From Daniel Edem, Rosemary Asogwa and Jane Nwaoriaku, Enugu
Worried by the falling standards and prestige of the teaching profession in the country, the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) recently stormed Enugu to hold critical stakeholders meeting to discuss ways of optimizing the registration and training of teachers in the South East.
Registrar and Chief Executive of the Council, Prof Josiah O. Ajiboye who led the delegation in the meeting was concerned over the increasing decline of teachers’ quality and the rot in the education standard across the country.
He, therefore, expressed great concerns and reinstated his commitment to reawakening the prestige in the sector.
“We have brought stakeholders and chairmen of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and those of the Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB), as well as coalitions of education actors at the tertiary level together because we are interested in making teaching one of the best professions in the country. We had an interaction on the layout of the TRCN, taking into consideration areas where we are making progress and areas we are facing challenges and how we could join hands to move the teaching profession forward in the country.
“Looking at the rot in the system, we are determined to raise the standard again through a mandatory one year internship programme for teachers, which is in progress. If lawyers could finish their programme after so many years and yet go through the law school, there is nothing stopping those who have finished at various colleges and faculties of education in the country from engaging in a one year internship programme for them to be registered as a full-fledged teacher because the idea is to grill the teachers very well.
“We want to produce 21st Century teachers that would deliver. One year internship training programme in the area of pedagogy is pertinent to enable them cope with the challenges of teaching and that is why we are trying to propose a one year internship programme to ingrain the principles and practice of education in would-be teachers,” he said.
The registrar stressed that though there was a teaching practice programme already in place, it would be crucial to ensuring that there was an extra programme to be highly monitored for efficiency, as well as instill teachers pride in them as it was in the early years.
He added that the initiative was yet to be in progress and would be in full force after it has been approved by the Minister of Education.
“We have the professional examination, which the first one is coming up on October 14, and is going to be twice in a year. It is going to be a computer-based test and the teachers have been classified based on various categories. We have the Category A, which is for Ph.D holders, Category B for NCE holders, Category C for first degree holders and so on. The aim of the test is not to sack any teacher, but for them to register with the Council. If you pass the examination, then you can be registered as a teacher,” he explained.
Speaking at the event, the Enugu State Commissioner for Education, Prof Uche Eze, admonished the council to continue to do its good work of saving the dying state of education in the country, stressing that there was need for all teachers to identify with the council.
His words: “I am a registered teacher. As a teacher, I believe so much in the profession and I believe that the only way we can take education to where the nation wants it to be is by being professional in all our actions, and being professional is by upholding the tenets of the profession. Thank God for the TRCN who regulate the profession so it ceases from being an all-comers affair. It is necessary that teachers register and it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that teachers are mobilized to register.”
The commissioner lamented over the level of non-commitment of teachers in the profession and admonished them to emulate doctors and lawyers on their modus operandi.
He urged teachers to be proud of their profession, adding that they should continue giving their best and not just go into the profession for its rewards.
“Teachers registration and regulation is not just about getting teachers to register. It is about getting involved in the process of teacher training so that by the time they are being inducted, we are sure that they possessed the basic attributes of a teacher. Those in the medical profession start their professional exams from their year two in the university and they write the first, second, third and fourth professional exams at different levels and these exams are being regulated by the professional body. This is to ensure that the graduates are well trained,” he said.
He charged the council to have a long-term plan in order to revive education in the country to international standard, reinstating the commitment of the Enugu State government’s support for the agenda of the council.
The Executive Chairman of SUBEB, Anambra State, Chief Nzemeka Olisah, also tasked the council not to relent in its effort, saying that lack of implementation of policies were the main killers of plans in the country.