By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government has thrown its weight behind a reality Television Show – ‘Teachers Naija’, aimed at promoting professionalism and welfare in the nation’s teaching profession.
Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, endorsed the programme during a courtesy visit to his office by the organisers of the TV Show on Tuesday in Abuja.
Nwajiuba expressed delight that the Reality TV show, which first debuted in 2019, would add value to the teaching profession as well as ensure teachers get the desired respect in the society.
His words : “I am not too sure if I am happier than you or you are happier than me (on Teacher Naija TV Show). I like the idea that teachers can be represented in such a way that people begin to value them. It hurts anytime I come across a piece that indicates that teachers are not valued; you will see a ‘To Let’ sign, it will say ‘To Let’ but not to teachers, you don’t know whether to cry or how you will feel. It has hurt me for many years.
“To get an opportunity to put them on a pedestal to cause an appreciation is something we will deeply continue to support. I am very happy to be at the education ministry to meet those who are very committed to teachers welfare and professionalism….
“If this programme continues to uplift their image it therefore makes an opportunity for better persons and better teaching and better teaching profession, definitely in any way I can, however way you want us to participate, I will try to do that and work alongside with you.”
Earlier, Ubaka Enuagwuna, Convener of Teachers Reality TV Show, said the Reality TV Show is geared towards bringing out the best in teachers and creating a paradigm shift in the way they are perceived in the country.
He said : “The show is about teachers, we look at what has been happening within the profession over the years. In the 70s and 80s teachers were revered and honoured in the society but from late 90s till now, the profession has been looked down on, people going to teaching not because of the passion they have for teaching but maybe because that is the only available job for them to do.
“Also as a teacher, I have been in the classroom for the past 13 years. Sometimes I ask my students how many of you will want to be a teacher, and none of them will raise their hand up. So I started thinking what is the problem of this noble profession that gave birth to other professions. I started doing research on what is obtainable outside the country, like Finland, Japan, Germany and the rest, I saw that teachers are regarded as first class citizens.”
While calling for government support on the reality TV show, Ubaka said the next season of the show will begin on 3rd August, 2021, with 20 teachers on the show for 20 days.
He said the first season in 2019 saw 15 teachers who were selected from thousands of applicants from across the country staying ‘in the house’ for 15 days and were assigned educational and entertainment tasks.
Ubaka said the show was beamed one hour every day on some stations in DSTV, GOTV and Startimes, adding that it was unable to take place in 2020 because of COVID-19.
He said the winner of the first prize in 2019, went home with N1.5 million with an all- expense paid trip to Dubai and N500, 000 reward for the school of the teacher, while the second and third positions received N1 million and N500, 000 respectively as well as trip to Dubai and N500, 000 for their schools.
On his part, Registrar of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof Josiah Ajiboye, said the Teacher Naija Show has given a big boost to the teaching profession.
Represented by the Director of Professional Operations, Enilolobo Gbolahan, the TRCN boss expressed the need for Nigerians to support the programme, describing it as a true friend of Nigerian teachers.
The Teachers Naija TV Reality Show delegation to the Minister includes a medical doctor; Dr Ukanta Emefiele, Azubike Okpara, among others.