Teaching is essentially a social service and teachers, of course, deserve to be celebrated every day. The World Teachers’ Day every October 5, is therefore, a way of honouring the sacrifices being made by teachers in the course of their profession with which they impact and shape lives.
On every World Teachers’ Day, there’s always a unique theme to project awareness about the current teaching conditions and recognise the instant requisites and difficulties teachers are currently facing.
This year’s theme for World Teachers’ Day is “Teachers at the heart of education recovery.” This was cast by UNESCO following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme focuses on how society can aid teachers by contributing to the recuperation process.
Marking World Teachers’ Day is important because it’s an annual opportunity to recognise teachers and the role they play in helping and nurturing the champions of tomorrow.
Today’s anniversary marks the 27th year of the World Teachers’ Day holiday since The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) created a global event called World Teachers’ Day in 1994. This holiday marks the anniversary of adopting the 1966 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This document sets the foundational standards regarding the rights and duties of teachers. These included initial preparation, employment, recruitment, education, and learning conditions.
In 2020, UNESCO recognised the importance of reaffirming the value of the teaching mission. They called upon governments to help make teaching a first-choice profession for young people. They also celebrated “inclusive and equitable quality education” and “lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
The annual World Teachers Day celebration not only recognises teachers for their persistence, hard work and dedication, however, it is an occasion to evaluate and help improve education structures worldwide.
As the world marks its World Teachers Day it’s also an opportunity to set aside time to consider the issues related to teachers and teaching.
Against the backdrop of considering some of the related issues pertaining to teachers and teaching, an educationist was asked about how teachers in Nigeria have fared so far.
Mr Shola Lawrence, who is also a teacher, in his response, said, “How does one even begin to talk about the experience of teachers in relation to the current education situation in the country? Well, the arguable fact that can’t be ruled out is that the system of education in Nigeria of today falls almost on a daily basis, although many people may not agree with me because we pretend a lot in this country. Sharing with you how teachers have fared in the system, I’ll be nailing two essential points.
“Is there anyone who is not aware of examination malpractices which have become the “new-normal” in practically all the facets of the Nigerian education system? As a teacher, how to discover, and also adopt the most efficacious method of curbing the ugly situation of examination malpractice have been my quest for years.
“Unfortunately, not only students are involved in this evil act. Parents also facilitate examination malpractices by equipping their wards with some cash to settle some teachers who show themselves unpatriotic to the noble teaching profession. This is more rampant in private schools than public schools as private school owners crave and target profit maximization at the expense of providing quality education. How sad! I tell you, it’s very challenging being in the education system because trying to correct the status quo is not easy at all. That’s the first!
“One other point worthy of mentioning here is some teachers’ lackadaisical attitude towards their job. Some teachers tend to take their side businesses above teaching due to the fact that they are poorly remunerated. This affects public and privately owned schools. Sad enough, some teachers, don’t even see teaching as a profession but rather as a stepping stone to while away their jobless times. It’s just uncalled for!
“As a certified teacher and pedagogue, I’m stating here categorically that, if examination bodies such as WAEC, NECO, etc prioritise how to eradicate examination malpractices in our public and private schools, the standard of education in the country will improve drastically because only the qualified candidates will be admitted to our universities, hence reducing the rate of half-baked graduates. Also, the government should revisit the teachers’ salary level on time before all teachers leave the classrooms for Oyingbo and Idumota markets as food stuff and fabrics dealers.”
When asked about the loopholes the pandemic created in the education system and visible solution, Lawrence said, “So many loopholes!
“It’s arguable that students now wax cold and weak in their academic strength due to many months of ‘stay home’. The pandemic has a negative implication on the education system in that it slowed down the academic calendars of schools, including tertiary institutions. Students now had to spend an extra year to cover up for what they missed while the world was shut down.
“Meanwhile, institutions like secondary schools tried to make up for the curriculum contents which had been missed by extending the learning hours. However, the fact is that not all were or could be regained. Although several online classes were put in place by government and private colleges, its efficiency wasn’t equal to the physical teaching and learning activities which provided an enablement for not only the child’s cognitive but also affective and psychomotor domains of learning.
“A feasible solution to this is recruitment of manpower. Already, many schools lack enough teachers; you’ll see a teacher taking up to four academic subjects plus some co-curricular activities. School Managements and Administrators should sit and re-strategise on how more personnel can be employed so that the level of work burden can be reduced, while learning hours is increased in the meantime.
“Also, the culture of online teaching and learning, which was fully embraced during the pandemic lockdown, should not be jettisoned. It should continue. These would help.”