By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA
The Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, Monday, said the federal government has in the past 13 years, expended a total of N57,165,751,416.12 to states for teachers’ professional development programmes in the last 13 years.
Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, made this known at the National Conference on Teacher Professional Development on Monday in Abuja.
Bobboyi said the conference, which has its theme as ‘Transforming Teacher Professional Development in Nigeria for Improved Learning Outcomes in Basic Education’, testified to the Federal Government’s commitment to shore up the level of knowledge in the sub-sector.
The UBEC boss, however, expressed concern over the poor number of teachers that have undergone training programmes in recent years, even as he challenged state governments to live up to expectations in teachers’ capacity-building schemes.
“The UBEC 2022 NPA reveals that 67.5% of teachers in public schools and 85.3% in private schools have not attended any in-service training in 5 years (2018-2022). This prevailing situation has implications for quality education delivery.
” The Federal Government, through UBEC, has contributed a total of N57,165,751,416.12 as assistance to the states for teacher professional development between 2009 and 2022.
” This is grossly inadequate to cover the training needs of the teachers. The states that are being assisted have come to depend largely on the Federal Government fund for their TPD, with little or no contribution. This is a major challenge in assuring quality learning outcomes at basic education level, ” Bobboyi said.
Speaking further, the UBEC Executive Secretary lamented the poor learner/pupil ratio in Nigerian schools, saying such negative development has resulted in poor learning outcomes.
” The following data were returned from the UBEC 2022 National Personnel Audit of basic education institutions in the country. There were 177,027 basic education institutions with a total enrolment of 47,010,008, made up of 7,234,695 in ECCDE, 31,771,916 in primary schools and 8,003,397 in junior secondary schools. For teacher supply, there were 354,651 teachers/caregivers in the ECCDE centres, 915,593 in primary schools and 416,291 in junior secondary schools.
” The learner/pupil ratio varies from State to State, but none is within the recommended ratio. There are States where the learner/pupil ratio is as high as 1:100 pupils. Nigeria is yet to attain 100% qualified teachers in primary schools. It is sad to find that some of the people teaching in schools are holders of the First School Leaving Certificate, Basic Education Certificate, Senior Secondary School Certificate, Associate Certificate in Education, and Diploma Certificate.
“It is more about the quality of learning (knowledge, skills, attitudes and values) acquired and the ability of learners to apply this as they journey through life. Since it is the teacher who facilitates learning, it goes without saying that for him to perform this task effectively, he needs to attain a certain level of competency at the end of his pre-service training and build on this continuously throughout his teaching career. This brings to the fore the significance of Teacher Professional Development, ” Bobboyi posited.
He challenged the conference participants and resource persons to come up with new ways to boost learning in basic schools across the country.
” It is time for us to review our practice and approaches and ensure that the main objective for the introduction and implementation of TPD which is improved teacher and learner performance is achieved for the benefit of the learners and the nation at large,” Bobboyi added.
Declaring the two-day conference open, Permanent Secretary, the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Andrew David Adejo, expressed the readiness of the Federal Government to implement programmes aimed at boosting learning outcomes in the school.
Adejo said the conference was in line with the vision of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in improving the education fortunes of the country, adding that it would get the full attention of the incoming Minister of Education.
While saying that teachers are the foundation of the education system, Adejo called on states to improve on t teacher development schemes and the recruitment process.
“We have no option to improve the quality of the learners by equipping the teachers… We must make sure teaching does not remain a spare-tyre profession…. as a last resort. We know there are challenges and UBEC has been trying to reduce them but the states are not moving at the same space with UBEC,” Adejo said.
The Permanent Secretary also challenged relevant authorities to ensure the teaching of entrepreneurial skills from the basic level of education.
The conference which witnessed various presentations by resource persons, including a keynote address by Mr Vincent Katalabo of Cambridge Education, also had a panel discussion as well as a Questions and Answers session.