…Says unqualified/unregistered teachers are cheats
…Adamawa, Yobe, Borno excluded for security reasons
By Adesina Wahab
Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, will today begin a nationwide screening of teachers in public and private primary and secondary schools, with a view to weeding out unqualified/unregistered persons from the system.
The exercise, according to the Registrar/Chief Executive of the council, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, would start in 33 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
According to Ajiboye, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno are excluded for now because of security challenges in the areas.
He added that the first phase would end on March 17 for an assessment of the situation, followed by constant monitoring.
Ajiboye also frowned on the situation where some states see possessing TRCN certification as an added advantage while employing teachers when the certification ought to be the first criterion.
He said with the December 31, 2019 deadline given by the Federal Government for teachers to get registered with the council lapsing nearly two months ago, nothing would stop the council from getting rid of quacks from the teaching profession.
He said: “We recently held a meeting of our technical team and we have got the data to work with. We are using the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, National Personnel Audit 2018 as our baseline. We will start visiting schools in the last week of February. It is not going to be a once and for all thing.
“We are constituting teams in all the states of the federation and Abuja. Apart from our staff and others, the team in each state will include a Professor of Education from a university in that state or the Provost of a College of Education in that state. Our teams may go out daily for, maybe, two weeks and then assess the situation and go out again.”
On what they would be asking teachers during visits to schools, Ajiboye said teachers would only need to show their Teachers Licence and evidence of registration with the TRCN
“In that regards, we have since written to Commissioners for Education across the country, Teaching Service Commissions, State Universal Basic Education Boards, chapters of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, among many other relevant stakeholders, to sensitise teachers on the exercise,” he explained.
On what would happen to any person found not qualified or registered as a teacher, Ajiboye noted that the person would be told on the spot and could be treated as a cheat depending on developments.
Number of teachers that could be affected
According to figures from the Federal Ministry of Education in 2016, there were over 1.5 million teachers in public and private primary and secondary schools in the country.
The figure is made.up of 764,596 in primary schools, 292,080 in Junior Secondary School and 398,275 in Senior Secondary School levels, while the number of pupils and students being attended to during the period is put at 24, 893,442
However, Ajiboye stressed that going by figures from UBEC and other sources, the number of teachers in the country could not now be less than two million and that no fewer than 400,000 were unqualified one way or the other.
He said the country would need about 250,000 teachers annually for the next few years to be able to handle the over 13 million out of school children in the country.
Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Otunba Adesina Adedoyin, said teaching should not be turned to a dumping ground for anybody who is jobless.
Expressing the support of the union for the TRCN and the government on the matter, Adedoyin said: “Teaching cannot be a dumping ground. Lawyers go to Law Schools and medical doctors go to medical schools and do the necessary internships. We must ensure professionalism in teaching. The norms, ethos and passion must be there. Ensuring that qualified persons are in teaching must go across the board.
“One of the ways we should adopt in order to get things right is to ensure that people without education background are not employed as teachers in the first instance. If such persons are already in the system, let them go for higher degrees and diploma or even certificate courses in education.”
Private school operators’ view
Commenting on the development, an ex-officio member of the executive council of Lagos State chapter of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS, Alhaji Wasiu Adumadeyin, said the association was in support of the step.
Adumadeyin, who is the immediate past President of NAPPS in the state, said: “NAPPS is in support of TRCN policy of professionalism of teaching profession but we ask for an extension to enable all our teachers to comply.”
Meanwhile, the Head of School, HoS, T-Square Schools, Ahmmadiya, Lagos, Mrs Abiodun Adebusuyi, described her support for the council as “partial.”
Speaking with Vanguard, she asked whether the council was not out to raise money for the government through registration of teachers, adding that she was yet to be convinced of the value the council would add to teaching and education in the country
She said, “the council has been existing for years without enforcing its mission; maybe they are just realising the need to enforce it now. But I don’t see it beyond using the Council to raise money for the government.”