The Oasis Reporters
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Weighing in on this Kaduna Teacher issue, I’d like to add that I know about education because apart from my other qualifications, I am also a trained teacher; I am qualified through certification. I also have what is referred to as QTS in the UK – qualified teacher status. So, my little opinion is something you should take seriously. It’s unlike those yapping on facebook and know absolutely nothing about how education works apart from their self-professed intellectual prowess in virtually every single issue about Nigeria.
I will give a bit of background.
If you also follow education closely, you would be aware that UK-trained teachers are probably the most sought-after from all over the world. Recruiting agents from some ‘specific countries’ are constantly in London looking for Science, Maths and English teachers to poach. Note the specific countries in quote.
An agent recently contacted me about working as science teacher in Dubai, but I was not interested. Two colleagues went for it. The specific countries above include Russia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, China, UAE, Singapore, Qatar, Kuwait, Thailand and Philippines.
It is however rare to see countries like Canada, Australia, United States, N.Zealand, or developed countries recruiting for teachers from other countries, except they have shortages and are desperate for qualified trained teachers. This information is relevant so that you can understand that the teaching profession in most developed countries is cult-like. It is heavily protected because the institution is where the future leaders of their countries are developed.
UK recently faced an acute shortage of Science teachers and had to start recruiting teachers from abroad. They focused their attention on Australia, N.Zealand and Canada. While doing this to plug the gap, they started an aggressive campaign to train more science teachers and offered between £20k to £30k tax-free bursary for graduates willing to train to become teachers. They also offered other incentives like grants and loans for the tuition fees. In this programme you would meet PhD holders in Physics, Maths, Chemistry, experienced Journalists, former investment bankers etc undergoing training to become teachers. Many like me do it because they enjoy it, others have a passion for it while some just want to inspire and give back to society.
Long time ago, I remember writing an update about encouraging Nigerian PhD holders to teach in our secondary schools. I was savaged by most of the noise-makers who are now screaming about the rot in Kaduna. These irresponsible layabouts don’t even have a PhD, but they view teaching as a profession above PhD holders and fit only for losers.
The major problem with education in Nigeria is total lack of understanding of how education should be structured.
Let me explain further. I will now be very brutal. When I write update about my status as a teacher, some people would come on my wall and view me as belonging to their ‘Nigerian category of teachers’.
Sorry, I do not belong to that category. What you have in Nigeria are not trained teachers. Just imagine classifying me in the same category as those Kaduna teachers. Does that even make sense to you? I finished from medical school; I later did an MBA; I have Microsoft certification in database; I am a PHP and JS programmer. I also have PGCE Science (Chemistry) plus QTS.
How many Nigerian secondary or primary school teachers have you met with such qualifications?
How many Nigerian secondary or primary school teachers have you met with PhD in any field?
If we were to take statistics of Nigerian teachers we should not be shocked if 70-80% of them are not trained teachers. Many graduates who cannot find a job simply turn to teaching because it’s profession for losers in Nigeria. You will never find such nonsense in any serious country.
If you want to teach in any developed country, you either study for education in your undergraduate course or you acquire your first degree and take post-graduate training in education. During this post-graduate training, you will then undergo proper training, with school placements to become a qualified teacher who is able to work with children from age 4-19
Teaching is not for losers in other countries. It is only in Nigeria where teachers are viewed as losers. So, what you have in Kaduna and Edo State should not surprise anybody. The same situation plays itself out all over the country. I pity the SW States. I have been screaming for ages that SW states are doomed as far as education is concerned. Kaduna State is even higher than all of them in WAEC results.
What El-Rufai did in Kaduna is to me, a meaningless political solution to a deep and protracted problem. The State has no trained teachers to fill the place of the sacked layabouts who should never have been anywhere close to a school. He is going to replace the current set of losers with another set of losers. People become teachers in Nigeria because they have nothing better to do.
That is root of the problem.
And finally, one area that draws my ire the most is when some ignorant Nigerians start comparing the role of teachers and lecturers.
That comparison in itself is where you begin to understand why they believe teaching is for losers. Their thinking is that lecturers are somehow placed higher than teachers because they teach students who are aged 18 and above. Let me educate you on this too.
No matter your qualification, you’d NEVER be allowed close to pupils and students in primary/secondary schools without proper training. That is the protocol in all developed countries. You are also constantly checked for police clearance to work in early years, primary and secondary schools. That is where they build the foundation for the future of their countries.
To lecture in further education, colleges or Universities, you are not required to be trained. You do not need a teaching qualification. A teacher can therefore decide to lecture if he/she chose to. You only need to show adequate knowledge in your field, acquire (or be registered for) a PhD. A lecturer who is not trained to be a teacher cannot go near a primary or secondary school, even if you are a Professor in your field. That is the standard protocol. So there’s no basis for comparison. It is common to read updates where ignorant Nigerians place lecturers on a higher pedestal as if teachers are somehow supposed to aspire to be lecturers. I don’t even understand how this hierarchy was created. But then if you look at the state of education and the appalling level of ignorance in the Nigerian society, you will understand why the country is hopelessly underdeveloped and in a sorry state.
For anything to change in Nigeria’s education sector, you have to demolish the whole nonsensical structure. The system is rotten inside out. The funding that goes towards education is incredibly depressing. The practitioners are paid minimum wage and therefore the sector only attracts losers.
Sacking the teachers will not increase funding to the sector neither will it increase their wages. Teachers should be qualified and trained before they are allowed near primary or secondary schools; they should be paid decent wages, the schools should be given resources to make the teachers effective. There should be regular CPD to update the knowledge of the teachers.
Teaching should be made a cult-like profession like in all other developed countries. Teachers are meant to build and train your future leaders. The current Nigerian teachers are losers; they are developing losers for the future of Nigeria.
Written by Olusola Osineye