As the popular adage goes “to whom much is given much is expected“ the Nigerian teacher, going by the series of incentives planned by the federal government, will soon have ease of new life. Incentivizing the teaching profession is aimed at enhancing the capacity of Nigerian teachers for optimum performance.
Registrar of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof Josiah Olusegun Ajiboye had done an excellent job when he bitterly complained about the low-level capacity of the Nigerian teacher and the need to ensure that the teaching environment complies with the 21st-century learning system, particularly in the face of ravaging covid-19 pandemic.
Haven listened to the professor’s lamentation and the passion with which he desired a better teaching environment and enhanced teachers capacity in the country, I do not doubt that a gradual process to reposition the teaching profession in Nigerian has begun and this is a silent revolution in Nigeria’s education sector.
Meanwhile, just as the government announced mouth-watering incentives to Nigerian teachers and teachers in training, there is an ongoing process to amend the law regulating the teaching profession with a view to ensuring standards.
The House of Representatives recently passed for the second reading a bill for an act to amend the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria Act, Cap. T3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to ensure that only licensed or registered and qualified persons who exhibit thorough professional conduct teach in schools.
The bill is sponsored by Hon. Suleiman Abubakar Gumi (APC Zamfara State) seeks to amend the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria law to ensure that school environments are devoid of teachers without professional licenses and those who lack moral burden or exhibit unprofessional conducts such as child abuse, sexual molestation, and rape.
Four sections of the principal act, namely, sections 5, 10, 11, and 17 are to be amended, according to Gumi. Section 5 (1) paragraphs (a) and (b) are amended to insert a new clause which provides that henceforth, the
Register of all registered professional teachers shall be printed and published online for unfettered public access.
Accordingly, any registered member reported by the head of an educational institution who has such duty to report for any misconduct to a panel, such member in breach shall be guilty of an offense and liable upon conviction now to a fine of N1,000,000, instead of N1,000, or imprisonment for a term of “six months“ against the previous “three months imprisonment”.
On false presentation by any person who makes false or reckless statements the registration of a name or qualification, such person, according to the Zamfara lawmaker, is guilty of an offense, and the amendment to Section 17, sub(5), which provides for a new fine, upon conviction, of an amount not exceeding N100,000, as against NI,000; or (b) on Conviction or indictment, to a fine of an amount not exceeding, N500,000, as against N5,000 previously, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
With the ongoing amendment, no one should be left in doubt that there is indeed a silent revolution ongoing in the the country’s basic education sector. While the teaching service is being made attractive by improved salary packages and social security do teachers, particularly those serving in the rural areas, trainings and seminars are now compulsory for every teacher, at least once in a year.
Also, as a way of attracting best brains to take up career in teaching, the federal government announced the payment of N75,000 per semester for every student of public universities studying education programmes and N50, 000 per semester for students of colleges of education.
Although, the implementation of these cost reflective policies is no doubt a talk order, considering the dwindling revenue of the government. However, the decision of the federal government to take the bull by the horn clearly shows commitment of the current administration towards repositioning basic education in Nigeria.