By Felix Khanoba
The Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) says it would not relent in its efforts to rid the nation’s classrooms of unqualified teachers.
Registrar of TRCN, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said having qualified teachers in all schools across the country, holds the key to Nigeria’s development.
He made this known at a one-day Capacity Training Workshop for Education Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ECAN), sponsored by TRCN.
The workshop has the theme “Professionalism of Teaching and Teacher Education in Nigeria.”
The TRCN boss said teachers are critical to the human and capital development of every nation and as such their qualification and standard process must be accorded the highest form of scrutiny.
He, however, said the introduction of teacher qualifying examination and the mandatory licencing of teachers before they can practice have exposed the quacks in the sector.
Ajiboye averred that Nigeria can only develop and improve if it increases the quality of its teachers as well as the methods of teaching and learning in schools.
”A situation where anyone whether qualified and unqualified is free to stand in front of a classroom to teach is sheer anarchy and Nigeria is already paying a big price for that neglect of the sector, ” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Abimbola Okunola, Assistant Director in the council, said that the teaching profession has been rated more critical than any other profession in the world, hence the need to attract the best brains for the practice of teaching in the country.
“In the honourable court of France, only teachers are allowed to sit on the chair. In Japan, the police force has to take special permission from the government to arrest a teacher for any reason.
“In Korea, only teachers enjoy the privilege of a minister and in Germany, teachers are among the highest paid civil servants.
“In the beginning, teaching was so glorious and so noble that in every community teachers were considered next to kings in importance and development of the society,” he said.
He added that the unprecedented rise in societal demand for education, institutionalization of materialism; emergence of greener pastures among others had forced teachers into a relegated position in the country.
He, therefore, emphasized the need for professionalism as the secret behind the success or collapse of any vocation, hence the need to critically take professionalism seriously in the teaching profession.
On his part, Dr Magaji Waziri, Assistant Director, Department of Planning, Research and Statistics in TRCN, said that the country has been flooded with unqualified manpower which had lowered the quality of teachers in the system.
Waziri maintained that there was therefore the need to set standards at all levels while ensuring quality teaching and learning through monitoring and supervision of teacher education programmes.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Chuks Ukwuatu, Chairman of ECAN, called on journalists to ensure adequate reportage of education stories to foster development in other sectors.
Ukwuatu commended TRCN for its role in ensuring excellence in the education professionalism of teachers as well as maintenance of teachers’ quality.
He also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to renew the appointment of TRCN boss to ensure continuity in transforming the nation’s teaching profession.