Concerted efforts to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools in Nigeria, received a boost recently as parents, teachers, researchers, and other stakeholders called on government at all levels in the country to accord top priority to investing in training and re-training of teachers.
The plea was made by participants at an online stakeholders’ interactive session on challenges facing education in Nigeria.
At the event which was organized by the Concerned Parents and Educators (CPE), a Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and held via zoom, top government functionaries in the education sector in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun states as well as researchers, seasoned educators and other stakeholders, arrived at a consensus that only improved investment in teacher quality training programme would ameliorate the problems bedeviling education in Nigeria.
Speaking on the theme, “Preparing teachers for education reforms”, the Commissioner for Education in Oyo State, Mr. Olasunkanmi Olaleye said the state has started ramping up the quality of its teachers by employing the best hands and equally paying them better than other civil servants.
“We are careful about the quality of teachers being recruited to serve in our schools in Oyo State. Recently, we recruited 500 First Class degree holders as teachers; there is also continuous training that will promote the growth of education sector. Teachers in Oyo State are respected as our teachers earn seven per cent higher than their counterparts in civil services,” Olaleye said.
His counterpart in Lagos state, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, underscored the need to address issues in the education sector from the point of view of solutions. She said the Lagos State government had begun by investing in regular training for its teachers.
“The problems are there; we should always approach the problems in education sector from the point of solution. We cannot change the country’s curriculum, but we can change and influence our teaching methodology. We have decided to ensure all our teachers are up-to-date. School leadership is critical, many schools are also in terrible state,” she said.
Ogun State Special Adviser on Education, Mrs. Ronke Soyombo, called for a roundtable meeting for stakeholders to review the quality of education in the country, while Technical Adviser, Reading and Numeracy Activities Project, Dr Mikail Barau, advised teachers to invest in gaining requisite knowledge and skills that would inspire learners.
A motivational speaker and former presidential candidate, Mr. Fela Durotoye, said government could not be left to fix education on its own. He said Nigerians must render support to the government, adding that “when custodians arise in the education sector, greatness will occur. It is the quality of intellectual capital of a nation that makes it great.”
Durotoye said further that “the country needs great teachers to build quality education,” he said.
Other speakers at the event were Dr. Pearl Onukwugha, an educationist; Dr. Modupe Adefeso-Olateju, the Managing Director, The Education Partnership
Centre, who called for teachers to be encouraged.
In his contributions, Onukwugha said: “teachers need to be encouraged by all even as they should be given opportunities for regular professional development training. Adefeso-Olateju in her speech called for recognition for teachers. According to her, teachers should be recognized as the most important variables that influence students.