Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, the Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) says a good training for teachers will help rebuild the country’s educational system.
Ajiboye said this at the Teachers Day Symposium to commemorate the 2017 World Teachers Day in Abuja on Wednesday.
The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Teaching in Freedom: Empowering Teachers for the 21st Century Challenges’’.
He said that a survey conducted in 2010 revealed that there were 207,818 unqualified teachers in the primary schools.
“The North-East zone had the highest figure of 57.7 per cent. Undoubtedly, the situation degenerated with the invasion of the insurgents.
“The North-West had 46.8 per cent; North-Central 38 per cent; South-South 19.2 per cent; South-East 16.7 per cent and South-West 6.7 per cent.
“An experiment in some states in 2014 also revealed that 1,300 out of 1,599 state teachers failed arithmetic and basic literacy tests by scoring below 25 per cent.’’
Ajiboye said that 259 teachers in another state among who were university graduates flunked a test meant for primary four pupils in 2008.
He said all these were adding to the problems of ascertaining the quality of teachers in Nigeria.
“The quality and quantity of teachers demand a strong policy response.
“Rebuilding the system should take into account how the once cherished vocation, the mother of all professions should attract the best brains and retain them.
“Professional training is critical just as mastery of subject matter, teachers’ welfare and an environment that promote learning.
Ajiboye, therefore, called on the Federal Government to create a more conducive environment to enable teachers practice their profession.
He said that many countries had not come to terms with the crucial strategic role that teachers play in the society.
He also called for adequate motivation for teachers as well as a well paid salary as most states owed their teachers between six to nine months salaries.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr Sunday Echono, observed that teachers worked hard to bring out the best in their students.
Echono likened the job of teachers to that of a good gardener who sowed the seeds of moral ethics in the students so that they could become good citizens.
“There is no doubt that the present status of teachers is deplorable and needed to be addressed.
“However, under the ministry’s strategic plan, priority shall be given not only to the content of curriculum and instruction.
“But also to practices and procedures that create safe and supportive teaching and learning environment to motivate teachers to deliver effectively.’’
He added that the ministry would train teachers and provide them with necessary tools to bridge the digital drive in a rapidly changing world driven by innovations, ICTs and globalisation.
Earlier, the Director, Education Support Services Department of the ministry, Mrs Justina Ibe noted that teachers were indispensable in the human capital development efforts of any nation.
According to her, only a teacher understands and can relate with students inside of a classroom. Teachers are the ones charged with the responsibility of transmitting organised learning experiences to learners.
“Regrettably, this group of professionals are always challenged with balancing the needs of the school, community and government with their personal goals and needs.
“ Teachers are often amongst the least motivated on their job and recognised in the society.
“The challenges they face have been heightened in this 21st century that is knowledge and technologically driven.
“ There have been adjustments in the way we communicate, relater, learn and teach and these demand that Nigerian teachers should continuously make necessary adjustment in order for them to be relevant.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Teachers’ Day has been celebrated worldwide annually on Oct. 5 since 1994.
It was initiated by UNESCO as a proclamation to celebrate the great step made for teachers on Oct. 5, 1966 at a special intergovernmental conference in Paris, France. (NAN