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‘Professionalism, resuscitation of NTEP, key to saving teaching’

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PHOTO: deltaanalyst.wordpress

PHOTO: deltaanalyst.wordpress

Immediate past vice chancellor of Niger State-owned Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Prof Ibrahim Kolo, says the planned employment of 500, 000 unemployed university graduates and holders of National Certificate in Education (NCE) as teachers, which has been received with mixed feelings by teacher educators and professionals, may be devoid of expected long-term impact on an already heavily battered teaching profession.

However, the resuscitation of the National Teacher Education Policy (NTEP), developed in 2008, he said, was germane and critical at this point in time as it would add bite to initiatives already put in place by Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN). In fact, he believes that the employment of these people must be guided by extant policy provisions.

Kolo, while giving his perspectives on the yet to commence programme in an article he entitled, “Leapfroging Teacher Professionalism: A Framework For Graduates Engagement As Teachers,” said, “Going down memory lane, it would be recalled that teaching began to suffer professional dilution in the late 1970s when in the bid to meet teacher manpower requirements for the 1976 Universal Primary Education (UBE) Scheme, the Federal Government embarked on an Emergency Teachers Colleges (ETC) Programme. Primary school “drop outs” and just any one desirable of a job were mopped up across the country to start the ETCs, which were designed to be some sort of one-year “crash” training to massively produce those to teach in the UPE schools, particularly in far rural locations in the country.

“Realizing the danger posed to quality elementary education by quality of products of the ETCs, government was to, in 1977 transform the ETCs into Pivotal Teachers Colleges (PTCs) for the purpose of further re-grooming those already turned out into the field of teaching, which had become an all-comers profession.

“Unfortunately, the establishment of Advanced Teachers Colleges (now colleges of education) has since proven to have been designed on the basis of an academic and pedagogical structure that has not been made dynamic enough for sustainable quality professional teacher education. The consequence of these teacher education and professional policy directions are today manifest in the poor quality of most graduates. Again, the consequence has been one of dominance of quacks in teaching. Not even the establishment of teacher professional development and regulatory bodies like the National Teachers Institute (NTI); the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE);the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN); or even the development of a National Policy for Teacher Education (NPTE) in 2008 by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) has really been able to address the deep-rooted and nagging challenges of Teacher Professionalism at all levels nationwide,” Kolo stated.

He added that, “From the above, the lessons for the proposed engagement of 500, 000 unemployed university graduates and holders of the NCE by the present government are instructive: Quick fixes are hardly the solution for sustainable quality teacher professionalism; A pragmatic and dynamic teacher education policy is critical to enthroning professionalism that is now so much required in Nigeria’s education sector; a practicable and equally proactive teacher professional regulatory framework to complement every effort aimed at addressing the challenges of teacher training, recruitment and practice; and above all, a complete overhaul of teacher education and training programmes as sine-qua-non to saving the teaching profession from iminent collapse. There is, therefore, a strong need for a well thought out policy framework for guiding the engagement of potential candidates.

“To enhance sustainability of excellence in Teacher Professionalism, it has become inevitable to overhaul the present curriculum of Teacher Education to conform to the current contents of Basic and Secondary Education. This was attempted after the development of the NPTE, but unfortunately vehemently resisted by Managers of the Colleges of Education for no apt reasons,” the former vice chancellor stated.

“There is the need to reconsider the proposed remuneration N45, 000.0 for those to be engaged in the Scheme for obvious reason of attracting the best candidates and minimising attrition from the field after training. The truth is that no graduate or even NCE holder will be willing to work with full commitment in Nigerian rural schools of today. Of course, remunerations for professional teachers in Nigeria needs upward review for the same reasons,” he added.


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