Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: FG Introduces Food, Drug Safety Education Into Basic School Programme

Pupils in all the nation's primary and junior secondary schools will now receive instructions on food and drug safety education as a way of equipping them with the knowledge on the use, misuse and abuse of products.

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), Prof. Godswill Obioma made this known while speaking in Lagos on the need to bring this new subject area into the Basic Education Curriculum (BEC).

The exercise is being carried out by NERDC, which is the nation's curriculum developer, in collaboration with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

According to Obioma, topics on food and drug safety education are to be infused into relevant subjects at the basic school level, including Basic Science and Technology, which encompasses Information Technology and Physical /Health Education; Pre-Vocational subjects under which we have Home Economics and Agriculture; Religion and National Values made up of Social Studies, Civic and Security Education.

Business and English studies are the other subjects that could conveniently carry food and drug safety elements, says Obioma, adding that the food and drug safety contents are to be infused into these carrier subjects beginning with Primaries 1 - 6 and JSS 1 - 3 and will subsequently be introduced into senior secondary school level.

His words: "The infusion exercise is important because it has to do with safeguarding public health and stimulating behavioural change on health issues especially among school children. It has been noted that lack of awareness of unsafe products is a major factor in health issues.

NAFDAC has the mandate of regulating and controlling the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale and use of food, drugs and other products. To achieve the objectives and mandate of NAFDAC, one of the effective tools to use is the curriculum".

With the planning and writing workshop for introdction of food and drug safety education already done last week jointly by NERDC and NAFDAC, the teaching of the new subject is expected to begin in primary and junior secondary schools nationwide by September, 2012 when the implementation of the newly revised BEC is slated to commence.

Specialists in the various relevant subjects who participated in the workshop studied available literature on food and drug safety, then they selected appropriate themes, topics and contents that would be infused into the basic curriculum through the identified carrier subjects, they identified the levels that each topic will fit into, and finally they developed the appropriate performance objectives, content, teacher and pupils' activities as well as teaching and learning resources and evaluation guide for each topic selected.

When the teaching of the food and drug safety commences, pupils are to learn topics such as identification, sources, implications of taking fake, counterfeit and substandard food and medicines to enhance the well-being of the citizenry and the economy of the nation. They will also be exposed to the roles of the consumers, distributors and manufacturers of food and drugs.

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