A teacher in a public secondary school in Oyo State once told his experience in teaching Biology for the whole of a school with a population of no fewer than 500 students.
An analyst in education sector in Ibadan says this is due to uneven distribution of teachers and mass retirement of teachers without replacement.
According to him, some teachers are frustrated and overwhelmed with the load of work which has affected the quality of education.
To check this, the Oyo State government recently recruited 5,000 teachers to fill the vacuum left by those who retired but analysts note that the number of the recruits is just like a drop in the ocean, considering the number of teachers that have left the service of the state education sector.
Also, the number of the recruits is small considering the recommendation of the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC) during its 2022 National Personnel Audit (NPA) that the Oyo State government should recruit more teachers into the public primary schools.
“The need to recruit more teachers became manifest during the just concluded Personnel Audit Exercise in the state by the commission in collaboration with Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board,’’ the Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission, .
Dr Hamid Bobboyi insists.
He notes that the present shortage of qualified teachers is dangerous to the qualitative education the Gov. Seyi-Makinde led administration is offering pupils in the state.
A teacher in the state says there has been mass retirement of teachers in the last four years without recruitment to fill the gap left, pleading anonymity.
“Some of us were asked to start to teach subjects that we have no background in, in addition to our subject and this is not really working well as we already have more loads of work in our own field.
“Because of bad roads, some teachers who have built houses in the suburbs got transferred to their communities and that left another vacuum.
“So, in a school, you might have seven English teachers, whereas in another school, there might be no teacher or just one teacher taking the subject,’’
The teacher observes.
But Prof. Clement Kolawole, the Chairman School Governing Board Estate High School Senior, Bashorun, commended the Oyo State government for taking the bulls by the horns and recruiting teachers massively into the system.
“In the last few months, the government has recruited 5,000 teachers. I commend the government for that, because that is how we can strengthen the education sector.
“If there are issues with the posting of teachers, the government cannot be held responsible because there are people who are saddled with the responsibility of posting teachers, they should give an account of how they are posting teachers.
“If there are vacancies in the system, the attention of the government should be drawn to that; but so far, the education in Oyo State has been wonderful because the government has been doing very well,’’
Mr Ayodeji Solanke, the Coordinator of CVG-AFRICA, a non-governmental organisation saddled training and retraining of teachers for better education, observes the government should take a holistic look into the kind of education standards that are being set in the state.
“Teachers’ distribution should be based on the size of the school, which is the students’ population. Where there are more students, there should be more teachers, especially when it comes to the core subjects.
“Also, we know that teachers lobby to be close to their area of residence or community, they push for this even when there is no space for them or when they are not needed where they are going because they just want to be there.
“So, when they get there they may become the number sixth mathematics teacher and so they get nothing to do there.
“The fact is that such teachers had used lobbying to get their desire in getting schools closer to where they live,’’
According to him, there is another situation whereby a long-serving teacher is just moved to other schools even when his or her movement will cause a vacuum in the school he or she is being moved from.
He stated that having served a long time in a place should not be a reason to move any teacher. But if that is to be done, there should be a replacement. I have heard about such a transfer of a teacher before.
“Another thing to look at is putting the right teacher to handle the subject he or she has knowledge and experience in handling. This will ensure there is no deficit.
“We see more teachers studying English and Mathematics but some subjects are not really studied in the colleges of education or tertiary institutions.
“So, what happens later is that teachers now improvised to teach those endangered subjects or rare subjects.
“The way forward is for the government to be sincere and embark on a thorough and continuous review of teachers’ distributions and deficits in handling some rare subjects.
“There should be a quarterly or yearly assessment of the numbers of teachers on ground, finding out if schools have the required numbers of teachers relative to students’ population and subjects that would be taught,’’ he said.
“Favoritism should be jettisoned. Teachers should be posted according to the area of needs in schools.
“Government should work on incentives for teachers, especially those in the rural communities.
“This is because most teachers posted to rural communities see it as a death sentence. So it is either they don’t report in school or find a way to get a retransfer back to the city.
“Incentives such as staff quarters should be brought back, though some old schools still have this but are they in good living conditions?
“The alumni of various schools should find ways to partner with the government on this to ensure that teachers posted to far places or rural areas have accommodation that would enable them to discharge their duties and not abscond or abandon them.
“The government can also bring back car loans as an incentive for teachers. This is practicable in spite the cost of vehicles now, the willingness to do it is all that it would take.
“I believe more incentives would be helpful to ensure quality education in Nigeria as a whole,’’
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