Opinion

Addressing Teachers Shortfall: what government can do to stabilize basic Education in Nigeria

The National Personnel Audit has revealed that Nigeria has a shortage of 277,537 teachers at the basic level. The audit was conducted on both public and private education in the country.

The country over the years has been known for its poor standard and welfare of teachers. The student’s ability to learn is impeded due to a lack of qualified teachers. Based on the report, the efficiency of teaching and learning is measured by assessing the quality of teachers in the school system.
Addressing Teachers Shortfall: what government can do to stabilize basic Education in Nigeria
A report in December 2019 showed that 14 states have a lower percentage of qualified teachers than the national average of 65 percent. Kebbi, Lagos, and Jigawa are included in the states with the highest number of unqualified teachers in public schools.
States with the lowest percentage of qualified teachers are Kebbi with 49 percent; Lagos, 53 percent; Jigawa, 57 percent; Gombe 60 percent; Zamfara, 62 percent; Imo 63 percent and Abia 64 percent.
Oyo state has 77 percent of qualified teachers making it the highest in the country. This is followed by the FCT, Benue, and Plateau states with 76% each.
A qualified teacher at the basic level is one that possesses a Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE), a degree in education, or a subject with either NCE or certificate in education.
The rising need for teachers in the country is resulting from an increase in the number of children enrolled in schools. The pupil-teacher ratio has not yet achieved a balance as it frequently exceeds the recommended levels. The pupil to trained teacher ratio in Nigeria is said to be at least 150:1 in 25% of schools in the country.
Also, teacher recruitment has not been able to keep pace with the rate of teachers retiring or changing professions.
Teachers are known for being underpaid and are hardly provided with sufficient resources for the effective administration of their duties. Borno local government teachers in December 2020 lamented that they are yet to benefit from the N18,000 minimum wage implemented during the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Increased investment in the education sector is the only means to bring about success in recruiting, training, and retaining more teachers.
President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed in January 2020 that the government is prepared to engage qualified teachers to increase the teacher-to-pupil ratio in the country. This is, however, yet to be addressed.
The teacher recruitment has to go side-by-side with the training of teachers to make for an effective system. The teachers should be well capable of offering standard quality education to students. If the focus is only centered on recruiting and retaining qualified teachers, requisite knowledge will not be impacted to the children thereby impeding learning.
More citizens will apply for the teaching position if the salary is adjusted. The amount paid to teachers is quite meager when compared to other professions. This has led to the teaching job being considered a poor vocation. If this is not addressed, the sector will continue to attract unqualified candidates based on what the system can afford.
A study of 39 countries from 1995 to 2005 showed that a 15% increase in teacher’s pay led to a 6% to 8% increase in student performance.
Also, the increase in demand for teachers should not bring about compromise in the minimum standards for recruitment and qualification.
Financial compensation is also a major means of attracting new teachers and retaining veteran educators. When teachers are adequately compensated for their work, they feel more valued in the workplace and experience less stress.
Mr. Hamid Bobboyi, Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) disclosed that there is an urgent need to prioritize teachers’ training. Fundings for the teaching sector should be sustained to help improve the quality of education. Investment in the sector largely contributes to the advancement of the nation.
There is a need for an increase in domestic spending to close the funding gap. To achieve this, the government must be willing to allocate the recommended 20% of government spending on education. Education spending must also accommodate resources to address the shortage of trained teachers.

Peace Omenka

I'm a news reporter/ researcher. My major expertise is developing feature stories around trending issues.
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