Teacher edication in Nigeria in the respective of life-long education Essay
AN OVERVIEW OF NIGERIA
The Federal Republic of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country is in the West African sub-region, bordered by Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Nigeria uses the presidential system of government and her currency is the Naira. Nigeria currently has 36 states with a Federal Capital Territory and a population of over 160 million people.
Of this population, approximately 30 million are students. The country is rich in petroleum and many other natural resources. The three dominant tribes are Yoruba in the southwest, Ibo in the eastern region and Hausa in the north. The official language is English, although most people speak their native languages in addition to English. English is the only language used in schools, for reading, writing and speaking. Introduction
Teacher education refers to professional education of teachers towards attainment of attitudes, skills and knowledge considered desirable so as to make them efficient and effective in their work in accordance with the need of a society at any point in time. It includes training/education occurring before commencement of service (pre-service) and education/training during service (in-service or on-the-job).
As a matter of fact, teacher education should constitute a conspicuous element in the totality of organized education, both formal and non-formal sub-systems. The success of an educational enterprise particularly in terms of quality depends to a large extent, on the regular supply of teachers in adequate quantity and quality. In the National Policy on Education, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) also asserts that no nation can achieve economic, social and technological progress and self-sufficiency without a good system of education to sustain its achievement.
The training and production of the manpower required for the attainment of national objectives should be framed on the quality and quantity of teachers. Fafunwa (1974) stressed the dependency of manpower training and development on teachers. He argues that teacher education should be basically related to every phase of development in Nigeria, for wherever one turns, be it economic, political or social spheres of activities, one is faced with the over-reoccurring problem of trained manpower needs but no adequate training can take place without competent teachers to handle the programme. Educational Structure of Nigeria
The former educational system was the 6-3-3-4 system which has now been replaced by the 9-3-4 system. The National Policy on Education stipulates a 9-3-4 structure offering nine years of basic education (which comprises six years of primary education and three years of junior secondary), three years of senior Secondary and four years plus of higher education.
The hierarchical structure of the educational system has as its base, early childhood education in which Government’s role has been limited to setting standards, providing curriculum guidelines and training teachers with the private sector providing educational service. Primary and junior secondary education constitutes basic education that is free and compulsory. A special nomadic education program for the children of migrant herding and fishing communities is also encompassed in the basic education package. Management of the Educational System
Education in Nigeria is the shared responsibility of the federal, state and local governments. The Federal Ministry of Education plays a dominant role in regulating the education sector, engaging in policy formation and ensuring quality control. However, the federal government is more directly involved with tertiary education than it is with school education, which is largely the responsibility of state (secondary) and local (primary) governments. The education sector is divided into three sub-sectors: basic (nine years), post-basic/senior secondary (three years), and tertiary (four to seven years, depending on the major or course of study).
Education in Nigeria is provided by public and private institutions. Education is placed on the concurrent legislative list in the 1999 constitution that provides the legal framework for educational management in Nigeria. This implies that both Federal and State governments have legislative jurisdiction and corresponding functional responsibilities with respect to education. By this arrangement, a few functions are exclusively assigned to the Federal or State government, most of the functions and responsibilities are in fact shared by the three tiers of government. Statutorily, the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) is at the apex of the regulation and management of education in the country and to discharge this mandate, the ministry is structured into eight departments and three statutory units.
The state ministries of education have similar structures to those of the FME with minor variations determined by peculiarities of each state. Although the FME has overall responsibility for formulating, harmonizing and coordinating policies and monitoring quality in service delivery in the education sector, the ministry is advised in the discharge of these responsibilities by the National Council on Education (NCE), the highest policy formulation body on educational matters which is composed of the Federal Minister of Education and the State Commissioners for Education.
The NCE operates through the instrumentality of the Joint Consultative Committee on Education (JCCE), composed of professional officers of the Federal and State Ministries of Education. The consultative reference committees of the JCCE provide a veritable feedback mechanism for federal policies. The NCE provides a forum for consensus building on policy articulation that is to be implemented at the appropriate levels of government with some leeway for local peculiarities in policy implementation. Genesis of Teacher Education in Nigeria
Teacher Education institutions started springing up in Nigeria since 1895 when the Hope-Waddel Training Institute was established in Calabar, followed by St. Andrew’s College, Oyo, in 1896. The British Colonial administration became involved in teacher training in 1914 when it established one institution in Bonny. In the Northern part of Nigeria one was established in 1909 at Nasarawa and another in 1921 at Katsina. By 1925 fourteen institutions had been established in the country. In 1957, the University of Ibadan introduced a one-year course for graduates leading to a diploma of education.
In1961, the University started a one-year Associate ship course for selected Grade II teachers who would take over the headship of primary schools after the successful completion of their studies. (Fafunwa, 1974). The Ashby Commission’s recommendation for Teacher’s Grade I colleges was modified to give rise to new programme and a new certificate – the Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE). This programme was meant for the training and preparation of teachers for the lower forms of secondary schools, and the teacher training colleges. The schools were popularly called t h e “Advanced teachers’ colleges”.
They were established at Lagos 1962, Ibadan (1962) but transferred to Ondo where it became the Adeyemi College of Education). Owerri 1963, Zaria 1962, Kano 1964 and Abraka 1968) (Taiwo, 1986). Admission to these advanced teacher’s colleges was open to candidates who held either the Teachers’ Grade 11 Certificate and passed in two subjects at the ordinary level of the General Certificate of Education (GCE), or the West African School Certificate with Credit in at least two subjects, or the G.C.E. (O level) in five subjects including English Language.
To achieve N.C.E, according to Taiwo (1986), a candidate must pass a final examination in two science or two arts subjects, education and practical teaching, and must have passed in ancillary subjects like general English, Library work, Health and physical education, offered during the programme. Up to 1960 when Nigeria attained her independence many teacher training institutions had been established by then and few by the government to produce Elementary Teachers (Grade III) and Higher Elementary Certificate Teachers (Grade II). Also, there was Grade I Teachers Certificate which was obtained through one of two ways: A Grade II teacher who passed two Advanced Level General Certificate of Education (GCE) subjects could apply for inspection in the two teaching subjects, if successful would be awarded the certificate.
Secondly, a Grade II certificate holder could attend further training in one or two-year post Grade II College of Agriculture, success in which would earn one the award of the Teachers Grade One Certificate (Adesina, 2004:179). Following the Ashby Report of 1960 which was set up for Post-School Certificate and Higher Education, Advanced Teacher Training Colleges (Now Colleges of Education) were established as from 1962 to produce well-qualified non-graduate teachers to teach lower classes in the secondary schools. The Ashby Commission also recommended teacher education programme at the university level, observing that the new crop of Grade I teachers popularly referred to as “well qualified non-graduate teachers” should be trained to man the lower levels of secondary schools and teacher-training colleges.
The commission therefore recommended the introduction of a Bachelor of Arts/Science degree in Education (B.A. (Ed.)/B.Sc, (Ed.) in all Nigerian universities The B.A and B.Sc (Ed.) according to Fafunwa (1974) was launched at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in September 1961 with 50 students. The University of Ibadan followed in 1963, Ahmadu Bello University in 1964, the University of Lagos in 1965 and the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) Ile- Ife, in 1967. When the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) started an experimental B.A and B.Sc degrees in Education in 1960, it attracted severe criticism.
However, the UNN blazed a trail because at present there are about 53 Federal and State Universities having Faculties of Education, and 62 Colleges of Education and Polytechnics. In all these institutions, B.A. /B.Sc degrees in Education are offered. Also, for graduate teachers who did not read Education, there is Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) through which such teachers are groomed to attain both academic and professional competence in Education. There has been a controversy ranging between the proponents of the B.A/B.Sc Education and B.A. /B.Sc plus PGDE as which is a more appropriate teacher education programme (Mkpa, 2002:11).
Some institutions favour the B.A. /B.Sc Education programme, which combines professional teacher education courses with the courses in a teaching subject simultaneously over a period of four years. But the proponents of the B.A. /B.Sc plus PGDE options stress that the other option does not allow for an in-depth study of the teaching subject area. That is, in the bid to combine the two field’s depth is compromised. The PGDE option, the proponents hold, allows for an in-depth study of the teaching subject over a period of four years after which one extra year is devoted entirely to professional education. However, the two options are being used in teacher education in the country.
Colleges of Education in Nigeria
The National Policy on Education (1998, section 63) stipulates that the minimum qualification for entry into the teaching profession at any level in the Nigerian schools system should be the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE). The NCE is a tertiary level certificate issued by a College of Education or a School of Education in a Polytechnic. There are over seventy NCE awarding institutions in Nigeria. The institutions can be grouped as follows:
– Federal Colleges of Education (Regular) 11
– Federal Colleges of Education (Technical) 8
– Federal Colleges of Education (Special) 1
– State Colleges of Education 39
– Polytechnics with NCE programmes 10
– Private Colleges of Education 3
Total 72 colleges
This gives an average of two NCE awarding institutions per State, or approximately one to two million Nigerians. The National Teachers’ Institute, Kaduna is in its own categories. The National Certificate in Education qualifies a teacher for professional work at the Primary and Junior Secondary School levels of education. The training of teachers for the Senior Secondary level of education is conducted at the universities under the supervision and guidance of the National Universities Commission. While the Colleges of Education are solely Teacher Training Institutions the Universities have their teacher-training activities based in the Faculties of Education or the Institutes of Education. The National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE)
The Federal Government set up the National Commission for College of Education (NCCE) to ensure that standards are maintained and that the activities of the Colleges of Education are in tune with national educational objectives. The NCCE is a regulatory body for all NCE programmes and is situated at the Federal Capital Abuja. It sets the standards for the programmes of the Colleges of Education, oversees their activities and approves all new programmes of the Colleges. The National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) was established by Decree No. 3 of April, 1989 as an agency to supervise all aspects of non-degree teacher education and teacher professionalism in Nigeria. Decree No. 12 of 1st January 1993 later amended the enabling decree. Functions of the NCCE
The decree establishing the NCCE mandates it, among other functions to: i. Make recommendations on the National Policy necessary for the full development of Teacher education and the training of teachers;
ii. Lay down minimum standards for all programmes of teacher education and accredit their certificates and other academic awards; iii. Approve guidelines setting out criteria for accreditation of all Colleges of Education in Nigeria; iv. Determine the qualified teacher needs of the country for the purpose of planning training facilities and in particular; prepare periodic master plans for the balanced co-coordinated development of Colleges of Education; v. Advise on, and take steps to harmonize entry requirements and; vi.
Consider any matter pertaining to teacher education as may be referred to it from time to time by the Minister; vii. Enquire into and advise the Federal Government on the financial needs of the Colleges and receive block grants from the Government and allocate to the Colleges based on approval formula; viii. Collate, analyze and publish information relating to teacher education in the country; ix. Undertake periodic reviews of terms and conditions of service of personnel in the colleges of Education and make recommendations thereon to the government; The National Teachers’ Institution (NTI) Kaduna
The National Teachers’ Institute, Kaduna was established in 1976 by the Federal Government to produce qualified teachers that will meet the needs of the then Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme. The Institute’s enabling Law Act No. 7 of 1978 charged it, to among other things; to provide courses of instruction leading to the development, upgrading and certification of teachers as specified in the relevant syllabus using Distance Education Techniques.
With the launching of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme by the Federal Government in 1999, the National Teachers’ Institute has been further tasked with the production of qualified teachers to meet the new challenges posed by acute shortage of teachers needed to implement the programme. Functions of the Institute
The National Teachers’ Institute Act, 1978, establishing the Institute mandated it in section 3 a, b, etc, to carry out the following functions: (a) Upgrade under-qualified and untrained teachers.
(b) Provide refresher and other upgrading courses for teachers. (c) Organize workshops, seminars and conferences, which would assist in the improvement of teachers. (d) Conduct Examinations (e) Carry out research in conjunction with other bodies on any matter relevant to educational development in the country. (f) Formulate policies and initiate programmes at all levels of education designed to improve by way of research the quality and content of education in Nigeria. (g)
Assess from time to time the training programmes offered by institutions controlled by or associated with the Institute, with a view to ascertaining the professional competence of those institutions. (h) Offer such assistance, either alone or in co-operation with educational bodies as may be requested by the institutions controlled by or associated with the Institute. (i) Foster and enhance international co-operation in the education of teachers, and (j) Perform such other functions as necessary or expedient for the full discharge of all the functions of the Council under the Act. Programme of the Institute
The Institute is currently running three programmes by Distance Learning. These are the Teachers’ Grade II Certificate (TC II by DLS); Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE by DLS) and the Pivotal Teacher Training Programme (PTTP by DLS). TC II by DLS
This programme started in 1984 with the aim of upgrading teachers’ possessing qualifications lower than the TC II to the TC II level. The duration of the programme varies depending on the students’ entry qualification. Enrolment of students in this programme in the year 2002 was 93,467. NCE by DLS
The NCE by Distance Learning System commenced in 1990. The aim of this programme is to upgrade TC II Certificate holders to the NCE level, which is the minimum acceptable qualification for teaching. The programme covers a period of four academic years, which the Institute refers to as “cycles”. Each cycle comprises of three terms, with each term carrying an average of three modules of course materials per subject. A module contains one credit unit of academic work, thus a terms work in each subject is equivalent to a load of 3 credit units in the conventional institutions. There were 71,714 students in the NCE programme in the year 2002 with 21,056 enrolled in Cycle One. A total number of 62,149 NCE teachers have graduated from the programme since its inception and 8,967 graduated in 2002. PTTP by DLS
The Federal Government of Nigeria introduced the PTTP by DLS programme in the year 2000, so as to address existing shortfalls in teacher supply for the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme. The programmes duration is 18 months including supervised teaching and 3 months internship. The NTI operates from over 350 learning centres throughout the country, drawing field staff from other Colleges of Education and the Universities. The Institute has state offices established in all the States in the country. These offices have coordinators who oversee the activities in the learning centres.
General Education and General Set up. The NTI Kaduna is not a conventional teacher training institution. Its students (over 190,000) are reached through various distance-learning means and through study centres and State offices. Its programme has been largely successful as indicated by the Accreditation Panel Report. All its programmes are duly accredited. The institution does not have any full – time students so all the facilities available at head quarters are used for staff training and workshops.
The facilities at the study centres are considered adequate by the institute except in a few States. The study centres are located in some Colleges of Education and other similar institutions. Lecturers in such colleges of education serve as Centre supervisor and course tutors on part-time basis. The institution has Governing Council. ICT (Computer, Internet, Educational technology)
There is access to Internet facilities at NTI and there is a computer centre with full support staff. The institution has a printing press that facilitates the production of textual course materials for distribution to registered students. The new minimum standards for NCE require that all NCE students should be computer literate. This is a source of concern to the institution since students at the study centres have to be provided with computers. The institution has a library, which serves only staff at head quarters.
Identified Priority Needs
The four main problems/needs as listed by the institution are: • Capacity Building (for staff)
• Institutional Capacity Building (Technical support: especially computers, accessories and software) • Acquisition of ICT for programme development, delivery and enrichment • Acquisition of current tiles, journals and reference materials for Library Of the greatest priority to the institution is the need for capacity building for staff on aspects of distance learning techniques, which are relatively new in the country. There is no reservoir for recruiting specialist staff especially in the areas of script writing for distant learners and evaluation of distant learning programmes.
There is also a need for reliable experts in other areas of course materials development. The institution has no expatriate staff and relies on workshops facilitated by international organizations such as UNESCO, and the Commonwealth of Learning. A staff exchange programme may be needed between the institution and some distant learning providers. Curricula
The curriculum for each subject area, or programme, is set and regularly reviewed by the NCCE. The minimum recommended standard of facilities, infrastructures, equipment and materials required for each programme is insisted upon for accreditation of all programmes. Accreditation visits are planned and executed at regular intervals by the NCCE. Required staff complements to approve programmes and student populations are stipulated and insisted upon by the NCCE. There are plans for staff development through further training, conferences, workshops, etc.
A large number of lecturers take advantage of local conference. The current minimum standards require that Primary Education studies, Mathematics, General English and Computer Education should be made compulsory for all student teachers. The primary education curriculum covers aspects of science, health, environment, and literacy. This is irrespective of the specialization areas directly related to these issues. With the number of students enrolled in all the institutions across the country and for the various programmes, introducing new compulsory programmes for all students is a tall order.
For instance, an institution with a thousand (1000) new intakes running a programme in computer literacy will require: 200 computers with all accessories including tables and seats, computer laboratory spaces to accommodate 200 students at a time, instructional staff with computer expertise and knowledge of the curricula requirements for computer education, support staff for facilitating practical classes, computer technicians to effect computer maintenance and repairs, appropriately furnished rooms and offices for staff and storage, appropriate textual support, and a backup generating set for regular power supply. None of the institutions can cope with these requirements.
The ETF, which provides funding for such facilities, only does this in piece meal. It will be long time before the institutions can meet the minimum standards set for computer education alone. The same will be expected apply for all other courses and programmes run by eachinstitutions. Also for this age and time, students will need the Internet for learning. While teachers beyond being computer literate need to update their knowledge through communication with resources outside their immediate environment via Internet. In a few more years, if higher institutions in Nigeria fail to be linked to the outside world whatever knowledge and skills reposing within them would become obsolete and the education offered will be invalid. Lifelong Education
The seventies featured the emergence of critics of the formal school system, such as Reimer (1971), Illich (1971), Freire (1972a & b), Dore (1976) and other members of Deschooling Movement, who called for reformation of education so as to afford an individual continuous and integrated development to grapple with the changing world and restore oneself as the author of his/her development and that of the society. As if in response to these critics, UNESCO set up an International Commission on Education under the chairmanship of Edgar Faure, to review the World of Education.
This Commission undertook a critical assessment of the educational situation up to 1972, and reached an all-round decision for the future progress of educational enterprise. Realizing the need for improvement on the existing system, and also for alternatives, the Commission stressed the fundamental idea of lifelong education and the learning society. In the words of the Commission: Since studies can no longer constitute a definitive ‘whole’, handed out to and received by a student before he embarks on adult life, whatever the level of his intellectual equipment and the age at which he does so, educational systems must be though out afresh, in their entirety, as must our very conception of them.
If all that has to be learned must be continually re-invented and renewed, then teaching becomes education and more and more learning. If learning involves all of one’s life, in the sense of both time-span and diversity, and all of society, including its social and economic as well as its educational resources, then we must go even further than the necessary overhaul of ‘educational systems’ until we reach the stage of a learning society.. (Faure, 1972). This report laid the foundation for Third World Conference on Adult Education held in Tokyo (Japan) in 1972. At this Conference the concept of lifelong education was elaborately deliberated upon and the Christian missionary agencies adopted as a guiding principle for education (Cropley and Dave, 1978).
The Kernels of lifelong education are; there is need to continue learning throughout life; recognition of the formal, non-formal and informal subsystems of education as making effective contributions towards the education of citizens in different settings; integration of educational sub-systems; democratization and diversification of provisions. Formal education refers to the organized institutionalized school, college and university with stereotyped curriculum as we usually have them under the ministry of education. The non-formal means all organized education activities outside of the school network, while informal refers to random experiential education that takes place unintended.
Thus, the organized formal and non-formal should be made to interact with each other so as to endow an individual with the skill of lifelong learning which is a tool for attaining lifelong education. It is true that citizens acquire education from different settings (formal, non-formal and informal), but the integration of the different settings is fraught with difficulty. To integrate two or three things or systems would mean fusion of the systems so that each will lose its identity or to make each retain its form while still having relationship with others. In either way, it is difficult to integrate sub-systems of education the curricula of which are unknown.
For instance, the informal education is unorganized and therefore does not have any identifiable curriculum as to enable people know its content and coverage. The non-formal subsystem is organized as well as the formal. But the non-formal is offered by different bodies for different purposes using different methodologies. On the other hand, the formal sub-system usually has a well-stated curriculum, which forms the basis for its practice. To integrate two or three sub-systems requires working out equivalences so as to be able to say, for instance, that two-year undertaking in one sub-system is equivalent to one year in another system.
In Nigeria, when one graduates from a three-year National Certification of Education (NCE) course from a College of Education, the one enters a university to read Education degree for three years instead of four years. This means that the three-year programme of NCE is equivalent to the first year relevant programme of Education degree in a university. Also, after obtaining an Advanced Level Certificate in the General Certificate of Education (GCE), a candidate undergoes a three-year degree programme in a related discipline in a university.
Thus, the integration principle of lifelong education could only be tenable where equivalences have been worked out between formal and non-formal sub-systems. But it is very difficult and therefore untenable between the unorganized informal sub-system and organized formal and non-formal subsystems. The kernels ‘democratization and diversification’ are tenable as these involve providing for people according to their interests and needs. Thus, for teacher education, different interests and needs should be catered for.
The endorsement of lifelong education by UNESCO which Nigeria is a member formed the basis of the National Policy on Education (NPE), published in 1977, revised in 1981, 1998 and 2004. Hence it is declared that lifelong education will be the basis for the nation’s education policies (NPE, 2004:10). In this Policy Teacher Education is assigned a chapter along with other segments. Policy and Practice vis-à-vis Lifelong Education
In the Teacher Education Section the purpose is stated to include production of highly motivated, conscientious and efficient classroom teachers for all levels of education system; production of teachers with intellectual and professional background adequate for their assignment; and, to enhance teachers’ commitment to the teaching profession.
As a matter of fact, the essence of teacher education should be production of intellectually grounded and professionally committed teachers. It is very relevant that the policy realizes that no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers (NPE, 2004:64). However, the Policy contains the phrase ‘teacher training’. It should be realized that ‘training’ means acquisition of narrow mechanical skills.
The concept ‘teacher education’ should be preferred because it reflects production of educators who are academically and professionally well groomed to be able to translate theory of teaching into practice and vise-versa. Hence it is also stated that the curriculum is structured on the components of General Studies (basic academic subjects); Foundation Studies (Principles and Practice of Education); studies related to the student teachers’ subject of specialization or teaching subject and Teaching Practice. Other relevant declarations include free in-service courses for up-grading untrained teachers which the NTI, Kaduna will have overall responsibility for; and that in-service training to be developed as an integral part of continuing teacher education.
National Certificate of Education (NCE) which is awarded after a 3-year college of education course has been declared to be the minimum qualification for teaching in the primary schools. Consequently, many Colleges of Education offer in-service courses towards up-grading grade II teachers to NCE for the primary schools. These courses are differently tagged sandwich or part-time programmes. The NTI has been alive to its responsibility over part-time or sandwich programmes. Its distance education programmes make use of the print (written text) and the electronic media (radio, television and video tapes) towards successful offering of in-service teacher education in the country (Aghenta, 1992:191).
However, there is doubt over the successful use of the electronic media in the face of constant power failure all over the country. Teacher education, both pre-and in-service programmes are being offered in the Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics with different tags, such as, distance education, sandwich and part-time. Even the interest of the country over knowledge and skills of teachers could be seen through the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (1993), duty of which includes: determining what standards of knowledge and skill are to be attained by persons seeking to become registered as teachers…and raising those standards from time to time as circumstances may permit: classifying from time to time members of the teaching profession according to their level of training and qualification.
However, although commendable efforts are being made on teacher education in the country, both pre and in-service, yet there are many problems. Osuji (1995), Fabinu (2004:186) and Adesina (204:183), decry the non-cooperation of the governments (Federal and States) with teachers undergoing in-service courses. Aghenta (1992:196-197) and Mkpa (2000:111) identify the shortcomings in the sandwich B.A./B.Sc Education programmes versus the full-time programmes to include, entry qualification, course duration, reduction in the scope of course content, commercialization of examination grades, constraints of expensive handouts which must be bought by students.
Based on the shortcomings of the sandwich programmes, for instance in the B.A/B.Sc Education degree, Aghenta (1992:198) suggests that a body should be set up to streamline and harmonize them with full-time programmes; each university senate should take a critical look at the sandwich programmes and tighten up the entry requirements, lengthen the periods for completing the courses and enrich the course content to ensure parity between the full-time and sandwich programmes. Hence the NTI model should be emulated.
Lifelong Teacher Education Model
The features of lifelong education include vertical integration meaning education throughout life. Thus, the objectives of teacher education should include cultivating in the teachers the attitude of continuous learning. In-service programmes in the forms of seminars, workshops and conferences should be seen as a priority so as to offer teachers opportunities to refresh their knowledge and skills after the initial pre-service education. Fadina (2004:303) suggests that more on-the-job and in-service training should be provided to raise the standard of teachers in Nigeria. Olude (2004:226) sees in-service training as a veritable means of keeping teachers in Nigeria up-to-date in their areas, and as a lifelong education process for improvement of the teachers and the educational system.
Teachers’ attendance to in-service programmes should be seen as a necessity while governments (Federal and States) should see it as their responsibility to support teachers financially and morally. The part-time programmes should be run free of charge as stated in the NPE nor should hand-outs be sold. Aghenta (1992:196-197) and Mkpa (2000:119) suggest parity between regular full-time programme service/part time/sandwich programmes in terms of entry qualifications, course duration and content.
Mkpa (2000:120) strongly recommends adoption of the sandwich/NTI programmes, devoid of any form of bastardization and commercialization. Mkpa (2000:120) suggests innovations in the in-service programmes in Nigeria to include: I. Mentoring: This is strategy in which highly experienced teachers in a school are assigned a number of less-experienced ones to serve as their mentors or professional guides. This is like the Peer In-Service Approach (PISA) which is a self-help in-service approach that drastically reduces the cost of financing training programmes for teachers within local government areas.
Thus, the expertise of good/experienced teachers is utilized to up-date other teachers in neighbouring schools in the same area (UNESCO, 1997:30-31). II. Peer-Tutoring: A colleague approaches the other to obtain or seek professional assistance or guide on any aspect of his/her discipline where he/she is defective. In this way, the area of professional competence of each colleague benefits the other eventually leading to each member of staff growing academically and professionally. III. Subject Lead-Teacher Approach: A Senior Teacher of the same subject leads the other teachers, overseeing all curricular programmes associated with that subject. IV. Cluster Lead-Teachers Approach: Teachers in selected schools in a Local Government Area (five or less schools) come together to share experiences in certain subjects.
A very good teacher in a particular subject leads the others. This cluster enhances mutual assistance among them, hence self improvement without necessarily going to any training institution. In addition to these strategies, the different subject-teacher and discipline associations’ conferences, workshops, and seminars should be encouraged on local government, state and national basis. Usually, at these gatherings experts are invited to give talks after which the topics are elaborately discussed by all members. The next characteristic is horizontal integration, which means linking education and life. Teachers and student teachers should be made aware that much education takes place in the society outside the formal subsystem.
This awareness will enable teachers integrate or link up the school education with that of the out-of school. This integration involves bringing the society into the school and also bringing the school into the society. For instance, relevant resources in the society should be brought into the school to bring more reality and boost classroom teaching. Workshops, arts galleries, agricultural establishments and industrial set-ups in the society should be used to interact with the formal school teaching. Students’ practical teaching exercises should not be restricted to the formal classrooms, but should be extended to the out-of-school settings. Thus, the teachers will link school education with life in the broader society.
The third characteristic is pre-requisites for learning. This refers to having the disposition to continuing to learn or learning-how-to learn so as to enable one to be an autonomous learner. Aghenta (1992:198) recommends the NTI model of distance education with the students reporting to their teachers every weekend. Emphasis should be placed on the use of the library and news media (print and electronic) to acquire knowledge. Continuous assessment and self-assessment should be stressed so as to enable students monitor their achievements while undertaking independent educational pursuits. Thus, lifelong learning becomes a tool for lifelongeducation.
THE Challenges to Teacher Education
The major challenge facing teacher education in Nigeria is how to revitalize teaching and teacher education. There are currently three national agencies with some responsibilities for the teaching profession. These agencies are the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) which coordinates and monitors teacher education in all colleges of education, the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) which provides in-service training programmes and the Teachers’ Registration Council (TRC) which maintains a national register and code of conduct for teachers.
These bodies have been set up to aid the professionalization of teaching. However, there is a problem of attrition in the teaching force and dwindling enrolment in teacher education programmes. The reason for this is the lack of motivation for teachers. The teachers’ conditions of service are not enticing enough to attract and retain the best of brains in Nigeria. Because of the low social status accorded teachers in the country, our children do not wish to enroll and be trained as teachers. The few who enroll do so because they have no choice.
A very important challenge facing the government of Nigeria in the area of teacher education is how to motivate teachers in order to encourage new entrants to the profession and retain old ones. Motivation should include better pay (an improved Teachers’ Salary Scale) and improved condition of service for serving teachers as well as bursary and scholarship awards to education students at all levels. Another future challenge to teacher education in Nigeria is that of globalization.
The teachers of the future need to be trained and retrained in Information Communication Technology (ICT). The world is gradually becoming a global village. For our future teachers to have currency and operate effectively and efficiently, they must imbibe the new technologies and methodologies of the advanced countries of the world.
Moreover, owing to the various economic reforms of government in Nigeria, there had been some cutbacks in social Sector expenditure including those on education. Hence, there are gaps between resource requirement and resource allocated to institutions. The implication of this is that teachers must develop capability to improvise, to adapt, to be flexible and to experiment with new strategies in teaching. The future teachers must be developed to possess these capabilities.
As a result of the growing graduate unemployment in Nigeria, there is a need to give entrepreneurial training to all our graduating students. The teachers must not be excluded, they must first be educated in this direction for them to transfer the knowledge to the students. This implies that the future teacher education must include some entrepreneurial skill development courses that must be taken by all. The teachers must be trained not only in the act of self-development through continuous learning they must also be adequately prepared for self-employment.
There is an emerging issue of mid-streaming the early childhood education into the existing primary education system as packaged in the Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme. This will be a challenge to teachers at that level in future. There may be a need to make early childhood education, an area of specialization for future teachers just as we now have NCE in Primary Education.
Another crucial future challenge to teacher education in Nigeria is the issue of gender balancing. The general impression is that females form the majority of the teaching force but an empirical study (Aarons 2003) shows the contrary. The study found that 47% of Nigeria’s primary school teachers were females. The study further disclosed that female participation varied across the States from 21% to 82%.
The States that had low female participation in teaching were also found to have low girl-child participation in schooling. Teacher education may have to be more gender-fair by genderising the curriculum and textbooks as well as enticing more females to participate. Also another survey carried out across the nation on the perception of people about teaching as a profession showed that females have more positive attitude to teaching as a profession than males (NCCE, 1992). SUGGESTIONS FOR ENHANCING TEACHER EDUCATION
Having looked into the challenges of teacher education in Nigeria, it is pertinent at this juncture, to proffer some suggestions for improvement on current practice. In view of globalization and changing nature of the society, there is a need for periodic review of the teacher education curriculum. This review must be comprehensive and participatory of all stakeholders in education to ensure social relevance. Crucial areas such as entrepreneurial skills, information communication technology (ICT), HIV/ AIDS education, family life education and women and child’s right education must be integrated to the curriculum.
Also, there seems to be a social demand for greater emphasy on the mastery of trainees’ teaching subject area and less emphasy on the education foundation areas. This is not good enough. It contradicts the idea of professionalism. While one would like to support mastery of teaching subject areas but it should not be at the expense of educational principles and practice courses. The call for the elongation of the duration of teacher education by one year would be laudable only if the one year elongation would be devoted solely to internship and mastery of more principles of pedagogy.
To provide sound teacher education, there is the need to ensure that the teacher trainers in our teacher education institutions are themselves professionals. Towards this end, all colleges of education should be allowed to mount Postgraduate Diploma courses in collaboration with neighbouring faculties of education to professionalize all graduate teachers without teacher education. Any of such lecturers who refused to be developed should be given the option of retiring.
According to the National Policy on Education, the apex of teacher education programme should be undertaken at the Universities. The current trend of colleges of education running degree programmes is a misplacement of priority and merely for self-aggrandizement. Since the Colleges have no clear mandate to produce degree holders, some colleges merely affiliate with some universities to bastardize the degrees. While one recognizes the expertise of some colleges to produce degree holders, it is advisable that the proprietors of such Colleges should apply to NUC for upgrade to Pedagogic University status.
One college – Tai Solarin College of Education, Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State had led the way in this regard. Given the quality of your facilities and staff and with the concurrence of Oyo State government, Oyo State College of Education, Oyo could also demand for upgrading to Pedagogic university status. Accreditation of Academic Programmes/ Regular Monitoring and Evaluation: The periodic accreditation of programmes by the National Universities Commission/National Commission for Colleges of Education should be supported and strengthened for quality control and assurance, including the invitation to overseas accreditors and assessors. Scholarships, Awards, Bursaries and Loans.
It is desirable to have special scholarships and awards for teacher education in order to provide additional incentives for people who want to go into the teaching profession. Human Resources First – Staff Motivation and Development: There is need for general Improvement in the remuneration and conditions of service for teachers, especially at the Primary and secondary school levels. This will provide enough incentives in order to get the best from them. Continuously train and re-train teachers for effective and efficient performance. Conclusion
Universally, it is accepted that teachers are the major determinants of the quality of education. If the teachers in any nation are not committed, not inspired, not motivated, lazy, immoral and antisocial, the entire nation is doomed. If the teachers are not sound in their disciplines and they impart wrong information, they are not only worthless but dangerous. Teacher education is what makes the difference between a teacher and a cheater in the teaching job. If you want to predict what the next generation of a nation will be, see the kind of teachers trained and posted to the schools.
If Nigeria must re-engineer her economic, political and social systems, a great deal of thought must be given to the inputs and management of teacher education. The fundamental factor is that Nigerian teachers (at all levels) both serving and those in training must be highly motivated to participate in the developmental revolution which the nation is now embarking upon. Economic reforms – (NEEDS, SEEDS, LEEDS, NAPEP) and even other socio-political-economic reforms and educational innovative can only succeed if teachers are involved to help educate the masses on them.
The quality of teacher education must be able to equip the teachers with the relevant basic and specialized knowledge and capability to achieve the nation’s educational goals. The teacher must have sound knowledge of the social milieu in which he operates, its strengths and weaknesses, its problems, production, trades, indigenous science and technology, music and arts, government and administration, language and communication. In fact, the teachers’ education must be total and all-round in nature to be optimally useful. The teacher must be encyclopedic.
Teacher education requires special consideration in any deliberation on education because no organized education can rise above the quality of its teachers. Consequently, among the purpose of teacher education in the National Policy on Education is to provide teachers with the intellectual and professional background adequate for their assignment. As it is declared in the NPE that lifelong education will be the basis of education policy and practice in Nigeria, the most effective way to achieve this intention is through teacher education.
In the country, regular full-time and in-service/sandwich programmes are offered. Much effort has been made in these programmes. But there is need to streamline and harmonize the full-time and the part-time/sandwich programmes so as to ensure parity in entry qualification requirements, course content and course duration. In addition, governments, teacher education institutions and teachers’ professional associations should join hands in teacher education so as to afford opportunities to teachers to constantly up-date their knowledge and skills through different innovative approaches.
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