Coun­cil will re­in­force tri­bunal to deal with teacher mis­con­duct - Prof Aji­boye

The Regis­trar of Teach­ers Reg­is­tra­tion Coun­cil of Nige­ria (TRCN), Pro­fes­sor Josiah Oluse­gun Aji­boye, says teach­ers be­hav­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ately in schools would have their li­censes with­drawn and pros­e­cuted where nec­es­sary.

Daily Trust - - EDUCATION - By Mis­bahu Bashir

African teach­ers un­der the aus­pices of Africa Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­i­ties (AFTRA) re­cently met in Abuja. What is the out­come?

AFTRA com­prises of reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties and teach­ing coun­cils in Africa and other stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing teacher unions. The con­fer­ence brought to­gether prac­ti­tion­ers and pro­fes­sion­als in the field of ed­u­ca­tion that an­a­lyzed the is­sues on ed­u­ca­tion and pro­fes­sion­al­ism to­wards bring­ing about qual­ity and bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. Pa­pers were pre­sented on all ar­eas and a com­mu­niqué was re­leased reem­pha­siz­ing the im­por­tance of teach­ing coun­cils and en­sur­ing that each coun­try has a coun­cil and pro­motes qual­ity teach­ing.

The con­fer­ence also looked at the chal­lenges fac­ing the coun­cils in im­ple­ment­ing manda­tory pro­fes­sional con­tin­u­ing de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes of teach­ers. And this is crit­i­cal be­cause teach­ers are not re­cruited to teach for years with­out any train­ing. A teacher needs to be ed­u­cated, learn and re­learn con­tin­u­ously.

A teacher is al­ways ex­pected to win the minds of his stu­dents. What does it take to be a com­pe­tent teacher?

A teacher who can use the avail­able re­sources to achieve an ob­jec­tive and com­bine ef­fi­ciency and knowl­edge is the per­son we call ef­fec­tive teacher who also must pos­sess the req­ui­site knowl­edge of his sub­ject area. He must be at his best and have the skills to de­liver knowl­edge which we call ped­a­gog­i­cal skill. So, the con­tent and ped­a­gogy must go to­gether. In essence, what you are to teach is as im­por­tant as how you are go­ing to teach it.

Apart from that, there are core val­ues which a teacher should demon­strate in­clud­ing, in­tegrity, sense of hope for stu­dents, sense of ur­gency, con­tin­u­ous self-learn­ing and mu­tual re­spect and re­spon­si­bil­ity. We don’t want pe­dophile teach­ers, teach­ers who can­not com­mu­ni­cate or dress well and ir­re­spon­si­ble teach­ers. We have ethics and code of con­duct. A teacher must dress de­cently in fact Imo State, is pre­scrib­ing dress­ing code for teach­ers. The way you ap­pear is the way you will be treated be­cause your ap­pear­ance tells a lot about your courage and com­port­ment.

Teacher mo­ti­va­tion is a fac­tor for class­room ef­fec­tive­ness. Is the re­cent pro­posal by the govern­ment for grad­u­ate teach­ers to start work at above GL-08 fea­si­ble?

That is a pro­posal that is taken to the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion un­der Malam Adamu Adamu that grad­u­ate teach­ers should start on a grade above GL-08. In other coun­tries, such as Ger­many, teach­ers get the high­est pay, be­cause you want the best from them. If ap­proved, that would im­prove the im­age of our teach­ers; teach­ers must be val­ued and ap­pre­ci­ated. The TRCN will soon start ad­vo­cacy on teach­ers’ wel­fare.

The coun­cil con­ducted Pro­fes­sional Qual­i­fy­ing Ex­am­i­na­tion (PQE) for teach­ers re­cently. What is its essence and how do you clas­sify teach­ers to take part in the exam?

We con­ducted one last year but we shall be con­duct­ing two ex­ams an­nu­ally, in May and Oc­to­ber from 2018. This year’s May exam which was sup­posed to be on the 26th has been shifted to 8th and 9th of June be­cause some states have lo­cal elec­tions while oth­ers ob­serve san­i­ta­tion ex­er­cise and there is re­stric­tion of move­ment.

The bench­mark was de­vel­oped based on the four cat­e­gories of the teach­ers we have. Grade A are the PhD hold­ers, Grade B, masters de­gree hold­ers, Grade C, first de­gree and Grade D, NCE hold­ers. So, if you are an NCE holder, you take the Grade D exam and when you ac­quire a de­gree, you can take Grade C and your li­cense would be up­graded but the cer­tifi­cate will re­main the same.

This is done to im­prove qual­ity teach­ing be­cause the pub­lic said it is not good to just regis­ter peo­ple and give them cer­tifi­cates with­out know­ing the au­then­tic­ity of their qual­i­fi­ca­tions. So, this is an­other way of gate-keep­ing and if you fail the exam, you can­not be regis­tered. It will have pre­fab­ri­cat­ing ef­fect on the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion be­cause it will spur would-be-teach­ers who want to take the exam to work harder and se­ri­ously.

There are hun­dreds of teach­ers that haven’t ob­tained TRCN cer­tifi­cates. What hap­pens to them?

The Na­tional Coun­cil of Ed­u­ca­tion re­viewed its po­si­tion last year and ex­tended the dead­line for teach­ers to ac­quire the coun­cil’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to 2019 or to be shown the way out. TRCN is presently mon­i­tor­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in schools in six states and wait­ing for the con­sul­tant to sub­mit the re­port which would con­tain the lists of both qual­i­fied and un­qual­i­fied teach­ers. The re­sources pro­vided could only cover six states but the num­ber of states would be in­creased this year.

As part of your re­spon­si­bil­ity,

do you know the num­ber qual­i­fied teach­ers in Nige­ria?

There are close to two mil­lion teach­ers cer­ti­fied and regis­tered with the coun­cil. They are not enough for Nige­ria and in Africa in gen­eral there is a short­age of over 7 mil­lion teach­ers and the largest share would come from Nige­ria. This in­cludes higher in­sti­tu­tions and there is a deficit of 65,000 PhD hold­ers in Nige­rian uni­ver­si­ties. What com­pli­cates the mat­ter is that it is not only govern­ment that pro­vides ed­u­ca­tion; there are pri­vate providers. of

Prior to your ap­point­ment as regis­trar, the coun­cil was said to be in­ac­tive. How did you achieve a re­mark­able turn­around?

The fore­run­ners have tried their best. A solid foun­da­tion has al­ready been laid and we are build­ing on it and get­ting the sup­port of stake­hold­ers es­pe­cially the Nige­ria Union of Teach­ers. We are in­volv­ing a lot of stake­hold­ers for in­stance, the regis­trar doesn’t go to schools for ac­cred­i­ta­tion rather he ap­points ex­perts and pro­fes­sors to han­dle it.

Many teach­ers are ac­cused of dis­turb­ing be­hav­iors such as ex­tor­tion, sex-for-marks and bat­ter­ing. How is the coun­cil re­act­ing to this?

Teach­ers have to be above board and must see them­selves as par­ents. They should guide chil­dren and ev­ery form of abuse by teach­ers is re­pug­nant to the coun­cil. We have the Teach­ers In­ves­tiga­tive Panel and the Teach­ers Tri­bunal that are sup­posed to be in all the states and due to paucity of funds we are try­ing to see how states can take own­er­ship of th­ese bod­ies through the Na­tional Coun­cil on Ed­u­ca­tion to en­hance in­ves­ti­ga­tion and dis­ci­pline. Teach­ers found mis­be­hav­ing in schools would have their cer­tifi­cate and li­cense with­drawn and face pros­e­cu­tion. We mon­i­tor the schools and if we hear any ma­jor in­ci­dent, in­clud­ing exam fraud, we shall fol­low it to court.

Pro­fes­sor Josiah Oluse­gun Aji­boye

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