Kano State is coming up with all-inclusive Teacher Policy covering issues as diverse as teachers’ attitude, quality assurance and continues professional development, with the support of development partners such as UK Department for International Development-funded Partnership to Reform, Engage and Learn (PERL) and the Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE II) programmes.
Quality teaching is the backbone of education which makes it indispensable, any society that desires quality education for its younger generation must ensure that only qualified and competent teachers teach in its schools. Whereas infrastructure, equipment and learning materials are equally important in teaching they are all but useless in the absence of qualified and competent teachers.
It was in recognition of the critically-important role quality teaching plays in achieving equitable and inclusive access to quality education for all, in accordance with Education 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Nigeria developed a National Teacher Education Policy (NTEP) aimed at reforming and improvement of the quality of teaching and teacher education in the country.
Thus, Kano which is a pacesetter in education innovation in Nigeria in 2017 also set up a committee comprising of academics, educationists, civic activists and development partners to draft a teacher policy for the state; Kano state’s major education sector challenges are to do with poor teacher quality, congestion in classrooms and inadequate teaching and learning materials.
“The Teacher Policy being developed is very broad in its coverage: its scope begins with firstly, ensuring teachers satisfy the minimum entry requirement for teacher training colleges; whether or not they have acquired the required number of credit units at the teacher training college and graduated with the required grade as well as whether or not they are registered with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN),” says Dr Garba Shehu, the chair of the Kano State Teacher Policy Committee.
Dr Shehu was speaking during a 4-day validation workshop for the Kano State Teacher Policy and development of an implementation framework for the policy held recently in Zaria. The workshop was organized by the Kano State Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation with the support of the UK Department for International Development-funded Partnership to Reform, Engage and Learn (PERL); Teacher Development Programme (TDP) and Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE II) programmes.
He stated that the new Teacher Policy also covers issues as diverse as teachers’ attitude, behavior, motivation and incentives for teachers to keep them interested in their job, teacher deployment, quality assurance (the periodic assessment of the performance of teachers in the classroom) as well as continues professional development trainings for teachers.
“The Teacher Policy was aimed at professionalizing teaching and changing the status of teachers in the society. Just like you can’t conduct surgery if you are not a qualified medical doctor or defend a client in a court of law if you are not a qualified lawyer, you shouldn’t teach in a classroom if you are not a qualified teacher registered by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN). Once teaching is professionalized people in the society will begin to respect teachers,” Dr Shehu said.
Also speaking at the event, Danlami Garba, the Permanent Secretary at Kano State Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (MoEST&I) describes the Kano State Teacher Policy as a “concise effort to regularize the process of recruitment and deployment of teachers which is currently being done by administrative fiat. In fact, no one bothers to consider the competence of teachers before they are recruited: anybody can be employed as a teacher.”
He therefore said the policy, which will serve as an enforcement mechanism, would go a long way in sanitizing the teaching profession including de-politicizing of teacher recruitment hence the need for the involvement of citizens groups in the implementation of the policy at the level of schools.
Nguyan Feese of DFID’s Teacher Development Programme (TDP), which is seeking to improve the quality of teaching in primary and junior secondary schools (JSS) and Colleges of Education (CoE) in six states of northern Nigeria including Kano believes teachers should “at least be able to read and write which make them trainable, otherwise you will keep training and retraining teachers without any results.”
“Therefore, before recruitment the positions should be advertised followed by screening, interviews and then induction of the newly recruited teachers. You also need to ensure continues professional development after recruitment. And beyond recruiting qualified and trainable teachers you need to ensure proper teacher-pupil ratio, no matter how qualified teachers may be they can’t cope with situations where a single teacher will have to teach 100 pupils in a classroom.”
Abdusshakur Nuhu is the Project Coordinator for the World Bank-funded Global Partnership Education’s Nigeria Partnership for Education Project (GPE-NIPEP) which seeks to improve access and quality of basic education with particular attention to girls’ participation and out-of-school children in 5 northwestern Nigerian states including Kano. He believes the policy will help “increase access to education and improve learning outcomes (quality). When you recruit qualified teachers you are sure they will deliver the required numeracy and literacy skills.”
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