By; yITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade, has hinted that the combination of ambience and learning at the Teachers” Continuous Training Institute located in Biase Local Government Area is to create an atmostphere that is academic but yet very inspiring and welcoming.
Ayade who spoke while inspecting ongoing furnishing work at the institute commended the speed and quality of equipment so far installed.
“I am really excited about the possibility of having a world class teaching environment in Cross River State because we understand the influence of environment on quality of teaching and quality of learning”.
“I am very very impressed with the quality and the speed of furnishing. My hope is that will have the urgency and need to enroll enmasse. We can beam with satisfaction that the Nigerian Teachers Training Institute will now take place here and I am sure that at the fullness of time, the Nigerians will recognize the value of quality education.”
The governor stressed that “education is the basis for more societal transformation and that is why Cross River State is being ruled by two professors. And as a government we place emphasis on the quality of teaching and quality of research, hence this school.”
Speaking further on the reason for establishing the Institute, Ayade maintained that “the Teachers Continuous Training Institute, the first of its kind, is intended to train teachers and continuously retrain teachers because the quality of students is determined by the quality of teaching and the quality of teaching is a reflection of the quality of the training.
“Traditionally, when teachers are out of the university and get employed as teachers, they have no opportunity for further training, and no continuous training. So the teachers themselves are sometimes not upto date, even with the subjects they teach.
“This is because trends and research keep throwing up new findings, but unfortunately a teacher has no opportunity to update his knowledge on the subject matter, particularly when you are teaching in a village setting and away from the city centre like the capital of the state.”
According to the governor, “the institute is therefore, set up specifically to attend to the teaching needs of West Africa, to drive home the message of quality teaching because only through quality teaching that you can have quality learning which also translates to quality outcome.”
Ayade said drawing from his background as a teacher, “I studied the limitations of our teaching and I come from a university setting therefore, my inspiration came from my own life. I have been in and around a university environment at very young age, I know its pitfalls and so given the opportunity as a governor, I needed to correct those things that I saw that were wrong because teachers were not comfortable, the teaching environment was not comfortable, teaching was made to be seen as the last resort when every other job failed.
On the curricular that will be run by the institute, the governor disclosed that the plan is “to run a curriculum that is very akin to and related to our GCE, WAEC, and NECO exams across West Africa. If we are preparing students to write physics, we will bring in the best physics teachers across the world but instead of them coming to teach the students, they’re coming to teach the teachers so the teachers will gain this knowledge and go back and teach the students in their various schools.
“So, if am teaching you physics and I am a specialist in optics, then I will come and teach optics and I will leave after two months or three months depending on the duration of my contract. But the Professor who is the provost of this institute must have an affiliation across the world to know the best hands to bring in for each speciality to train the teacher who will now go and teach that subject in the secondary school. This means he is returning with advanced knowledge and the latest knowledge in his discipline.”
Urging teachers not to despair any longer, the governor said: “I am telling all teachers in Cross River State, in Nigeria and indeed West Africa that today you have been recognized as key persons in the value chain process of creating a better society. Now we have an institute which is not just here to issue a certificate but it is here to train and retrain and continuously train you. Welcome to the era of teachers, Welcome to the era where teachers are now in the driving seat. Teachers have finally been recognized by Cross River State. It is indeed the turn of teachers.”