On October 5 2019, teachers all over the world will be marking the World Teachers Day calling on governments to ensure that teaching can become a profession of choice for young people, and dedicating the World Teacher’s Day (WTD) 2019 to Young teachers: the future of the profession. A daylong conference on the future of the teaching profession will take place at UNESCO Headquarters, on 7th October, 2019.

In Nigeria, several activities have been marked out to celebrate this day. In preparation for this day in Lagos, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Human Development Initiatives, ActionAid Nigeria, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All – CSACEFA, Tax Justice Network, the Lagos State Ministries of Education, Economic Planning and Budget, the Ministry of Finance, as well as the media had met to identify issues negatively impacting the teaching profession and harming the delivery of quality, free, equitable and inclusive education to all children especially girls and the marginalised, including children with disabilities. Areas requiring urgent improvements in order to secure the future of education and the teaching profession were further identified with the views to making recommendations to tackle them

Realizing that the teaching profession plays a pivotal role in actualizing the internationally recognized Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 of ensuring quality, equitable and inclusive education for all by 2030 and that this goal cannot be achieved without teachers, this year’s WTD theme is very unique because it is pointing to very germane concerns about the falling standards of public education and how unattractive the teaching profession has been to young and best brains particularly in Nigeria. This concerns are unanimously expressed by education stakeholders across board. The teaching profession needs to recruit 69 million new teachers to meet the 2030 SDG deadline. The is a huge shortage of teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa affecting 70% of countries overall and 90% of countries at the secondary level.

In addition to the foregoing, the Lagos State must deal with some key challenges of the teaching profession which include, but not limited to poor funding of public education system, inadequate remuneration of public school teachers especially basic education, lack of social security/poor service condition, poor teaching and learning environment, grossly inadequate instructional materials and infrastructure, inadequate training and training opportunities. 

Furthermore, political interference in teachers’ recruitment, obsolete curriculum, inferior entry criteria for acquiring teaching qualification, ineffective implementation of existing education policies, stagnation in recruitment of professional teachers, inability to sustain effective systems/best practices introduced by past donors’ interventions such as ESPIN, Eko Project, and COMPASS. Others include inefficient Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for trainings conducted for teachers in Lagos State in the past and system that ensure value for the money spent, inadequate supervision and mentoring of teachers especially in hard-to-reach areas, among other. All these further reduce the efficiency of teachers and lower the standards of teachers and education in the State and country at large, which must be addressed urgently.

It is difficult to attract young and vibrant minds into the teaching profession in the face of these challenges. Without a new generation of motivated, up-to-date and tech savvy teachers, millions of children will continue to miss out on quality, equitable and inclusive education and Nigeria’s future will certainly suffer the consequences.

In line with this year’s World Teachers Day, we urge the Lagos State Government to continue to improve the quality of the teaching profession to attract young and best brains, and therefore recommend among others things that:

  1. The Lagos State Government provide basic social welfare packages for teachers and education officers to attract young professional teachers into the public education sector.
  2. The Lagos State Government through her Ministry of Education should institutionalize the blueprints of successful past interventions such as Lagos Eko Projects, ESSPIN, COMPASS, etc to strengthen education governance.
  3. The Lagos State Government should widen sources of funding for education and encourage Corporate Sector investment as well as voluntary support.
  4. National examination bodies and relevant institutions should review upward the criteria for admission into education institutions (Universities and Colleges of Education) to attract the best brains into the teaching profession.
  5. The Lagos State Government should eliminate political interference in teachers’ recruitment processes and make it more transparent and inclusive.
  6. The Ministry of Education working with other relevant institutions should improve training and retraining of teachers and develop efficient KPIs to monitor teachers’ training performance.
  7. The Ministry of Education in collaboration with the other agencies of government should strengthen recruitment plan/strategy to sustain sufficient supply of professional teachers into the public school system.
  8. The Lagos State Government should strengthen the Quality Assurance Department of the Ministry of Education to regularly and effectively supervise, monitor education service delivery and school interventions.

Signed by:

Olufunso Owasanoye

The Executive Director

Human Development Initiatives