•As 218,064 admission spaces in education are unfilled
By Adesina Wahab
While it is not possible to learn without a teacher, the attitude of many Nigerians to studying education courses in tertiary institutions seems to make it look as if there is no need for teachers.
This unfortunate situation is not limited to young people seeking higher education, but some parents and guardians opposing their wards and children who want to go for education courses.
While this is happening, many admission seekers do waste a lot of time pursuing courses they might not be admitted for, while admission spaces for education courses lie fallow. For instance, in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, and the subsequent admission of students into tertiary institutions in the country, hundreds of thousands of admission spaces were unfilled in education related courses and schools. According to a document that emanated from the Policy Meeting held recently by the Board, faculties of education in Nigerian universities had the second highest admission quota of 111, 601 after faculties of sciences.
However, only 95, 317 candidates applied into the faculties and 80,857 admitted. Those admitted were over 80 percent of the applicants and that was the highest admission ratio.
For Colleges of Education in the country, (state, private and federal), 235,240 admission spaces were available in 2020, but due to the low number of applicants seeking admission to the colleges, only 47,920 spaces were filled, leaving a huge gap of 187,320 admission spaces vacant.
Causes and solutions
Delivering the 2019 Faculty of Education Annual Lecture at the Lagos State University, LASU, former Minister of Education, Prof. Mrs Ruquayyat Ahmed Rufai, blamed the development on the bad perception of teaching by the society.
“When the society sees education and teaching as a profession for the dregs of the society or the never do well, what do you expect? However, we must take some steps to redress the situation. The cut off points for education courses must be jerked up. Don’t let education courses be for the rejected. “Training of teachers should be given top priority and special scholarship be provided as well. We must also give special attention to the training of female teachers. The period of teaching practice should be extended to a year too,” she suggested among others.
The Registrar of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, also harped on the welfare of teachers and making teaching truly professional.
“We appreciate the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is not toying with the welfare of teachers and that we saw in the welfare packages he announced for them. When teachers are well paid and they have career progression that can take them to the top, they will discharge their duties effectively.
“Also at the TRCN, we won’t allow quacks to have a respite. Our Professional Qualifying Examinations, PQE, are meant to certificate, licence and brush up our teachers to meet world standards and we are already seeing the results. Teaching is a noble profession and those seeing it otherwise are making a mistake,” he stated.