With the global recognition of the critical role teachers play, this year’s World Teachers’ Day, reaffirms the value of the teaching profession and promoting the emergence of young and vibrant teaching force. As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the day, some teachers explained why it has become imperative to reposition the profession for optimal performance and address the huge infrastructural gap to boost learning. Funmi Ogundare and Hammed Shittu report
With the theme: ‘Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession’, UNESCO/ILO, UNICEF, UNDP and Educational International recognise the importance of placing value on the teaching mission, while calling on governments to make it a profession of first choice for young people.
The global bodies also invited teacher unions, private sector employers, school principals, parent-teacher associations, school based management committees, education officials and teacher trainers to share their wisdom and experiences in promoting the emergence of a vibrant teaching force for lifelong learning opportunities.
At the celebration held at the Sports’ Complex, University of Lagos, the Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo used the opportunity to honour some teachers that won the 2019 President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award (PTSEA), for their exemplary performance in the sector.
The were: Agnes Iyabo Elusaki, from Oriwu Senior Model College, Ikorodu, Lagos, who emerged the winner of 2019 best teacher award for public school category. She was rewarded with a brand new Hyundai Sonata car. Pius Bababo Ikuseyidunmi and Adeniyi Oluwasegun won consolation prizes.
While addressing teachers, she said the feat has come as a reciprocation of the state government’s priority attention to the sector, adding that the state is equipped with professionals to attain greater heights in delivering quality education to the future leaders.
She commended them for their passion, cooperation and dedication to their jobs, as well as commitment to the growth of the sector, saying, “no society can achieve meaningful development in delivering quality education without placing premium value on its teachers.
“I must confess that only Almighty God can reward your efforts and pray that your labour will not be in vain. Considering your roles, contributions and importance, our teachers must receive and enjoy the rewards for their labour first here on earth and then later in heaven.”
The commissioner assured teachers that the profession would be made more attractive by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who has promised to increase budgetary allocation to education; deploy technology driven template to drive the sector; employ more teachers; upscale regular training of teachers, as well as create a conducive teaching and learning environment.
She also commended the executive members of the state branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) for ensuring proper cohesion, solidarity and welfare of teachers.
Adefisayo noted the appropriateness of this year’s theme, ‘Young Teachers, the Future of the Profession’ on the need to take a critical look at the teaching profession from yesterday, today and tomorrow’s perspectives.
“This is for the purpose of repositioning it for optimal performance in this present age that global attention is being shifted from resource-based economy to knowledge-based economy which is inherent in every man.”
The President of NUT, Nasir Idris in his remarks, appealed to federal and state governments to prioritise the welfare and other things that enhance the working condition of teachers.
Also, as part of activities to commemorate the Teachers’ Day, Bridge International Academies launched its TeachersTransformLives campaign, aimed at raising awareness of how teachers can be well supported and developed to help children even in most challenging places.
The Managing Director, Mr. Dapo Olarinmoye said teachers’ impact on students is dependent on the kind of training and support they are able to get, adding that if the government is paying more attention to the profession, in years to come, the country will be producing people who can successful shape its future.
“There are several children who cannot read or write, but if teachers are given the right training, the children will be better for it,” he said, while appealing to teachers to ensure that the training they received impacts the next generation.
The Chief Executive Officer, TeamMasters Global, Mr. Rotimi Eyitayo stressed the need for democratization of the teaching profession, saying that it must be made attractive to quality teachers especially in colleges of education.
“The substance of the teachers is what makes the colleges of education great and this will transform to their delivering value. We need to attract the right people to the profession who will see it as mandatory to be able to defend a coming generation.”
He likened the role of teachers to those of farmers, doctors and soldiers, saying that they are to nurse children to maturity.
Eyitayo said for teachers who have been trained and motivated, their potential will automatically turn to performance, adding that they also need to value themselves, be and look themselves to be able to deliver the future.
“Teachers are transforming lives, just as the end justifies the means; the teachers are the end to that means.”
In Ilorin, the Kwara State wing of NUT used the occasion to appeal to the the state government to urgently address the huge infrastructural gap in the state schools so as to boost learning.
The State Chairman, Alhaji Toyin Salisu said the current situation of infrastructural facilities in both primary and secondary schools in the state are alarming and can be a threat to the quality of teaching if not urgently addressed by the government.
According to him, “it is disgusting that many of the school buildings are in dilapidated forms and with acute shortage of furniture for students, pupils and teachers.
“There is absence of relevant instructional materials to provide effective teaching and learning, lack of motivation of teachers and other teacher-related matters need government’s attention.
The chairman also decried the delay in the promotion of teachers in public service, saying, “the teachers in Kwara are worried over lack of promotion at both at State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and State Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) and this is affecting the service delivery on the part of the students.”
He advised the state government to urgently address the challenges facing the teaching profession in the state to ensure maximum output from teachers, adding that government should ensure prompt payment of salary arrears and allowances owed SUBEB staff in the state.
He also urged the state government to settle the over five months’ salary of sunset teachers employed by the immediate past administration a few months before its exit and that the training and re-training of teachers should be given priority to improve the quality of education.
He assured the state government of the determination of the union to ensure better service delivery.
In his remarks, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who was represented by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Honorable Yakubu Danladi, said the legislators and the executives will collaborate to find a lasting solution to the challenges affecting the teaching profession.
He advised teachers to continue to support the administration by ensuring that quality teaching is given to students so as to move education forward in the state.