The National Youth Service Corps, which was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria, is a national scheme that requires that graduates below the age of thirty (30) who are holders of Higher National Diploma (HND) and Bachelor’s degrees should be deployed to states other than their states of origin to undertake a one-year compulsory community service.
While the certificate obtainable after the service qualifies the graduates to seek employment in the public or private sectors, the scheme is aimed at creating a better understanding and appreciation of religious and ethnic differences among the youth, and to unify the country.
But over the years, the NYSC scheme has been abused regrettably by the major stakeholders. Every year, about seventy-five percent (75) of corps members are posted to public and private schools. These graduates constitute a larger percentage of the teaching staff of most schools. It is unfortunate that most of them did not read education courses in the tertiary institution. They end up in classrooms without adequate pedagogical skills to impart knowledge.
In one of my essays titled Irúwá Ògìrì Wá I did not only condemn the rots in the teaching profession, I also likened it to a profession that is shorn of nobility because it is for every Tom, Dick and Harry.
Without any due process and prerequisite pedagogical skills, jobless engineers, incompetent lawyers, rusticated bank staff are recruited and conscripted to teach in our schools, especially substandard private schools. There seem to be no serious measures in place to curb this abnormality.
Posting graduates without education degree to teach, even prepare terminal classes for examination, has been a celebrated professional flaw for years. While graduates with education degree cannot be posted to hospitals, it is professionally ridiculous to accept engineers and lawyers into the school system.
The regulatory body for the teaching profession in Nigeria, the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), has made repeated calls on the National Youth Service Corps to, as a matter of urgency, stop posting corp members who did not study education to schools.
According to TRCN, it is a perversion of standard practice, and it has a negative impact on the nation’s standard of education. Several times, these calls have fallen on deaf ears. Corps members without teaching qualification are still being posted to schools where they teach with little or no supervisions.
The Registrar and Chief Executive, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof. Segun Ajiboye, has taken a bold step by sounding a note of warning to the National Youth Service Corps Director General to stop posting non-education graduates to schools.
I sincerely commend the step taken by Ajiboye to address this issue. It is equally important that school owners be written and warned to desist from accepting graduates without education degree into the school system.
The regulatory body must not fail to sanction fraudulent school owners who prefer corps members because of the monetary benefits accruing to them.