PRESS RELEASE: WORLD TEACHERS DAY 2020: HDI NIGERIA CALLS ON GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATE BODIES TO INVEST MORE IN EDUCATION TO MAKE TEACHING PROFESSION MORE ATTRACTIVE TO THE COMING GENERATION
Every October 5 is a special day dedicated, all over the world, to celebrate teachers and advocate on issues directly affecting the teaching profession. Human Development Initiatives (HDI) in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria, with the support of NORAD organized a one-day Education Stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos State to articulate some of these issues as schools are reopening after a long lockdown period; and to come up with strategies for supporting a sustainable, free, quality, equitable, inclusive and resilient publicly funded education safe for both teachers and for all children.
Realising that the education sector has been in crises long before now, and that COVID-19 pandemic only further exposed the frailty of the public education system as well as the vulnerability of teachers in Nigeria; the Stakeholders at the event called on the Lagos State Government to increase education budget in order to address the many infrastructural challenges especially WASH and ICT gaps; and prioritize improving teachers’ training, increase in teachers’ salaries and their general welfare in the State. This because without a new generation of motivated teachers, millions of children in Lagos State will miss out of quality education and will continue to miss out unless adequate measures are taken urgently to restore dignity and professionalism to teaching service.
Teachers are central to achieving the global Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring quality education for all by 2030. This goal cannot be achieved in the face of rising attrition rate of professional teachers, domination of the profession by non-professionals; weak institutional system that limit innovations such as cooperative teaching as well as the use of ICT in teaching and learning. These are also barriers to promoting inclusive education which is a global trend and a key component of the future of education for developing countries.
The teaching profession remains in crisis in the face of poor teaching and learning environment, meagre teachers’ remuneration and welfare making the profession unattractive.
In the spirit of this year’s World Teachers’ Day, “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future”, the stakeholders present at this workshop renewed their demands for a total quality public education system for both teachers and all children in Lagos State and therefore recommended the following, among others:
- The Lagos State Government should enforce compliance to TRCN Act in recruitment of teachers in both public and private schools as part of efforts to standardize the teaching profession.
- Teachers Education curriculum in higher institutions be overhauled and rejigged to follow the global best practice. Cooperative teaching manual should be developed and introduced into the curriculum as well as into teaching practice.
- Special incentives for special need teachers should be introduced to attract skilled professionals and drive the process of achieving full inclusive education system in Lagos State. These special incentives should include but not limited to prioritizing teachers with certified training in special education in teachers’ recruitment, higher remuneration, housing, and free transportation service, in addition to other social welfare supports.
- Training and retraining of special need teachers should be prioritized and teaching aids should be made available in all existing inclusive schools.
- The Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Education should develop performance indicators for every teachers’ training programme and ensure evaluation of teachers’ performance after such training in order to encourage quality teaching and learning outcomes as well as ensure value for tax payers’ money.
- The Lagos State Government should ensure regular supply of WASH facilities in public schools; fortify its monitoring system to enforce COVID-19 protocols compliance in all schools in the State including all private schools; conduct integrity test on school structures; and build/equip healing bays in schools with qualified health officers.
- The Lagos State Government should ensure strict application of education policy in the drafting of education budget and programmes; widen stakeholders’ participation including the State wing of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities and recognized network of Civil Society Organizations in the education sector in developing education budget and tracking its implementation.
- There is a need for Public Private Partnership in funding in ensuring safe environment for teaching and learning as well as prioritizing teachers housing schemes.
- Fencing of all public schools should be prioritized to provide safe and conducive environment for teaching and learning.
- Incentives should be given to teachers in rural areas to ensure retention of teachers in rural communities.