Education is usually considered to be a crucial requirement for the growth and development of an individual, a society, an organization or a country. It plays a key role in the sociological, economical and technological advancement of a society, more or less in Nigeria; education is seen as a vital tool to be used to bridge the large gaps of insufficiency in all its sectors.
However, being a teacher in today’s world is a lot more different from what it was in the past years. Education has taken different turn from what it was normally supposed to be and this has made things a lot more difficult and unpleasant for those who would love to take up teaching as a profession in Nigeria.
Before I go into the details of the topic slated out to be discussed, I’d like to take us on a ride to understanding what teaching is truly meant to be and also what profession in respect to teaching also means.
Teaching can be said to be the act that defines the core of education. It is the process of impacting knowledge, skills and growth. Teaching is an all round profession woven in all sectors of the society and how the society grows relentlessly depends on the quality of teachers available.
However, teaching goes beyond the classroom, holding a chalk and dishing out instructions, it extends into the ability to sell information to an active, critically minded buyer, the teacher would have to parcel up the information and make it presentable and enticing to the recipients of the information, by doing this the teacher didn’t just dish out instructions and facts but has create a relevant impression and knowledge in the minds of the students that could last a life time.
The idea of teaching as a profession is usually known to be one of the noblest; in the sense that it is usually considered the origin of all professions and teachers were highly respected acknowledged because of their ability to inculcate knowledge.
Teaching as a profession is an occupation which delivers relevant services that is essential to the sustenance of people and community, these relevant services is knowledge based, packed with problem solving, uncommon and expertise inclined skills, this occupation is key to the survival of the society.
As time evolved, so has the teaching structure and reputation of the Nigerian educational system evolved, spurning out a new range of problems that faces the teaching industry as a profession in Nigeria, they are listed as follows:
- Inadequate funding from the government: Perhaps the most discouraging factor that poses a great challenge to teachers’ professionalism is the high rate of inadequate funding. Teachers are mostly underpaid, the government has not been in effective in providing and protecting the welfare of teachers, they are usually offered low wages, below average welfare and insufficient motivation in respect with pensions and other benefit.
- Distorted image of teachers in the society: The way teachers are seen in the society has an important effect on its level of professionalism. Teachers in today’s society are nothing more than mere peasants as compared to those in the olden days, where being a teacher was an honor indeed to be reckoned with due to the fact that there were laid down structure and facilities to encourage and motivate teachers.
- Lack of proper professional and in-training: Most teachers in the educational sector are employed regardless of their competencies and skills even when they are not qualified.
- Poor work environment and infrastructures the un-availability of adequate infrastructure makes the teaching profession very unattractive and inconvenient for anyone. There are lots of schools where teaching could have been made easy and convenient but the government has neglected their duties.
- The inadequacy of staffs can pose as a serious factor. There are lots of unqualified staffs, in the sense that they lack the basic skills, knowledge and expertise to deliver quality teaching services.
- Porosity of the entry level of students and even teachers in the educational sectors is usually a major problem that affects the teaching as a profession in Nigeria, in the sense that they are not well screened and tested to be fit as teachers in the educational sector.
- The lack of independence of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) as an educational body comes in as a big barrier. The inability for NUT to be free to make and act on decisions of its own serves as a hindrance to the growth of teaching as a profession in Nigeria
- The lack of a standard professional educational academy does not provide a platform for teachers to further gain relevant skills, knowledge and experience; this seriously stunts the growth of teaching professionalism in Nigeria.
- Low-self esteem ruins the motivations and interest of an individual to venture into a teaching profession
- Politicizing education also earns teachers a lot more challenges in Nigeria.
- Poor allocation of financial support and budget for the cause of sponsoring events in line produces
- The negative re-enforcement factor doesn’t in anyway contribute to the growth of teaching profession in Nigeria
- Lack of an effective and efficient teaching policies and staffs
- Unwarranted government interruptions
- Lack of communication can also pose a threat and a problem to the society as a whole and teachers
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS OF TEACHING AS A PROFESSION IN NIGERIA
Nigeria can be better and its professional teaching deficiencies can be fixed. The Nigerian union of teachers can solve the problem by providing firm and concrete policies that would help shape the structure of the Nigerian professional teaching system to favor the teachers.
The establishment of good infrastructural facilities must be provided by the government. The fair and proper treatment and screening of qualified staffs before induction must be best adopted for teaching effectiveness and efficiency.
Professional academic institutions and events should be a factor in order to encourage teachers through awards, ranks based on their impacts. When all these things are sufficiently put in place becoming a teacher as a profession would be a simple escape route of failed career and frustration but instead it would be an Honor once again.
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