Between NLC and Kaduna teachers

The time has come when our university lecturers should have a teaching qualification before they are adjudged qualified to teach or train teachers.

The mode of recruitment of teachers is another problem. Most of the present chairmen of Boards of Education are political appointees who, not being educationalists with teaching qualification, base most of their decisions on political considerations, without realizing the harm they may be doing to the system.

Teachers are posted not because principals of schools request for those particular subject teachers, but because it satisfies the political will of political godfathers and the who-is-who in political circles. Thus, some  schools are over- bloated with teachers, while others do not have  at all.

Some schools which are bursting at the seams with teachers, have none in crucial subject areas like Mathematics, English Language and the Sciences because there is no balancing of the considerations that should accompany the posting or deployment of teachers.

Most people ask if teaching is a profession in Nigeria, like Medicine or Law. In our society, it is believed that anyone can be a teacher, that little or no expertise is required. It is a fact that teachers are not appreciated for what they do, they are vulnerable to public attacks. Teaching is a profession, and it must be repositioned for all to realise that.

To solve this problem, we must strive to have a higher status and be treated as real professionals. There are many ideas on how to turn teachers into high status professionals: increased pay, increased certification requirements, more accountability, career ladders, peer review, training teachers as researchers, and encouraging teachers themselves to set the standards for entrance into the profession.

Teachers must have the ability and inclination to continue to learn. Just as physicians must continually upgrade their knowledge of  therapies, medications and surgical procedures, teachers must stay abreast of recent researches in their fields. Effective teachers stay abreast of research findings in their fields in response to their increased knowledge.

Teachers’ organisations in Nigeria must behave like professional organisations and less like trade unions. I want to suggest that since the union is more engrossed in union activities, another body should be established which would ensure that teachers meet professional standards. Attaining Certification: The National Board For Professional Teaching Standards There is need to establish a board to be known as the National Board For  Professional Teaching Standards, NBPTS.

This board will be saddled with the responsibility of  strengthening teaching as a profession and raising the quality of education by recognising the contributions of exemplary teachers, compensate them financially, give them increased responsibility and increase their role in decision-making. Certification is a special recognition by a professional organisation indicating that an individual has met certain requirements specified by the organisation.

The NBPTS is a national effort to personalise teaching. NBPTS certification is an excellent long-term career goal for which there is also a financial incentive. Evidence indicates that National Board Certification makes a difference in teacher quality. National Board Certification is well worth pursuing.

To receive certification from the National Board For professional Teaching Standards, teachers must demonstrate their expertise through examinations and classroom performance. National Board Certification has five important features: It is designed for experienced teachers.

Applicants must have graduated from an accredited university and must have taught for at least five years. Applying for National Board Certification is strictly voluntary and independent of any state’s licensure. It is intended to indicate a high level of skill and professionalism. Acquiring National Board Certification requires that teachers pass a set of exams in their area of specialisation such as Mathematics, Sciences, Early Childhood or Physical And Health Education. Additional evidence, such as video tapes of teaching and a personal portfolio, are used in the assessment process.

The primary control of NBPTS will be in the hands of practising teachers, which increases the professionalism of teaching. Licensure And Certification. In advanced countries, they have standards for licensure and certification of teachers. A licence is issued when an individual meets requirements proposed by the state, such as completing a preparation programme, or achieving a minimum score on test of context knowledge, or professional practice. Some countries issue graduates a temporary certificate that is valid for two or three years, during which time the individual must perform satisfactorily, in order to qualify for a standard certification.

As with physicians, lawyers, bankers and engineers, teachers must  earn a licence that allows them to practice their profession. The licence is intended to certify, that the teacher is knowledgeable and competent, and as with other professions, teachers must renew their licence periodically, to confirm that they are staying current in their fields.

Teachers need at least a Bachelor’s degree prior to licensure. Most professions designate a period of apprenticeship for a novice practitioner. Doctors work as interns and residents before assuming responsibility for a patient. But teachers, from the moment they are awarded their certificates, are considered full members of the profession. A newly licensed architect, for example, would never be asked to design a major building in the first week on the job, all alone.

But this is exactly what teachers are asked to do, and it reflects a structural challenge in the profession. The personal experience of a respondent who taught in the North revealed that a secondary school leaver in some parts of the North with one or two credits can be admitted into a remedial programme in many Colleges of Education, and then expected to remedy the O level requirements before they can be issued with the NCE certificate.

Kaduna State Government has set a precedence in correcting the observed problem and overhauling the entire process of training and recruitment of teachers. The action Gov. Nasir-El-Rufai of Kaduna State is a clarion call to other states to brace up to the challenge of  low quality teachers arising from low quality of both students who apply to the institutions and poor quality Teacher Preparation Programme. The action of the NLC and NUT in Kaduna State is condemnable because they are not striving to defend the integrity of the teaching profession.

 

They should embrace what the state governor is doing rather than struggling to save face and defending unqualified colleagues.

 

They should partner with the Kaduna State Government to implement a new dawn in the teaching service in the state and their names will be written in gold. The state government should be highly commended for striving to bring back the good old days in teaching and eschewing completely, the gory reality where a few schools committed to quality teaching/learning, and research are going into extinction, the miracle educational centres are booming as more and more parents and guardians are busy patronising these citadels of examination malpractice at the detriment of the future of their children. 

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