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Ex-education minister, Rufa’i decries shortage of professional teachers in public schools

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A former Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i says over 30 per cent of teachers at the nation’s primary, junior and senior secondary school levels are unqualified.

Education Minister, Ruquayattu Rufa’i

Rufa’i made this known in Lagos on Tuesday at the “2019 Distinguished Guest Lecture Series of the Faculty of Education, Lagos State University (LASU)’’.

The former minister delivered a lecture titled; “Teachers’ Preparation for Nigerian Schools: Adequacy, Effectiveness and Impact’’.

As a way out, she said that the country would need to make a conscious effort to recruit 250,000 qualified teachers annually in the next few years to cushion the effect.

“The Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria believes that Nigeria has only two million teachers and as a result of this, it is said that the country will need about 250,000 qualified teachers per year in the next few years.

“This is due to the large population as well as the high number of out-of-school children, estimated at over 13 million and requires teachers to support their educational needs,’’ she said.

According to her, reports revealed that out of 243,276 teachers at the primary school level, only 162,909 are qualified and at the junior secondary school, only 67,037 out of the 92,769 are qualified.

She further disclosed that at the senior secondary school level, only slightly above 50 per cent of the 117,651 teachers, which is about 65,357 are qualified.

“The situations in some states, especially in the north are even direr due to insurgency and high rate of out-of-school children.

“A report commissioned by the new governor of Yobe State shows that 40 per cent of the teachers in the state has no teaching qualification,’’ she said.

Rufa’i explained that with the prevailing situation of teachers in the country, it would be difficult for Nigeria to meet its educational objectives.

According to her, this is because adequate teachers are very critical to students’ learning as well as attaining the goals of education.

She said that what the situation required was the need for urgent and adequate attention to be given to the preparation of teachers.

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“In line with these, government at all levels in the country should have it as a matter of policy and priority to pay attention to the preparation of teachers for the school system,’’ the don said.

According to her, this can be achieved through strong political will in supporting the preparation of teachers and must include availability and timely release of funds meant for education.

Rufa’i noted that there should also be limited interference in the recruitment of teachers and administrative processes in schools by the political class.

“Professional approaches to educational administration should, therefore, be a key priority as we seek to enhance the preparation and utilisation of teachers,’’ she said.

In his welcome address, Prof. Yemi Akinkuotu, Dean, Faculty of Education, LASU, said that the title of the lecture was very apt.

Akinkuotu noted that this was because Nigeria was at a period when almost every level of its education system was affected by ill-preparation, inadequate funding and bad maintenance culture.

He said it was only natural that only teachers who were well-equipped, motivated and who had mastery of the subject matter, could be effective in the classrooms.

Prof. Rafiu Okuneye, Chairman, Organising Committee of the lecture series, appreciated sponsors for collaborating with the faculty in ensuring the success of the event.


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