Former Minister of Education, Prof Rukayyat Rufai has said that Nigeria’s recruitment of teachers is very faulty adding that this the genesis of poor quality teachers.
Rufai gave this revelation as part of her recommendations towards ensuring quality education in Nigeria while delivering a lecture titled “Teacher Preparation for Nigerian Schools: Adequacy, Effectiveness and Impact” at the Lagos State University Faculty of Education, annual distinguished lecture series held at the Aderemi Makanjuola lecture theater in Ojo, Lagos on Tuesday.
According to the former Minister, recruitment of teachers should start with assessed recommendations of schools, based on their requirement adding that the potential teacher must be interviewed by officials.
She also recommended Incentives such as Special Salary Scales for teachers as well as provisions of housing and care facilities and retraining experienced teachers.
“Teachers are absolutely critical to the development of the nation. We need teachers in good numbers and with the right quality”
“Article 18 of the Constitution states: “Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities for all.”
She said with this, the Government in Nigeria has recognized the importance of education stating that whatever is done with education has to be relevant outside the school system.
“If the education we are giving is not relevant, then we need to change the curriculum. Ensure and sustain unfettered access and equity to education”
Rufai also urged the government to provide functional education for skill acquisition, job creation, and poverty reduction and ensure periodic review of the curriculum.
“Teachers are central to the education process, they are responsible for communicating the curriculum and they are recognized as change agents and the curriculum is at the base of education because it is the body required to be covered in the education process”, she said
The distinguished lecturer also noted that implementation of teacher education is key to meeting national education objectives
According to her, in reviewing the National Certificate Education curriculum, attention has been paid to the requirement of the Basic and Secondary Education Sector.
Key requirements for Teachers Preparation according to the former education minister include National Certificate in Education (NCE), Bachelors Degree with specialization in Education and Post-Graduate Diploma in Education .
“Preparation of teachers is to help teachers teach. We need them to have the required skills and motivation.
We need qualified teachers to teach. If you are a teacher and you don’t have the required certificates, I urge you to go and acquire the necessary skills. Teaching is not as easy as it seems. There are skills that must be possessed.
Lagos, is doing well when you consider the qualified teachers compared to the unqualified teachers”, she said.
She also recommended that teachers salaries are not attractive and it is a basic factor in Education stressing “Teachers must be well paid. Their takes homes must take them home”.
We must flush out all unqualified teachers. They must be qualified before coming back to teach our students. Unqualified teachers is not acceptable.
Rufai said the three months teaching practice is too short, and must be extended to one year teaching practice.
“Apart from the one year, all through the university we must make use of micro teaching so that when they graduate, they can be ready”
Other recommendations by the Professor of Curriculum Studies at the Bayero University, Kano include : There must be political will, strengthening National Systems: Teacher Development Needs Assessment (TDNA)
Also addressing the challenge of unqualified teachers, determine those that can be integrated into the system, provide necessary training for them, organize training in line with the identified capacities of participants, those unable to should be assigned to other responsibilities or transferred to other sectors.
Also to reassess approach to Teacher Education, Institute Special Scholarship Programmes for Teachers
“The problem of teaching in Nigeria is that people take teaching as a last resort, not a first option. Providing scholarship will motivate some to be interested in teaching primarily”, she said.
Rufai suggested that there should be higher cut-off marks for Teacher Education courses, there should be physical interviews.
“All these is because this group of students will one day hold the key to preparing a great part of the population for the future..Ensure access to diverse resources to enhance quality teaching” she said.