By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Stakeholders have proposed new concepts for the development of Nigeria’s 21st century education system.
In the opinion of the Managing Director, The Education Partnership (TEP) Centre, Modupe Adefeso-Olateju, teaching has to be professionalized.
“Confer certificate on not only those who passed examination, but those inducted into the teaching profession,” she said.
She noted that it is only in a weak system that anyone can become a teacher.
According to her, professionalizing teaching and teacher-training play a critical role and impact on the economy.
Adefeso-Olateju declared: “Teacher motivation is critical to teaching outcome. The 21st century teacher must be competent, skilled, must have undergone the process, and should be a life-long learner .”
In addition to the above, teachers must love teaching, the TEP chief submitted.
While Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Teach for Nigeria, Mr. Folawe Omikunle, suggested the transformation of the education system so that every child will have access to education, he advocated collective leadership in the system.
Omikunle said, “It’s impossible for government to transform the education system alone. Collaboration is what’s required; Privatize education.
“Develop a critical mass of young leaders who are going to transform education.”
He also called for a campaign to rebrand teaching profession in Nigeria.
Omikunle said there is the need to develop a movement of teachers who are going to transform education in Nigeria.
He suggested that leadership in the education industry should carry along community leaders.
A radio personality, Mr. Rufai Oseni, stated that the most important priority in education is innovation.
“Education in Nigeria”, he observed, “has been skewed to what government wants. What we have is education handed down to us.”
Oseni regretted that in Nigeria unqualified teachers are employed in primary school, describing it as an anomaly
“In Japan, a primary school teacher is primary school teacher for life because primary education is the most important, but in Nigeria the unqualified are recruited to teach in primary schools,” Oseni said.
While stressing the importance of innovation in education, he urged curriculum planners to appreciate the role and importance of technology in facilitating the acquisition of knowledge.
“Use technology, artificial intelligence. Appreciate technology. You can’t innovate if you don’t know technology. If you can’t code you will be an illiterate in today’s world,” he said.
He, therefore, called for an education bill as well as a national conversation on education and innovation.
Oseni urged learners to engross themselves in self-discovery. “Discover what is in you. Never allow your schooling to affect your education so that you can’t innovate. Open room for innovation in your mind,” he advised.
Program Coordinator of Edu-Aid Global Initiative, Dr. Femi Orawusi, expressed concern that schools in Nigeria still use the method of the 1970s to teach today’s children.
“The world is evolving, artificial intelligence is gradually taking over. We’re in the digital age and as teachers we must be able to teach our children how to use the digital age to make a change in our society,” Orawusi told the audience at Lagos Teachers Conference 2019.
To education research and development expert, Udi Akpan, problems militating against Nigeria’s education sector include under-funding, inadequate infrastructure, poor quality of teachers, corruption, weak education policy, improper implementation , and inadequate monitoring and evaluation in the industry.
He observed that teachers have low self-esteem because of poor remuneration and are seen as “no-do-wells” and are not provided healthcare facility.
He asserted that teachers should not be at the mercy of parents and guardians.
Akpan stressed the role of teachers in ensuring learning outcome. He said, “A teacher should be a model for the future – how it ought to be.
“You teach today with what you learned yesterday, but people you teach today will not lead their lives today. Your role as teachers is to model the future. Teachers are prophets.”
Akpan stated that the public sector should work with the private sector in ensuring effective management and accountability in the education industry.
Mr. Emmanuel Iruonagbe, Centre Director, Chartered Institute of Commerce of Nigeria (CICN) advocated a change in Nigeria’s system of education.
He declared: “Nigeria will go nowhere until education and teaching industry have positive revolution.”
He endeared teachers to bear in mind that teaching is a calling which they should do out of passion for it.
The CICN leader said professional and academic qualifications of teachers have to be enhanced.
The stakeholders in expression of high regard for teachers stressed that teaching is one profession that creates other professions.
They described teachers as heroes. “If you want to put someone on a pedestal put teachers. They are society’s heroes,” retorted one educationist.