Expert calls for professional bodies to certify teachers
To improve the standard of education in the country and reposition the teaching profession for the greater task of educating the next generation of Nigerians, an education consultant and Managing Director of Michelle & Anthony Consulting, Femi Ajulo, has stressed the need to transform teaching by setting up professional bodies to certify teachers and boost their prestige.
To him, education in Nigeria has suffered as a result of lack of quality teachers. He observed that based on its low prestige and poor pay, students hardly show interest in becoming teachers.
Noting that 90 per cent of teachers in Nigeria, never really planned to be one, Ajulo said they either exhaust their search for jobs and later embraced teaching as last resort.
Ajulo said until Nigerians make education to be at par with other professional courses with chartered bodies administering them, many exceptional students will not venture into the profession.
He said for many, they will have the confidence to embrace teaching once they know that after certification, they can start teaching with a basic salary of N150, 000.
“How can government be the one controlling registration and also qualification of teachers? If there were bodies set up by professionals, there would be standard and many will aspire to be teachers. A boy that does not know anybody will fill form and be interested in being a teacher. He knows that by the time he finishes his first degree, he might still be earning N50, 000, but when he goes through professional examination, the minimum he will earn is N150, 000 or N200, 000, then he will take it as a profession. How can one body, Teachers Registrations Council of Nigeria (TRCN) certify teachers? Who appoints the people that do the certification? Is government the one appointing people at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) or Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA)? If government is appointing and regulating, based on what is happening in Nigeria now, can you not influence it? You can influence who you want to be the registrar. Have you seen people influencing who wants to be the registrar of Chartered Institute of Bankers?”
Ajulo also noted that through education tourism and technology transfer, particularly in the sector, Nigeria could regain its lost glory. To this end, he said his firm is cooperating with schools in Canada to explore how Nigerian schools can benefit from what they have.
One of such schools is Kanata Academy International, Ottawa which offers Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Part of these efforts include the introduction of Canadian curriculum to Nigeria to enrich learning.
Speaking on the benefit of incorporating the curriculum, the consultant observed that because it is not examination but assessment based, it makes students know what they are actually being taught.
“Because it is assessment based, if you’re given an assignment, you’re told to write and to address the class based on what you’ve read. And this will help a lot of youths, because instead of plagiarising or cramming, you’re coming in front of the class to present your work.
With the programme, students can learn in an environment that meets their learning style, allowing teachers to focus on teaching and connecting with their students, rather than worrying about classroom behaviour management.
Ajulo said international students could obtain the highly regarded Canadian Diploma from their home country without a student visa.
For every Nigerian student registered in Canadian schools, in the Ontario district, they are given domestic numbers, which they will use through the course of their study, helping them to scale many hurdles.
“If you have started in Nigeria by the time you want to apply to universities, you are going to apply through the domestic number, you’re not going to apply as an international student. Of course, they might not allow you to pay local fees because you have not moved physically there, but after three years, that can change.
“This, year, we already have domestic students and they will be counted as part of them. So, the first set of people that they offered placements is their own citizens, their own students, then the rest is thrown to international students. That’s why the portal for domestic students opens in December for universities and for international students around March or April.
“The fee is not high, I was able to crash down the fee, because as a domestic student in Canada, you have to pay money for registering the students, which other schools will do, but before they can even partner you, they would have checked if you have qualified teachers, you can understand the curriculum and facilitators are trained. It is not for all comers, it’s for schools that have the pedigree of doing courses where some of the Nigerian students go abroad to finish. Last year we had over 10,000 Nigerians that went to Canada to school.”
“That experience is what we are bringing now at a lower cost and also giving opportunity for people that want to start early. But if you have a school that is within the franchise, you probably might be paying a quarter of what is charged, which helps to save on foreign exchange and for you to know your child. If your child has been in boarding school, by the time he is doing the online programme, they will know the ability of the child to cope when he is abroad.