DEVELOPMENT OF PROFESSIONAL SKILLS IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION TEACHERS IN SOUTH-EAST, NIGERIA.
The study developed professional skills improvement programme for early childhood education teachers in South-East, Nigeria. Five research questions and three hypotheses guided the study. The design of the study was Research and Development (R&D) design. The population for the study was made up of 4,992 which comprised of three categories of respondents. These respondents are 63 lecturers in ECE from government owned Universities and Colleges of Education, 4,914 head teachers from government owned ECE schools and 15 SUBEB staff, 3 staff from each state in the South-East, Nigeria. The sample size for this study was 447, 63 Lecturers in ECE from government owned Universities and Colleges of Education, 15 SUBEB staff, three from each state in the South-East.Yamane’s formula was used to determine the sample size for ECE head teachers. Using the proportionate stratified random sampling technique 369 head teachers were usedfrom the five states in South-East, Nigeria. A 95 item questionnaire developed by the researcher and titled Development of Professional Skills Improvement Programme Questionnaire (DPSIPQ) structured on a four-point rating scale was used as the instrument for data collection. 95 items reflecting the objectives, contents, methods, materials and evaluation techniques for professional skills improvement programme questionnaire were generated. Three experts from University of Nigeria, Nsukka validated the instrument. The reliability of the instrument was trial tested in Delta State using 18 respondents. The data collected were analyzed using Cronbach Alpha Reliability Coefficient. On cluster basis, 0.86 was obtained for cluster 1, 0.80 was obtained for cluster 2, 0.89 was obtained for cluster 3, 0.91 was obtained for cluster 4 and 0.85 was obtained for cluster 5. An overall coefficient of 0.84 was obtained for the entire instrument. The data for the study were collected by the researcher with the help of five research assistants. Out of the 447 copies of the questionnaire administered on prthe respondents, a total of 427 copies (15 SUBEB staff, 63 lecturers and 349 head teachers) representing 95% return rate were analyzed. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions. A mean cut off of 2.50 and above was used to consider the opinion of the respondents on the appropriate items for inclusion in the programme. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used in testing the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The following were the major results of the study. 15 objectives, 14 contents, 34 methods, 11 materials and 11evaluation techniques were accepted for professional skills improvement programme for ECE teachers in South-East, Nigeria. The findings revealed that there was nosignificant difference (P>0.05) in the mean ratings of ECE head teachers, SUBEB Staff, and Lecturers on the objectives of professional skills improvement programme for ECE teachers but the difference is not statistically significant. There was a significant difference (P<0.05) in the mean ratings of ECE head teachers, SUBEB Staff, and Lecturers on the appropriate content for professional skills improvement programme for ECE teachers. There was significant difference (P<0.05) in the mean ratings of ECE head teachers, SUBEB Staff, and Lecturers on the evaluation techniques for professional skills improvement programme for ECE teachers. Based on the findings, it was recommended, among others, that the developed packaged should be used for training and retraining programme for early childhood education teachers by school administrations, government agencies and UNICEF for the purpose of effective teaching delivery in early childhood schools in South-East, Nigeria.