Quality education is important for the growth of any country, and this can be ensured first by making quality teachers available. Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) disclosed in a report published on Premium Times that about half of the teachers in Nigerian schools are unqualified to teach. The right to education should not only be measured by the access and availability of education, but also by the quality of the education.
The quality of teachers significantly determines the quality of education. Poorly trained teachers will evidently lead to poorly educated students. The quality of teachers required in the 21st century is teachers who are versatile in knowledge and grounded with quality education. This also includes solid teaching ability, knowledge of various teaching techniques and instructional materials.
In 2015, The [Nigerian] Minister of Education Malam Ibrahim Shakarau disclosed that the Federal Government reached a decision to make the Bachelor’s degree the minimum academic qualification for teachers in Nigeria. This was to ensure that the quality of education is raised to international standards. Before then, a Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE) was the requirement for most teachers in Nigeria.
Therefore, teachers who intend to make a competitive career in education will have to upgrade their NCE to a degree. And those with a Master’s Degree in Education will have an added advantage. Policies like this will bring a growing competition of academic qualification by teaching practitioners. And those who are not able to upgrade themselves academically will be left behind. They may be likely to lose their jobs or be unable to secure jobs in a standard school.
How sustainable is the current education model?
With the increasing number of teachers who now need to possess a Bachelor’s degree to qualify for teaching, it makes the profession highly competitive. Teaching practitioners who have an interest in a long-term teaching career will need to upgrade their education. An MA Education could provide a competitive advantage to teachers who wish to further their career of teaching.
Nevertheless, how teachers upgrade their education is also another concerned factor. Salary of an average teacher (Federal or State) in Nigeria is approximately 57, 000 NGN. This serves as a basic and includes other allowances – this is based on a report from Legit.ng. The poor income makes it difficult for teachers who wish to advance their studies. This includes taking care of other personal concerns and other family needs.
Another common challenge which may affect teachers educational upgrade is their inability to blend their teaching career with their study. In many government schools, teachers could obtain study leaves which enables them to study and still earn. Their jobs will also be secured during their study leaves. Incentives like this encourage most teachers to advance their careers. However, the case may not be the case for teachers in most private schools in Nigeria. For those teaching in private schools, they are not guaranteed their jobs should they wish to take a long break. In addition, their basic salaries are also not guaranteed during their study leaves.
In some cases, teachers who intend to make a long-term career in education, with interest in international schools operating locally, extensively educate themselves. Some go as far as securing international degrees by travelling abroad. This is to ensure a competitive edge over locally trained teachers. Nonetheless, just a little fraction of career teachers can afford this.
What are solutions, which can help tackle the challenges ahead?
Education globally is changing rapidly and in a very demanding way. This requires those practicing in the field to be very qualified in order to meet various challenges it brings. While upgrading academically may be a concerning factor for many Nigerian teachers, they have the option to opt for online education. This will ensure they receive high quality education and still be able to blend their study with work. There are an increasing number of foreign universities offering internationally recognised online degrees on education.
Unicaf University, a popular pan-African university has become the choice of many teachers across Africa seeking international education lately. The MA in Education offered by Unicaf University is suitable for teaching practitioners and non-teaching practitioners. It is suitable for those interested in understanding the important role of education in our everyday lives. This includes the links between education, society and students of all ages. The degree is ideal for all those who are in the educational sector or wishes to go into the sector. Having an interest in improving their knowledge in the fields of teaching and learning.
An MA Education provides skills such as the use of ICT, problem solving, critical thinking, communication and research. In-depth research and quality teaching techniques are part of the syllabus for the programme. Students will learn how to adapt to learning disabilities and understand educational practices and theories.
More about Unicaf University
Unicaf University is a pan-African independent and internationally recognised university. The institution combines the best elements of international education, offering high quality and internationally recognised degrees. Some of the programmes offered by Unicaf University through online and on-campus study system include undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Internationally recognised degrees are available for Nigerian teachers with interest. At the end of their study, their certificate does not state online. It is the same as the certificate of a student who has studied in any of the Unicaf University’s campuses.
UNICAF’s Scholarship on MA Education
UNICAF offers partial scholarships to Nigerians seeking international education. More than USD 90 million worth of scholarships have already been awarded to students. Also, about 20,000 students across Africa have benefited from UNICAF scholarships.
Application for the Programme – MA Education
Teachers in Nigeria with an interest in Unicaf University’s MA Education can apply by visiting the application page here. They should fill out the application form to express interest in the programme. A student adviser from Unicaf University will respond to applicants within 48 hours of applications.
Josephine Uche Chikwue (Writer & Educationist)