Some stakeholders in the education sector have suggested the re-introduction teachers training colleges as part of measures to address the manpower gap primary and post-primary schools in the country.
Responding to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) survey on Sunday, the stakeholders also called for massive recruitment of qualified teachers and provision of incentives for teachers serving in rural areas.
They also said the current security challenges in some parts of the country were discouraging teachers from accepting posting to rural areas.
Malam Ibrahim Aminu, an educationist in Kaduna, said providing incentives to teachers serving in rural areas would encourage young people to accept posting to high risk areas, thereby bridging the manpower gap.
He said the level of insecurity, especially in the northeast and northwestern parts of the country, had create a huge gap in manpower needs in schools in those areas..
He said many primary and secondary schools across Local Government Areas in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Borno among others states affected by insecurity were facing the challenge of dearth of quality teachers.
He also said that dearth of funds was another factor and suggested the adequate funding of the education sector.
“In 2021, a lot of teachers, especially in north western parts of the country, were recruited, in a bid to bridge the manpower gap, but as I speak to you now, they are yet to be posted to schools due to dearth of funds.
“Again, welfare of teachers is not encouraging. That is why a lot of primary school teachers keep switching to other careers at the slightest opportunity,” he said.
According to him, another factor that stagnates the progress of primary and post-primary education in the country is inadequate training needed to enhance efficiency and career progression.
“Talking about gap in manpower, we are also talking of the enabling environment and training that will enable manpower progression, with a view to bridging existing gaps,” Aminu said.
On his part, Mr Musa Dona, a secondary school teacher in Kaduna, said one way of bridging the manpower gap in primary and post-secondary schools is for the government at all levels to engage in massive recruitment of qualified teachers.
“When you survey our government schools, you will discover that they are always under-staffed.
“There are a lot of instances where one teacher is teaching three or more subjects in different classes in a particular public school,” he said.
Similarly, Kano State Government said it had recalled 6,995 of its teachers posted to private and community schools, as part of efforts to address the manpower shortage in public schools in the state.
The State Commissioner for Education, Mr Sanusi Sa’idu-Kiru, told the NAN that the teachers, who were on government payroll, were posted to such schools to help meting their teaching needs.
The commissioner also said the government had re-deployed 5,700 civil servants with education qualification to teach。
According to him, such teachers had undergone refresher courses to prepare them for the task.
He said the measure has contributed in bridging the manpower gap in public schools in the state.
“The two measures have yielded dividends as 95 per cent of our students obtained nine credits in NECO in 2021,” he said.
Also responding, the Dean, Faculty of Education, Bayero University, Kano, Dr Ali Idris, also called for recruitment of qualified teachers to address the manpower gap.
He said that the manpower challenge was felt more in science and technology-related subjects, including mathematics and English language.
Idris said it was unfortunate that recruitment and posting of teachers were most times, politicised, thereby creating imbalance in schools.
A parent in Kano, Alhaji Shehu Abdullahi, said that manpower gap in primary and post-primary education started after the scrapping of teachers training colleges in the country.
He, therefore, advised governments to revive the colleges for the country to have qualified personnel for effective teaching in schools.
Also, Kebbi State Government said it had recruited 2,000 teachers to make up for the teacher deficiency in its schools.
Alhaji Mohammed Magawata-Aliero, Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education told NAN in Birnin Kebbi, that the exercise had been ongoing in the last two months.
He, however, said that most university graduates were not qualified to teach, describing a scenario whereby a graduate of economics could not define “ economics” when requested to do so as worrisome.
In Sokoto, Malam Rabi’u Gandi, an official of a non-governmental organisation ‘Save The Child Initiative’ (STCI), advised the state government to ensure that recruited teachers reported to their duty posts.
He said that while the records indicated fair distribution of manpower in schools, most of the ones posted to rural areas often failed to report.
Gandi cited an example with a Community Secondary School in the state where he undertook an exercise and discovered that of the 11 teachers posted only two reported at their duty post.
Other stakeholders who spoke to NAN in Sokoto called for recruitment of more teachers, as well as continuous training of the existing ones to enable them fit into areas facing manpower dearth.
Also, some education stakeholders in Katsina state have suggested the employment of only qualified teachers in schools.
Speaking to NAN in Ingawa and Katsina towns, they called for the recruitment of more teachers to bridge the manpower gap between primary and post-primary education.
Chairman of Parents/Teachers Association, Ingawa Local Local Government Area, Alhaji Suleiman Umar, said the gap should be closed in terms of both quantity and quality of teachers.
“It should not be an issue of inadequacy of teachers alone but that only qualified ones should be recruited.
“It is unfortunate these days, in view of dearth of teachers in schools, government and proprietors of public and private schools employ unqualified teachers,” he said.
The chairman appealed to government and proprietors of schools to employ teachers based on their professional qualifications to guarantee proper learning.
Alhaji Lawal Abdullahi, former Director, Schools Services, Katsina Ministry of Education, said that government was doing well in addressing the challenge of dearth of teachers.
Abdullahi said the ministry used to organise regular workshops and seminars for teachers to update their skills.
Malam Ibrahim Suleiman, a teaching staff in one of the public secondary schools in Katsina, said they were faced with lots of problems in schools.
He said these problems ranged from lack of teaching and instructional materials to dilapidated structures.
Meanwhile, Zamfara Government also said it recruited 101 additional teachers to boost manpower in both primary and secondary schools in the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Dosara, told NAN that the state government was doing everything possible to promote education at all levels.
On his part, headmaster of a primary school in Gusau, Malam Bashir Maru, attributed the imbalance in personnel to security challenges as teachers were reluctant to work in high risk rural areas.
He said to addressing the challenge governments had to tackle the problem of enable teachers posted to local communities to accept such postings.(NAN)