countries in the world to the British Government, the bigger and fastest growing economy in Africa. Nigeria is going to be one of the powerful drivers of economy in the future.
For me the connection is getting stronger, the significance of Nigeria will only grow stronger as well.’’ On security, the British Council Chief Executive informed that the Council have a number of programmes on security, through which it is working with communities to develop mobile police and also have been working with government towards bringing stability to Nigeria through some other initiatives. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed said he had earlier solicited for UK’s assistance in training the 500,000 teachers with her rich technical skills experience in education. ‘‘We have earlier sought the corporation of the British Council on recruitment of 500,000 teachers, which has had experience on this in training teachers because one of the things the Council offers is capacity building in these areas,’’ he added. The Minister also explained that part their discussion is for the Council to assist Nigeria in capacity building for the creative industry and changing the negative narrative about Nigeria in UK and other European countries. His words: ‘‘This partnership is an ongoing partnership. I have had the opportunity of meeting with the Country Director of British Council and we both agreed to develop the local creative industry. ‘‘The Council did offer assistance in capacity building for the creative industry.
They are leveraging on the experience in the UK just like in Nigeria there are some countries that depend on coal to grow their economy around their culture.’’ On the plan to change the negative perception about Nigeria in UK, he said, ‘‘it is a good development that the British Council has offered to assist Nigeria in changing the negative narrative in UK and to put across government’s position in fighting insurgency. The narrative out there is not a good narrative . It will be a welcome development if they can do that.’’
The British Council was established in Nigeria in 1943 during the second world war and the idea was to share knowledge and culture of people from other parts of the world to make the world a better place through culture and educational exchange.