Nigerian teachers on Thursday October 5th joined their counterparts all over the world to mark world teachers day, a day set out to mark the importance of teachers and the teaching profession, barely few days after Nigeria marked her 57 anniversary of political independence. After 57 years of self government, what is the fate of the teacher in Nigeria, what is the hope of the profession and the hope of the future of the Nigeria child.
A lot has been written, canvassed and rightly advanced for the cause of the teacher in Nigeria. The advocacy for the cause and places of the teacher can never be overemphasized as the teacher is known to be the foundation for human capital and social development. The teacher and his profession is the pivot and Fulcrum suleman on which the human person rests, revolves and involves hence the teacher must be properly groomed, balanced, well cared for and solidly founded, to carry the lifelong weight of the human capacity and personality entrusted on him.
The teacher is a sinequa non in human development and society, civilized or uncivilized. For we are all products of the teachers hence the common saying among teachers that “if you can write your name thank your teacher”. The teacher has no barriers or bounds, he has no special jurisdiction or constituency and has no limitation to any category of persons or age grade.
It takes a person with love, understanding, patience, endurance, fortitude and enlightment to become a teacher, as the teacher is the only jack of all trade and master of all. Next to Creation and Procreation. The teacher is the next in command in molding the human person into what type of person the individuals turns out to be at adult age. The teacher like the farmer turns the human being to what direction he turns and finally becomes. Whether a President, Governor, High Priest, murderer, scientist, lawyer or technologist.
How much care, love, respect and training do we, as a nation offer, “this trainer of the trainer, or molder of persons”. The position and treatment, let down and derision meted out to the Nigerian teacher had forced a Nigerian columnist to once pose a question “Is teaching a profession”? In the past three decades have been forced to evade the job.
This was in the mid seventies before the establishment of “Teachers Registration Council”. Obviously, the Nigerian teacher has come a long way since after independence in 1960, from being only village champion and derided pauper who measured his yam tuber with ruler, to take place among other nationals though after abandoning the teaching profession. How can we make the teacher remain in his job, proud of his profession, not taking it as an alternative in the absence of any other? How do we make the teacher realize, or appreciate his job as a vocation like priesthood and medicine not a money making institution but a “Revered respect divine calling”.
Yes, time was when the Nigerian teacher had the powers to make and unmake and dictated the pace of the society, but what do we have today. He is the most derided, disrespected, uncared and most vulnerable victim of the society for both parents and their children, politicians and their stalwart or cronies alike.
Time was when the Nigerian teacher enjoyed the respect, regards and welfare of the society but 57 years after independence, the Nigerian teacher has been divested of those priviledges and respects inspite of higher learning, promises of higher wages and the sort. To take a look backwards to pre and post independence Nigeria, you will see that the absolute neglect of the teacher is the bane of the alleged fall in standard of education, moral decadence, and multiplication of crimes. The government takes over of schools in the early seventies and abrogation or religious studies introduction of neighbourhood and elite schools, as well as the insecurity of the teacher creating a missing link in our national development.
It is time the Nigerian authorities created enabling environments for the Nigerian teachers. He needs accommodation near the place of work as before. He needs provision of security against pupil’s parents and miscreants. He need teaching aids and equipment and transportation, modern teaching technical equipments, especially in this era of technical growth, working laboratories, rest room, care cerntres/rooms for nursing mothers, conference room as regular and hopeful pensions.
It is high time the Nigerian government and public stopped jesting and paying lip services to the teaching profession and the teacher whether in the crèche, primary, secondary or tertiary institution. We hope the place of the Nigeria teacher will be restored.
As we all are of woman birth, so as we all product of teachers. The bulk of teachers today are mainly women. They have all the abilities to make efficient teachers but they lack the vigour and strength to instill, descend, meted and cooperate disciplines required in the human speces. Compared to a nursing or lactating mother, the teachers need to be handled with care. Proper definite care of the aged retired teachers will attract and encourage the new entrants. Let us study, review and re-introduce Christian/Islam civic and history education. Let the teacher help us rebuild our country to adulthood. The quality of teachers we have determine the society we have. The recent ASUU strike is an indication of the fate of teachers and condition of women. Teachers are the pivot of the nation.