I agree with the Ekiti State government that our workers (teachers and others) should be up to date in their chosen professions particularly teachers who are the architect of our children’s future. But I do not agree that examination is the answer, and so teachers are right in suspecting that there is more than meets the eyes in this examination issue.
I know there are incompetent teachers in the system as there are incompetent workforce in other sectors, but once a professional has been taken on a job, the employers should not only pay salaries alone it should also devise means of improving on the competence of such people, so they can combine expanding knowledge with experience and be better performers of their duties.
In this instance, I suggest the followings as tips to enhance professional competence of teachers’ workforce other professional groups in the employ of government:
The setting up of an institution for teachers’ continuous education. This will be a place for improvement in teachers competence in teaching performance and a deeper understanding of the subjects they teach. Ikere College of Education and the University of Education could be local centres for such enhancement in teacher education and performance.
Government can evolve regular seminars/courses/lectures on improvement in the competencies and knowledge update for teachers as in the case of doctors in the health profession, through the Nigerian Medical Association continuing education programme. Such lectures could be run on weekends with compulsory attendance at a certain minimum number of lectures per annual. Even overseas courses should be part of this activity.
Awards to teachers of excellence e.g. the conferment of grade level 17 can be given to teachers of repute. At present such award smark of tokenism. It should be more open and should be a terminal goal of which many teachers can aspire. At least one of such grade 17 teachers should be in each local government area.
There should be provision for enhanced salary payment to teachers. Today some do not even receive their salaries on time and in full amount. There seems to be some problems with e-payment, and where possible there should be a means of encouraging teachers in remote villages with monetary allowance, it will curb the drift to the big towns.
Government finally should try and develop the rural areas so the gap in development between the state capital and the other centres in terms of population especially in local government headquarters is not too great and teachers (as well as other professionals can find some fulfilment in these areas.)
The cost of proper education is high and we should not put a multifunctional deficit on the factor alone – a factor that is probably not less important than others. Proper thinking is needed in this area — on this issue let us have a clearly articulated plan of improving the status and performances of teachers (and other workers) but examination is not, in my view the answer.
Prof. J.O. Oluwasanmi,
27, Dalimore street,
This article was first published in the Nigerian Tribune on 8, August, 2012.
Last modified: August 8, 2012