Okon Bassey in Uyo
A total of 33,259 teachers have been officially licensed or registered to practice as professional teachers by the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) in Akwa Ibom State as at October 31, 2017.
A breakdown of the figure showed that 19,812 were registered under the primary school category, 8,300 registered under the secondary school category, 299 for tertiary institution category, while others with professional certificates but not practicing stood at 4,848.
The State Coordinator of the TRCN, Mr. Aletor Omonzokpia, who disclosed this in an interview in his office in Uyo, put the response to the professional registration and license of teachers in the state at more than 80 per cent.
He explained that the professional registration covered teachers with the minimum qualification of the National Certificate in Education (NCE) and others with higher degrees in the teaching profession, saying that the council had stopped the registration of teachers with lower qualifications like the grade two teacher since 2007.
Omonzokpia explained that the council was established by the Federal Government Act 31 of 1993 and Cap 33 of 2004 as amended to regulate the teaching qualification in its entire ramification in the country.
He however regretted that the response of private school teachers to the registration exercise with the TRCN in the state is low. “Where we have problem is the private schools. Since inception we have been inviting them for series of meetings but they don’t want to key into the exercise because of the cheap labour they employed.
“Most of the teachers engaged in private schools are not teachers because they are not qualified though they have the flare to teach and talk. If you are not born again you cannot ask somebody to be born again.”
He said 2018 has been given as dateline that any teacher in the country without professional teaching qualification and that has not been licensed with the TRCN will not be allowed to practice as a teacher in any school.
For that to be achieved, he said there is the need for the National Assembly to pass the necessary legislations to back it up, adding that though the council was established by law, there are still areas that need legislation to strengthen them.
On the handling of erring teachers registered by council, he said such cases are referred to the Teachers Investigative Panel at the state level after which the report is sent to the Teachers Tribunal in Abuja for determination.
“If there is need for the teacher to be suspended, the tribunal will take that decision, if the offense warrants sack or dismissal the tribunal will equally take that decision.”