Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
An educationist, Dr Samuel Akintunde, has called for the restructuring of teacher education in Nigeria, stating that the move would promote teaching quality, boost the country’s socioeconomic development, and encourage its cultural and technological advancement.
Akintunde, who is the Provost of the Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, stated this while delivering a lecture at the 10th annual National Conference of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU).
He described teacher education as formal programmes designed to produce academically qualified and competent corps of personnel who will continue the process of transmitting worthwhile knowledge to the present generation through the different levels of the school system.
“When the teacher is adequately trained, other aspects of the society, including economic, social, environment and cultural aspects, will also experience sustainable development through the output of teachers,” the college provost said.
Akintunde made the case for quality education in Nigeria as specified by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in its 2012 recommendations, stating that the move would help in equipping teachers working in the country with requisite knowledge that would make them have a better understanding of the learners.
He equally stated that the step would help teachers acknowledg learners knowledge and experience, develop content relevant to needs of learners, adopt many teaching and learning processes that would boost understanding of learners, as well as the creation of conducive and learner-friendly environments.
He identified the role of education in national development, saying its role in human capital could only be attained when “it is functional, qualitative and knowledge-economy driven” and had enough teachers that are produced from a dynamic and innovative teacher education system.
Dr Akintunde expressed serious concern on what he characterised as the failure of successive governments to carry out recommendations made by the United Nations on the attainment of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Describing teacher education as multifaceted, Akintunde stated that the greatest challenge that could hinder the use of education as a means through which the country could achieve the MDGs are the “several deficiencies observed in the structures that carries its educational system.”
He listed the structures to include the establishment of coordinating institutions, which include National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), National Universities Commission (NUC) and the National Teachers Institute ( NTI).
Akintunde noted that “in spite of the presence of these bodies, the expectations of achieving good teacher education policy in the country has become elusive, because of “the glaring differences in the quality of the output of the different components in the structure, preferential treatment given by government in one structure than the other as well as poor funding, motivation and low ratio of teachers to students.”