The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) has begun the training of 4,560 teachers across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory on character education.
Rev. George Ogurie, Sub-Regional Director, Universal Peace Federation West Africa, said this on the sidelines of a 3-day workshop on character education for head teachers and teachers of pilot schools in Abuja on Friday.
According to him, the training will offer the teachers competence in character education content to bring about transformation which, according to him the Nigerian society desperately needs.
“To be able to send out messages on a very regular basis, you need these numbers of teachers nationwide. In each state, we are planning to train at least 120 teachers as character education teachers.
“So that they will be available as resource persons in schools at all levels, and also within the communities, to propagate the message of character education.
“We are still in the pilot state; we want to have the programme well-grounded in the FCT. After all, we will begin to be hosting the programme in the other six geo-political zones.
“Before then, we’ll hold more sensitisation workshops with stakeholders in the states because when stakeholders begin to understand the value of character education, they will take ownership of the programme,” he said.
Speaking on character education concerning patriotism, the National Secretary of the foundation, Mr George Ikpot, said good character is a requisite quality of patriotism.
“You cannot be a patriot if you are not a person of good character. You cannot, because a patriot is somebody who is ready to deny him or herself for the sake of the nation.
“Now when you say the nation, we are not talking about the structure; a nation simply means people living in a place or location in the name of a country.
“You have to be somebody with a certain mindset that has to do with, first of all, thinking of the whole purpose, and thinking about everyone else before yourself.
“This is the reason we say character education is the foundation of the love of the nation.
“We are introducing this training to train young men and women who are ready to give themselves for what is righteous,” he said.
Ikpot added that UPF had established a 2-year partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education on a character education project, aiming to make character education part of the school curriculum.
For her part, Dr Bilkisu Adedoyin, a teacher, emphasised the importance of the project. adding that there was a need for citizens to change their character and attitudes towards the development of the country.
“Based on the plan put in place, based on the framework put in place, we can confidently say that we have done 70 per cent.
“We cannot say 90 per cent because we are still at the pilot stage.
“The various needed tools have been put in place for necessary achievements but the cooperation from the national to local level is what gives us a successful outcome.
“We at the local level need to play our part. We need to be sincere with ourselves. We are to protect our country at every stage,” she said.
Mr Abubakar Dan-tsoho, a staff member of UPF, said the target for schools was necessary as it was easier to groom children than adults.
“Even if we need to reach out to adults, we still need the children in the pilot stage to acquaint their teacher with reaching out to the children,” he said.