By Akeem Babatunde
Teaching, contrary to some jaundiced view, is a complex activity. Teaching to impart requires a lot of expertise. Products of poor teachings are the bane of our society. Effective teaching guarantees quality education. In order to ensure the latter, the responsibility lies in the teachers. It is very unfortunate that, in this part of the world, teaching has become a profession for every Tom, Dick and Harry. It is a profession for the frustrated, unemployed and unemployable.
All hope is not lost. Kaduna pedagogic crisis is a shocking revelation and a case study of the terrible deterioration of the educations system. It is Kaduna today. No state is free from academic deterioration. The governments, private schools owners and the teachers regulatory bodies have a great deal to do to sanitise our education sector.
I would like to suggest some of the ways through which the teaching profession could be upgraded.
First, certification must be emphasised. It has been said unnumbered that teaching is the only profession that assimilates uncertified people into its system. I know of no lawyer, engineer, doctor and/or account who practise their profession without the necessary requirements the profession demands. What’s wrong with teaching, for God’s sake? Teaching is a stepping stone for job seekers,pending the time they are “gainfully” employed. This is one of the reasons Kaduna teachers abysmally failed their competency test. Majority of them have no business in teaching field.
Clarification on Certification
Sometime ago, there was a mad rush to the office of the Nigeria Teachers Registration Council in order to beat the deadline of the regulatory body that any teacher without certification would be sent out of the system. To me, the process of that certification is obviously faulty. The body’s requirements for certification are any of B.ed, NCE or PGDE. Certification without examination. For the fact that someone possesses education background does not guarantee the person’s ability to effectively provide pedagogic services. There is a need for the person to face a rigorous test in their area of specialisation before they are certified as qualified teachers. For those who aspire to teach in a sane academic environment, especially outside this country, one of the requirements is Teachers Knowledge Test( TKT) certification issued by Cambridge. In Nigeria, there are teaching vacancies for engineers. Until the appropriate authorities do the necessary things, teaching profession will continue to worsen.
Next, a periodic internal quality assurance exercise is another vital tool needed to upgrade teaching profession. Evey state’s education ministry has a department that embarks on a regular supervisory visitations to schools inorder to ensure quality education. Lagos State government, for instance, is commended for this exercise. But, it should be noted that the assessment reports of this department may be inadequate to judge the competence of the teachers. Besides, some, after the assessment, relapse to lethargy. So, it is incumbent on the school authority to conduct, at least termly, an internal quality assurance exercise. The exercise will sustain the efficiency of the teachers and the effectiveness of their service delivery. Leaving teachers unsupervised can render them moribund.
Lastly, the teachers themselves have roles to play. Certification is no mastery. Mastery is no performance. The mastery of a subject is liken to competence. And competence is not sufficient enough to function effectively as a teacher. Performance is also an indispensable requirement that the profession needs. It is expected of every teacher to possess the aptitude to perform. Performance skills is got through self development, training and collaboration with other teachers. No one is an Island of knowledge. As teachers, we can’t do without reading. Self upgrading is very essential.
Akeem Babatunde teaches at Kith and Kin Nursery and Primary School.
By Akeem Babatunde