Jide Ojo is a Nigeria based Public Affairs Analyst with over 700 published commentaries in about 25 Nigerian newspapers and has been a guest analyst on AIT, Channels TV, NTA, Arise TV, Peoples TV, BCOS, Galaxy TV, STV, Hot FM, Vision FM, Radio Nigeria,VON, Raypower, Faaji FM, WE FM, KISS FM, Love FM and OGBC 2 FM.
Jide, a trained BRIDGE Facilitator holds first and second degrees in Political Science from Universities of Lagos and Ibadan both in Nigeria and is currently a Development Consultant.
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Valuing Nigerian teachers, improving their status
to information gleaned from its website, the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed October 5 to be World
Teachers’ Day in 1994, celebrating the great step made for teachers on that
date in 1966, when a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in
Paris adopted the UNESCO/International Labour Organisation recommendation
concerning the Status of Teachers. The recommendation sets forth the rights and
responsibilities of teachers as well as international standards for their
initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching
and learning conditions. Since its adoption, the recommendation has been
considered an important set of guidelines to promote teachers’ status in the
interest of quality education.
year World Teachers’ Day marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the 1966
ILO/UNESCO recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. It is also the
first world Teachers’ Day (WTD) to be celebrated within the new Global
Education 2030 Agenda adopted by the world community one year ago. This year’s
theme, “Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status”, embodies the fundamental principles
of the fifty-year-old recommendation while shining a light on the need to
support teachers as reflected in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A specific education goal, SDG4, pledges to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality
education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
UNESCO rightly observed, are not only pivotal to the right to education, they
are key to achieving the targets set out in SDG4. The roadmap for the new
agenda, the Education 2030 Framework for Action, highlights the fact that
teachers are fundamental for equitable and quality education and, as such, must
be “adequately trained, recruited and remunerated, motivated and supported
within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems”. However, in
order to achieve this goal, it is necessary not only to substantially increase
the supply of qualified teachers but to motivate them by valuing their work. By
2030, 3.2 million more teachers will be required to achieve universal primary
education and 5.1 million more in order to achieve universal lower secondary
Wednesday, Nigeria was not left out of the global community that celebrated the
nation builders called teachers. There were seminars, press conferences and the
likes organised by the Nigerian Union of Teachers. The theme of this year’s
World Teachers Day was very apt. Do we actually value teachers in Nigeria? Have
we done anything to improve their status? How many pupils or children, while
choosing a career path, will want to grow up to be teachers in this country?
Truth be said, the plight of Nigerian teachers leaves a sour taste in the
mouth. Where does one begin to recount? By the way, my late father, Deacon
Isaac Oyeniyi Ojo was a thoroughbred teacher who taught in Oyo and Osun States
for forty years and retired as a headmaster in 1995 before his demise in 1998.
I have also taught, albeit on part time basis, at both secondary and tertiary
education level. Thus, whatever I am saying here is that of an eyewitness.
is no gainsaying that teaching is a noble profession as teachers rank next to
parents in moulding the character and charting the course of life of a child.
There is no professional alive, be you Engineer, Lawyer, Judge, Architect, Medical
Doctor, Visual Artist, Journalist or inventor that is not taught by a teacher.
Unfortunately, the banana tree that nursed the cocoa seedling to maturity ends
up being treated with scorn and disdain by its very beneficiary. Teaching
profession is in shambles in Nigeria.
in Nigeria, has become an all comer’s affairs with a lot of impostors operating
in the system. Since the advent of private schools, a lot of school proprietors
who are themselves not teachers end up populating their schools with
non-professionals who though may be graduate of tertiary education but were
never trained teachers.Even in public
schools, there are many of them whose main source of teaching staffers is drawn
from National Youth Service Corps. This crop of untrained teachers, many of
whom only took to the profession after years of fruitless search for better jobs,
lacks teaching techniques as they do not know how to write Notes of Lesson and
have never been involved in teaching practice which is mandatory for graduates
of education in Teachers College, Colleges of Education and Universities.
aside, there is also the challenge of dilapidated structures and lack of
teaching aids. A visit to many public and private schools in Nigeria will
reveal their deplorable conditions. Many of the schools have dilapidated
buildings, lack furniture for staff and students, do not have toilet
facilities, lack perimeter fence, still rely on blackboards and chalks when the
rest of the world uses whiteboard and markers as well as interactive multimedia
teaching aids. The school curriculum in many respects is archaic and not in
tune with modern day trend in imparting life skills, numeracy and literacy.
there is a nagging issue of welfare of teachers. They are poorly remunerated.
There is a saying in local parlance that ‘how much does a teacher earns that
s/he uses saliva to count his wages? Salaries of teachers is one of the lowest
in the public service in Nigeria, yet, that paltry sum is still not paid as at
when due. It is an open secret that many state governments and private school
proprietors owe their teachers months in salary arrears and leave bonus. Many
retired teachers are worse off as their pension and gratuities are not paid as
at when due. My father was a victim of this wicked practice. The old man died
three years after retirement without collecting a dime in pension and gratuity.
most heartrending development is the challenge of safety and security of
teachers and students at their workplace. For many years there have been
abductions of students and pupils from schools with the Chibok girls incidence
of April 2014 receiving global attention. However, last Thursday, October 6,
2016a new twist was added to the unfolding
tragic phenomenon as kidnappers invaded Lagos State Model College, Igbonla in
Epeand went away withfour students, a teacher and a vice
principal. The fiends are now demanding a ransom for their release.
as destiny moulders and nation-builders deserve a better deal from their
employers. They need to be valued and their status improved like the theme of
this year’s World Teachers Day enjoined. It is saddening that despite the early
warning from the President of Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mr. Micheal Olukoya
that the 500,000 teachers being recruited by President Muhammadu Buhari’s
government should be made up of trained teachers so that the quality of
teaching in our public schools can improve significantly, the administration is
pressing on to employ all manner of non-education graduates with a promise to
organise two weeks crash programme for the new recruits in teaching techniques.
This fire brigade approach should totally be avoided due to its
counter-productive consequences. Nigeria has more than enough trained teachers
from which government can source this half a million new recruits into teaching
closing, UNESCO has shown us the way to go by enjoining our government and
indeed all employers of teachers to ensure that teachers are “adequately
trained, recruited and remunerated, motivated and supported within
well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems”. This is the condition
precedent to attaining SDG4. It therefore behoves government at all levels to
redouble their efforts to ensure that education is well resourced for the
attainment of national development.
is the Executive Director of OJA Development Consult.