Investing in teachers key, say stakeholders

Teachers were the focus of discussion during the second Save our Education Dialogue organised by the Concerned Parents and Educators’ (CPE) with participants agreeing that investment in teacher quality would boost Nigeria’s embattled education system.

The programme held via zoom featured top government functionaries in education, researchers, seasoned educators and others who gave insight into the state of affairs of the nation’s education system and what should be.

Speaking on the theme, “Preparing teachers for education reforms”, the Oyo State Education Commissioner, Mr.Olasunkanmi Olaleye said the state had started ramping up on the quality of its teachers by employing the best and paying them better than other civil servants.

“We are careful about the quality of teachers being recruited to our schools in Oyo. Recently, we recruited 500 First Class degree holders as teachers; there is also continuous training that will promote the growth of education sector. Teachers in Oyo State are respected as our teachers earn seven per cent higher than their counterparts in civil services,” he said.

His counterpart in Lagos, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, underscored the need to address issues in the education sector from the point of view of solutions. She said the Lagos State government had begun by investing in regular training for its teachers.

“The problems are there; we should always approach the problems in education sector from the point of solution. We cannot change the country’s curriculum, but we can change and influence our teaching methodology. We have decided to ensure all our teachers are up-to-date. School leadership is critical, many schools are also in terrible state,” she said.

Ogun State Special Adviser on Education, Mrs. Ronke Soyombo, called for a roundtable meeting for stakeholders to review the quality of education in the country, while Technical Adviser, Reading and Numeracy Activities Project, Dr Mikail Barau, advised teachers to invest in gaining requisite knowledge and skills that would inspire learners.

Motivational speaker and former presidential candidate, Mr. Fela Durotoye, said the government could not be left to fix education on its own.

He said Nigerians must pitch in to help the process by becoming custodians.

“When custodians arise in the education sector, greatness will occur. It is the quality of intellectual capital of a nation that makes it great.”

Highlighting ways to invest in teachers, Durotoye suggested scholarships for them and their wards as well as training.

“The country needs great teachers to build quality education,” he said.

Other speakers at the event were Dr. Pearl Onukwugha, an educationist; Dr. Modupe Adefeso-Olateju, the Managing Director, The Education Partnership Centre, who called for teachers to be encouraged.

Onukwugha said: “They need to be encouraged by all.Teachers should attend teachers’ training colleges. We also need regular professional development training. Topics that will address the personal needs of teachers should be discussed.”

Adefeso-Olateju said teachers should be recognised as the most important variables that influence students.  She added that the standard of education must be improved in both public and private schools.

SOURCE: THE NATION

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