Story By: Oregbemi Olumide
As Nigerian teachers join their counterparts all over the world to celebrate World Teachers’ Day, both private and government-owned schools organize various programmes to celebrate their teachers and to mark this year edition of Teachers’ Day with glitz and glamour.
While visiting some venues of the events organized by private and government-owned schools, reactions from teachers indicate that teaching profession is very challenging and very little is done to encourage teachers.
While reacting to our correspondent, Mrs. Christy Usifo, a private school teacher, in Ikorodu axis of Lagos State, Nigeria, condemns poor teacher salaries as demotivating:
“The salaries teachers earn cannot be compared to the sacrifices they make. Only God can reward teachers for their sacrifices. I am talking about teachers that work wholeheartedly. The salaries are not encouraging at all”, she said.
Mrs. Ademakinwa, a government-owned school teacher, while reacting to our correspondent on the same issue of salary says teachers’ salaries are not encouraging compared to other professions and the rising standard of living makes it worst:
“The salary we earn is not encouraging when it comes to teaching profession compared to other professions and considering the rising standard of living and increasing inflation rate almost on a daily basis”, she said.
Mrs. Ademakinwa, whose teaching experience spans across two decades, stresses that government is doing very well by training teachers to be more effective in the classroom through the Training The Trainers initiative and by recognizing and awarding good effort. She further stresses that seeing her students excel also serves as a great motivation for her to keep doing more:
“In government schools, government has been doing very well by training us through Training The Trainers Initiative. It helps us to be more effective in discharging our duties. When you see your students excel, it also motivates. Seeing that government appreciates teachers’ efforts by awarding them is another encouragement. One happened last week where a teacher was awarded. Such moves motivate us”, she said.
Expressing worries about the fast falling standard of education in Nigeria, Mrs. Christy Usifo condemns engaging unqualified teachers (in private schools) some of whom are given two, three, four subjects they are not trained and qualified to teach:
“No, the standard of education is not improving at all. The standard of education is fast falling. Some private schools pass students and make them go to the next class when they don’t merit it. We also have many subjects introduced to the curriculum now. Another thing is that a teacher in a private school can take two, three, even four subjects. In some cases, a teacher might also be taking subjects that he or she is not qualified and trained to teach. So, you see the teachers struggling to teach the subjects. How will they impact”, she said.
Mrs. Ademakinwa points out that lack of funding for schools largely contributes to the falling standard of education in Nigeria. Reacting to this, the very experienced teacher points that students in some schools sit on fences and some on the floor to take classes. She continues that such situation will encourage inability to learn:
“The standard of education is not improving. Funding is not properly coming to schools. There are schools where students sit on the floor, on the fence and this does not allow them to assimilate properly”, she said.
Mrs. Usifo, while concluding, add that government and private school owners should endeavour not to wait for a day like this before celebrating teachers:
“Teachers should be celebrated. I don’t wait for a special day like this to celebrate my children’s teachers”, she said.