Mapping Out Nigeria’s Education Sector For Excellence – TAIWO OGUNMOLA

One of the over- arching aims of the Universal Basic Education which was established on 30th September, 1999 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo was to revitalize and strengthen the nation’s education sector from its foundation.

Amongst its lofty objectives, the programme was intended to be universal, free, and compulsory.

In time past, the teaching profession was fascinating because teachers are just like kings and queen due to respect from both young and old and even the students.

Then, they were well paid with accommodation which has now become a different story. In the present jet age, people don’t have respect for teachers and graduates and don’t see the profession as something that will earn them good living.

This contributed to the fact that teachers retire without anybody to replace them. To this end, stakeholders in the education sector say if care is not taken, the teaching profession may go on extinction.

A secondary school teacher who did not want his name published said the government of Lagos State have a lot of explanation to make on why primary school education has been nullified.

According to him, there is greater emphasis on secondary education as skeletal recruitment are often seen. It is a fact that no single secondary school in the state can boast of having adequate number of teachers in a school.

It has been said that it is over 15 years that recruitment was done in primary school except for the conversion of sweepers, clerks and other non-teaching staff to subject teachers after receiving some sort of political training or so.

The teacher added that , “As at today, state government never stop to expect wonders and magic to happen in the external result of SS3 students who never stop to be desperate during such exams. But, what type of foundation are the students coming with from their primary schools?

“EKO project talks about secondary schools and not about primary schools. Many students from adequately equipped primary schools often find their way to federal or unity model schools and a substantial number in primary schools will find there way into public secondary schools where magic is expected.

He went on.” Primary school education is still confusing in the country as we learnt it is meant to be financed by local, state and federal government and hence no tier is actually claiming responsibly. But it is all politics. No adequate teachers in secondary schools because attempt to get more will take more money from government purse. No sincerity of purpose.

According to the teacher, it is high time a policy is put in place to compel politicians to have their children in public schools, saying it will enhance adequate funding in terms of staff recruitment and infrastructure.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP, the Lagos State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Comrade Segun Raheem said they have complained to government that both secondary and primary schools lack teachers.

Given the statistics, the NUT boss said primary schools need about 4,000 while secondary schools need 3,000 teachers.

He said, “Government do make replacement but that stopped 2years ago. We need teachers for core subjects such as English Language, Mathematics and others but the time of recruitment is September.”.

On why the youth or graduates don’t want to go into the profession, Raheem noted that the economic situation contributes to it.

“Parents especially are conscious of the kind of profession their children engage in. They appreciate professions that are in vogue such as music industry, banking among others,” he added.

The Chairman of Academic Staff of Senior Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Lagos State, Comrade Kazeem Labaika opined that inadequacy of ‎ teachers especially in primary schools may collapse the education system.

He questioned the reason for the establishment of colleges of education, saying the essence is forfeited if the products from the colleges cannot replace the retirees.

Labaika also lamented poor salaries of teachers, saying this affects young minds coming into the profession. ‘The few teachers we have in primary schools are over stretched and the number of teachers don’t commensurate with the number of students. Government also introduce more subjects without teachers to teach them,” he complained.

The UNESCO institute of statistic stressed that Universal Primary Education (UPE) will remain a distant dream for millions of children living in countries without enough teachers in classrooms.

It added,” ‘To help formulate and monitor possible post-2015 education targets, the UIS has released a new set of projections of the demand and supply of primary teachers at the global and national level.”

“ Total number of teachers needed to achieve Universal Primary Education by 2015, 2020, 2025 and 2030, according to the data, countries will need to recruit a total of 4 million teachers to achieve Universal Primary Education by 2015. Of this total, 2.6 million will replace teachers who retire, change occupations or leave the workforce due to illness or death.”

“The remaining 1.4 million will be needed to universalise access to primary education and underwrite quality by ensuring that there are not more than 40 students for every teacher. UPE will not be achieved by 2015, however, as 58 million children are still out of school.”

“For this reason, the analysis presented determines how many teachers would be needed if the goal of achieving UPE was shifted to 2020 or 2030. To achieve UPE by 2020, for example, countries will need to recruit a total of 12.6 million primary teachers. This includes the creation of about 2.4 million new teaching positions and the replacement of 10.2 million teachers expected to leave the profession due to attrition.”

“By 2030, the total demand for teachers would rise to 27.3 million, with about 3.4 million new posts needed for UPE and the remaining 23.9 million to compensate for attrition.Some regions need more teachers than others.”

“The region facing the greatest challenges by a large margin is sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for more than one-half (63%) of the additional teachers needed to achieve UPE by 2015 or two-thirds (67%) by 2030.”

“ Across the region, more than seven in 10 countries are faced with an acute shortage of teachers. And the situation in many countries may deteriorate as governments struggle with overcrowded classroomsthe rising demand for education from growing school-age populations: for every 100 children in 2012, there will be 147 primary school-age children in 2030.”

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