ROFESSIONALIZATION OF TEACHING AT PRIMARY SCHOOL LEVEL : A PANACEA FOR STRENGTHENING THE EDUCATION SECTOR AT THE FOUNDATION A BRIEF TALK GIVEN BY ALHAJI G.A BABALOLA AT THE CELEBRATION OF THE 125TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF ST ANDREWS COLLEGE OYO(THE FIRST TEACHER TRAINING INSTITUTION IN NIGERIA).

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The Talk was organized by Ogbomosho Branch of the SACOBA on 18th March 2021 at Bishop Osunade Hall,St David Anglican Cathedral Ogbomosho.

As an Adrian trained as a Primary School Teacher at St Andrews College Oyo several years ago, I feel greatly troubled with what our public Primary  Schools are today. All those who can afford it send their children to fee paying Private Schools and they include the not so well-to-do who have to struggle very hard to pay the fees. Truly speaking, people have lost confidence in the Public Primary School.

The irony of this situation is that the Public Primary Schools are far better staffed than the Private Schools and Teachers salaries is still better in the Public Schools.

On investigation,I found that people hold very strong opinion that Teachers in Private Schools work harder and perform far better than their counterparts in the Public Schooland are therefore able to motivate their pupils to do well.

Why is this so, what are the problems.

The major identifiable problems are;

(i)Lack of interest; Very many Teachers in the classroom are not genuinely interested in Teaching.​

They came into the Teaching as a last option.They would have taken decisions at an earlier age in the secondary school to pursue a career in other professions abd when unable to achieve this, were

FORCED into teaching. You can see that from the number of Applicants who apply for admission into Colleges of Education as first choice when registering for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and will leave Teaching as soon as they can find any alternative.

(ii)     Poor economic status in the society; renumeration package of Primary School Teachers is​              among the poorest in the Public Service in Nigeria. In most States of the Federation, Primary School Teachers are not allowed to rise beyond certain grade levels even with similar certificates of others in other sectors who could go higher. And on retirement,wait for 5- 10 years to receive their full pension benefits.

(iii)           Lack of Training Institutions; Presently,there are no Educational Institutions or Faculties​        specifically established to train Primary School Teachers. Colleges of Education which are supposed for that concentrates far more on training Teachers for the secondary school.

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS.

Let me start by looking back briefly at the historical background. In 1969, The Federal Government organised a big conference on Education in Lagos involving all the stake holders-Teachers in all the segment, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary, Headmasters, School Principals,Provost,Rectors , Professors,Ministry of Education officials and Political office holders  and came up with a roadmap for the development of the Education sector. The Universal Primary Education (UPE)was conceived and the 6-3-3-4 as National Education Policy was formulated. Nigerian Certificate in Education (N.C.E) to replace the Teachers Grade II Certificates as minimum qualification for Primary School Teachers. The UPE and the 6-3-3-4 took off in 1976. I will not attempt the discussion of the confusion that chracterized the GO/start of the programmes. In 1977,The Government Printer came out with a booklet spelling out among other things how students will proceed with the 6-3-3-4. 6 years in the Primary School ,free and compulsory for every Nigerian child, three years in the Junior Secondary School,three years in the Senior Secondary School and 4 years or more in the Tertiary Institution.        The point of interest here is that students graduating from the Junior Secondary School would be streamed into three- Senior Secondary School for those who are academically oriented and Technical Colleges and Teacher Training Colleges for those who are not academically oriented. One would agree that children who exhibit greater performance in psychomotor domain of learning go for Training in Technicals , what can be the justification for asking children who are not academically oriented to go into teaching. The answer is better imagined than said and that thinking has continued in official circles till today and that is probably the reason the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) stream candidates with the lowest scores into Colleges of Education.

       However, I agree very deeply with Government thinking at that time that children who deserve to be Teachers should be selected at the time they are leaving the Junior Secondary School and commence their training as Teachers from that time. Now that Grade II Teachers Training Colleges have been abolished, the Colleges of Education that have replaced them be restructured to take on students from the Junior Secondary Schools.

Children leave JSS3 at age 13,14,15 that is the age a child starts the journey of what he tends to become. Even in sports,many world champions have confirmed that only a child who is already good at a sport at the age of 14 can ever hope to become a world champion.

I am suggesting that;

(i) Students who passed the Basic Education Certificate Examination (the so called Junior NECO or​ Junior WAEC at the end of JSS3 who  indicates interest to become Teachers should take the entrance examinations for admission into Colleges of Education.

(ii)The Colleges of Education be mandated to train Teachers ONLY for the Primary Schools and​        changed from 3 years to 6 years duration segmented into 3 years basic and 3 years professional. Students coming in should take basic teacher education courses for 3 years and thereafter streamed into 3 years science education and art education professional courses. By this, we will produce young Teachers who are genuinely interested in teaching because they have taken decisions to be Teachers at their teenage out of several other options open to them.

What I’ve suggested here is not revolutional, it is only going back to the right track we abandoned.

(iii)           Since Primary education is universal,its abandonment is what led to the over 10 million out of​              school children on our streets. Primary education should be made free and compulsory by the law of the Federation and the salaries of Primary School Teachers be made a first charge on the Federation account.

(iv)           Just as we have University Staff salary scale,we should have Primary School Teachers’ salary​ scale.

(v)Now that the Government in its wisdom cancelled the Education Trust Fund (ETF),a new​       intervention agency should be established to cater for the needs of Primary and Secondary Schools.

I have made these suggestions to join others in reconstructing and saving the very foundation of our education sector; The Public Primary School which is now very shaky. If we fail,we may never have a developmental education, education that leads to National industrialization and development.

I thank you.

ALHAJI GANIYU AYINDE BABALOLA

PHONE 08135306931

EMAIL: gababalola7578@gmail.com.

e Talk was organized by Ogbomosho Branch of the SACOBA on 18th March 2021 at Bishop Osunade Hall,St David Anglican Cathedral Ogbomosho.

As an Adrian trained as a Primary School Teacher at St Andrews College Oyo several years ago, I feel greatly troubled with what our public Primary  Schools are today. All those who can afford it send their children to fee paying Private Schools and they include the not so well-to-do who have to struggle very hard to pay the fees. Truly speaking, people have lost confidence in the Public Primary School.

The irony of this situation is that the Public Primary Schools are far better staffed than the Private Schools and Teachers salaries is still better in the Public Schools.

On investigation,I found that people hold very strong opinion that Teachers in Private Schools work harder and perform far better than their counterparts in the Public Schooland are therefore able to motivate their pupils to do well.

Why is this so, what are the problems.

The major identifiable problems are;

(i)Lack of interest; Very many Teachers in the classroom are not genuinely interested in Teaching.​

They came into the Teaching as a last option.They would have taken decisions at an earlier age in the secondary school to pursue a career in other professions abd when unable to achieve this, were

FORCED into teaching. You can see that from the number of Applicants who apply for admission into Colleges of Education as first choice when registering for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and will leave Teaching as soon as they can find any alternative.

(ii)     Poor economic status in the society; renumeration package of Primary School Teachers is​              among the poorest in the Public Service in Nigeria. In most States of the Federation, Primary School Teachers are not allowed to rise beyond certain grade levels even with similar certificates of others in other sectors who could go higher. And on retirement,wait for 5- 10 years to receive their full pension benefits.

(iii)           Lack of Training Institutions; Presently,there are no Educational Institutions or Faculties​        specifically established to train Primary School Teachers. Colleges of Education which are supposed for that concentrates far more on training Teachers for the secondary school.

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS.

Let me start by looking back briefly at the historical background. In 1969, The Federal Government organised a big conference on Education in Lagos involving all the stake holders-Teachers in all the segment, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary, Headmasters, School Principals,Provost,Rectors , Professors,Ministry of Education officials and Political office holders  and came up with a roadmap for the development of the Education sector. The Universal Primary Education (UPE)was conceived and the 6-3-3-4 as National Education Policy was formulated. Nigerian Certificate in Education (N.C.E) to replace the Teachers Grade II Certificates as minimum qualification for Primary School Teachers. The UPE and the 6-3-3-4 took off in 1976. I will not attempt the discussion of the confusion that chracterized the GO/start of the programmes. In 1977,The Government Printer came out with a booklet spelling out among other things how students will proceed with the 6-3-3-4. 6 years in the Primary School ,free and compulsory for every Nigerian child, three years in the Junior Secondary School,three years in the Senior Secondary School and 4 years or more in the Tertiary Institution.        The point of interest here is that students graduating from the Junior Secondary School would be streamed into three- Senior Secondary School for those who are academically oriented and Technical Colleges and Teacher Training Colleges for those who are not academically oriented. One would agree that children who exhibit greater performance in psychomotor domain of learning go for Training in Technicals , what can be the justification for asking children who are not academically oriented to go into teaching. The answer is better imagined than said and that thinking has continued in official circles till today and that is probably the reason the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) stream candidates with the lowest scores into Colleges of Education.

       However, I agree very deeply with Government thinking at that time that children who deserve to be Teachers should be selected at the time they are leaving the Junior Secondary School and commence their training as Teachers from that time. Now that Grade II Teachers Training Colleges have been abolished, the Colleges of Education that have replaced them be restructured to take on students from the Junior Secondary Schools.

Children leave JSS3 at age 13,14,15 that is the age a child starts the journey of what he tends to become. Even in sports,many world champions have confirmed that only a child who is already good at a sport at the age of 14 can ever hope to become a world champion.

I am suggesting that;

(i) Students who passed the Basic Education Certificate Examination (the so called Junior NECO or​ Junior WAEC at the end of JSS3 who  indicates interest to become Teachers should take the entrance examinations for admission into Colleges of Education.

(ii)The Colleges of Education be mandated to train Teachers ONLY for the Primary Schools and​        changed from 3 years to 6 years duration segmented into 3 years basic and 3 years professional. Students coming in should take basic teacher education courses for 3 years and thereafter streamed into 3 years science education and art education professional courses. By this, we will produce young Teachers who are genuinely interested in teaching because they have taken decisions to be Teachers at their teenage out of several other options open to them.

What I’ve suggested here is not revolutional, it is only going back to the right track we abandoned.

(iii)           Since Primary education is universal,its abandonment is what led to the over 10 million out of​              school children on our streets. Primary education should be made free and compulsory by the law of the Federation and the salaries of Primary School Teachers be made a first charge on the Federation account.

(iv)           Just as we have University Staff salary scale,we should have Primary School Teachers’ salary​ scale.

(v)Now that the Government in its wisdom cancelled the Education Trust Fund (ETF),a new​       intervention agency should be established to cater for the needs of Primary and Secondary Schools.

I have made these suggestions to join others in reconstructing and saving the very foundation of our education sector; The Public Primary School which is now very shaky. If we fail,we may never have a developmental education, education that leads to National industrialization and development.

I thank you.

ALHAJI GANIYU AYINDE BABALOLA

PHONE 08135306931

EMAIL: gababalola7578@gmail.com.

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