The Role Of Teachers In Nation Building.

Filed under: Democracy & Governance,Letters |

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Some people believe that certain individuals go into teaching simply because they cannot find good paying jobs and as such, does not have much to impact on the student they take on. Wether or not this is true, is not my immediate cause of worry. My cause of worry is the neglect to the important role that teachers can play in the development of Nigeria and the infringing factor to this role.

As a matter of fact, if there’s anything that Nigeria shares in common with the United States, to the best of my experience as a research student, is the problem of having people coming into the workforce in the teaching career without the PASSION. As well as those who has the PASSION not being well encouraged and well remunerated. It seems that the problem everytime, especially in the Nigerian system, teachers are always a football for politicians.

I remember when i was in elementry school in Nigeria some years ago, i had to stay at home for several months or rather the whole term because our teachers were on strike, and you keep wondering why is it that whenever the politicians wants to cut down or withhold pays, it’s always the teachers that they pick on. Well what that does, policy wise, and the implication it has for us, in terms of our educational system is, teachers are no longer respected, and people don’t have the passion anymore to go into the teaching profession because there’s no incentives. Even those who has the passion becomes weary of the agonizing situation and begins to think of a way out if providence and opportunity presents itself.

One thing that we did in our educational system that i think and had kept thinking about it every now and then, that has a very serious implication to us on the negative side is, when we eliminated the Teachers Training Colleges. Because primary education which is what we consider ‘kindergathen’ for elementry six or primary six, a teacher maintains one classroom, the teachers in the primary education are not subject-based teachers, they run classrooms. And they lay the foundations so they are supposed to be all rounded. People who can teach English at that level, teach Mathematics and a host of other subjects. We got rid of teachers training education, replaced them with NCE, that were supposed to be preparing people who are specialized in specific subjects to teach at high schools and secondary school levels where their focus is on individual subjects. Now you have somebody who for instance, went to a college of education, got NCE in lets say Igbo language or Yoruba language or History, and then you introduce that person in an elementary school environment, and he has no background and preparation on how to handle that level of students, and then he or she is also struggling with  certain subjects such as Mathematics or English language, the implication is that you have students who do not have the right foundation moving into secondary school and by the time they finish that form of school level, they are very deficient in these subjects so they are not even well prepared to pursue higher training, they are not even well prepared even if they want to go into technical training because they don’t have the requisite skills to pursue technical training.

That’s one of the things in implimenting our 6-3-3-4 system where we got it wrong and i keep saying it, i have to reiterate that very point again, the problem is not the system and how it is conceptualized, it’s the process and the policies that were created around it in terms of implementation and also the social component of it with regards to how we treat our own, our teachers. If we really want to think about national development and we recognize that education is the key to sustainable national development, then we also have to recognize that teachers are an important component of that very process, and the possibility of the realization of that goal.

Comments

comments

  • The failure of holistic development of the nation by our leaders is the remote cause of recruiting vagabons and people with litle or no interest into the teaching profession. Are they been that there are jobs else where everybody would have known where he/she belongs.What do you expect when other area of our national lives are toothless bull dog?. But i’m optimistic that if God can use Nehemiah, Moses, Joshua, Elijah and even Jesus, to put smiles on peoples face the situation in Nigeria is a matter of time even if we are yet to see leader of these type.

  • neelam

    very nice and confined article. its big problem in all developing contries where teaching profession has lost its old glory and struggling a lot to regain its dignity in society