Recognizing Nigerian Teachers on International Teachers Day – A Memoir

Recognizing Nigerian Teachers on International Teachers Day – A Memoir
World Teachers’ Day, also known as International Teachers Day, is an international day held annually on October 5. The 2019 International Teachers Day Celebration Memoir takes a look at the perspective of Nigerian Teachers. In this article, the current state and future of Teachers is Examined.

Held annually on 5 October since 1994, World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This Recommendation sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions. The Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel was adopted in 1997 to complement the 1966 Recommendation by covering teaching and research personnel in higher education.

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, and the dedicated target (SDG 4.c) recognizing teachers as key to the achievement of the Education 2030 agenda, WTD has become the occasion to mark progress and reflect on ways to counter the remaining challenges for the promotion of the teaching profession. World Teachers’ Day is co-convened in partnership with UNICEF, UNDP, the International Labour Organization, and Education International.

The major importance of the World Teachers Day is to celebrate World Teachers’, the UNESCO and Education International (EI) mounts a campaign each year to help give the world better understanding of teachers and the role they play in the development of students and society. They partner with the private sector such as media organizations to achieve this purpose.

Nigerian Teachers

A Nigerian Female Teacher Assists a Child to Learn the English Alphabets. Courtesy, Plus NG.

From the small to the top, the challenges facing Nigerian Teachers and Education in Nigeria includes: inadequate funding, poor societal perception of teacher education; lack of commitment among Education stakeholders; problem of attrition in teaching; lack of motivation; unethical behavior of some education bodies and more.

The Nigerian teacher is resilient and motivated to keep impacting knowledge regardless of the harsh circumstances. Being a Nigerian from birth, I have felt the impact of teachers all my life. Painful enough, most of the teachers who provided the framework for our growth are those we must have lost contact with, probably because of location and other issues. We have to acknowledge the hard truth that no country on earth will have any Human Resource capacity without the hard-work of the Hardworking Teachers.

It has been stated that teachers are one of the most influential forces for equity, access and quality in education, for this reason there should be a high placed much emphasis on Human Capital Development. Over the years, Educational Institutions have become targets, ranging from kidnappings, killings, arson, vandalism and hooliganism. Conflict and natural disasters have also led to schools being closed down and converted to camps for Internally Displaced Persons thereby disrupting schooling. These all are scary situations facing the Nigerian Teacher and Nigerian Education System.

The Future of the Nigerian Teacher and Nigerian Education System

What is the future of the Nigerian Teacher? This Question is not a rhetorical one, it has never been. The future is always here! But how will it be attained. The Nigerian Teacher, has groomed many successful humans across the globe. Medical Doctors, Lawyers, Technologists, Inventors, Business Tycoons, Musicians, Lawmakers, Politicians, Journalists, Teachers (Lecturers at the Tertiary Level), and many more individuals have all passed through a Teacher!

As the 2019 International Day Recognition of Teachers is observed here are some steps Teachers in Nigeria can be honored. They include:

1. Increased Salary Payment: According to FixusJobs.com, they are at the very bottom of the salary scale for teachers in Nigeria. The average salary for Nigerian teachers in primary schools is 15,000 Naira. The high school teachers get more?—N37,000. According to naijaquest.com basic teachers salary in Lagos is N57,000, and in Abuja, the wages of teachers can reach N60,000. mysalaryscale.com claims that the average wage in the salary structure of teachers in Nigeria is N47,000.

Wages of primary schools teachers are in the lowest point of teachers salary structure, their average salary is N15,000. As for private school teachers, their salary level is around N67,000. There are also several prestigious private schools, where the salary level is much higher than in average schools.

Ayoola Mobayo, a Digital Business and Mobile Tech Management Expert opined his views on this matter: “I seriously think Teachers should have the highest take home, In-fact they’re so Invaluable.

Unfortunately, teachers salary structure in Nigeria is not well developed and small wages don’t attract young specialists. In this situation, many young teachers decide to change profession in search of bigger salaries. As a result, many schools around the country, and especially in rural areas lack enough teachers. It is difficult to say how the situation can be changed in the future. We see several new governmental programs, designed to raise the wages and attract youth to teaching profession. There are also a big number of teachers who feel very enthusiastic about their work, who consider it as a way to help children, but in any case, the government should not forget the importance of this profession, and to support teachers, because education of citizens is one of the main aspects of development for the whole country.

2. More Appreciation: Michael (Mike) O’Connor of the Service Professionals Network stated opined: “We Need to Appreciate Teachers More!”. Ask yourself when was the last time you sent your teacher an appreciative note, a tip, a gift, a letter or even a hug or any positive remarkable thing. Teachers are humans too, they deserve the Love and Commendation from you too. Yes, you can brighten up their day. Doing this will go a long way to impact much more on your teachers and make their humanitarian services flow more easy.

3. Improvement on Teachers Learning Scheme: When the Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai raised the alarm on the abysmal poor quality of primary school teachers in the state who sat for a test ordinarily administered to primary four pupils. Of the 33,000 teachers who wrote the examination, 21,780 representing 66 per cent of the total number, failed. If this same test were to be administered to teachers in some other parts of the country, the result may not be much different. The level to which our teachers, especially at the primary level of education, have sunk is disheartening. Urgent measures ought to be taken by all the relevant stakeholders, with the government leading the way, to correct it.

4. Investment in Education: The best way out of poverty is through investment in education, especially those who deliver it. Why is Nigeria’s case so different? We must begin to quickly retrace our steps, starting with the commitment of the present administration as indicated by the Education Minister. The size of the budget for education must significantly improve next year as a first sure sign of our resolve to change and do things differently. The Nigerian Government must put high priority on allocating high resources in Education. For instance, the Budgetary provision for education in the 2019 budget has again fallen below the 15 per cent to 20 per cent minimum recommended for developing countries by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

On December 19 presented N8.83tn estimates to the National Assembly as this year’s budget. The executive summary of the proposals, according to The Punch check on Thursday in Abuja, showed that the education sector got N620.5bn (about 7.05 per cent), marginal raise over the total of N605.8bn budgeted for the sector in 2018. Over some years, the country’s funding for education continued to rotate between five per cent, six per cent and seven per cent of the national budget.

During President Buhari’s visit to France in November 2018, he assured the Nigerian community there that education would be better funded this year. He had said, “We are currently reviewing investments in the entire infrastructure of the country like road, rail and power, including investing more in education. We will certainly need to do more in education.” But here’s the Shocker, in the 2019 budget, the Federal Government still stuck with the five to seven per cent region.

The country budgeted N398bn on education in 2017. In 2018, Buhari initially proposed N496.9bn, but it was later raised to about N605.8bn by the National Assembly. Incidentally, the budget was later cut as part of the virement for the Independent National Electoral Commission to prepare for February’s polls. Reacting to this year’s allocation, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said that it had vindicated the union’s consistent demand that education should be adequately funded in the country. He said, “The budget (N620.5bn) is to prove to you that the ruling class in Nigeria does not prioritise education. This Punch Edition has more here.

Conclusion

To be honest and realistic, all wise nations prioritise teachers and matters pertaining to their welfare so that they can continue to reap dividends from their very important exertions. Nigeria must continue to put great emphasis on teachers and the work that they do so that it will be well with our youths and the country.

In all of the countries where giant strides have been made in the development and rapid industrialization, the prioritization of the teaching profession has been a cardinal policy. Check the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Singapore and China, the strategy has been largely the same: putting great accent on the training and remuneration of teachers and providing everything that is required for the proper education of children.

In Nigeria, the story was not always this dismal. In pre-independence times, right up to the First Republic, the teacher was a very significant and respected member of the community. This enviable profile reflected in the quality of those recruited into the profession and more importantly, impacted positively on the amount of sacrifices they made for the betterment of their wards and charges.

Gradually and ironically, with improved earnings from oil, the teacher began to lose his place in the scheme of things in the country. Matters concerning him and his work environment were consigned to the back quarters and right before our very eyes, the teacher diminished in importance. As a result, no one who had ambition and thought highly of himself wanted anything to do with the profession as it became a last resort and dumping ground of sorts. This is one of the reasons we are where we are on all indices of development.

Do I Join This 2019 International Teachers Day Celebration?

You would ask that. I know. Yes, I join the movement. Nigeria has only two million registered teachers?—?TRCN. The Federal Government has said that although Nigeria has two million qualified and registered teachers, the country is in need of 250,000 teachers annually to cater to the growing population of pupils.

Here is my Post:

Dear Life,

To all the teachers that made us who and what we are today, words can’t express how I feel when I think of all the sacrifices done for me.

I’m grateful for the patient and loving efforts bestowed to me by you by his Grace.

Wherever you may be, may blessings continue to follow you and your loved ones.

Blessings!

Keep Appreciating your Teachers and have yourself Happy International Teachers Day!

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