By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
As part of efforts to strengthen its regulatory powers, the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, on Wednesday, disclosed that it has approached the National Assembly for amendment to the Act establishing the Council to change its name to Teachers Regulatory Council of Nigeria.
Registrar of TRCN, Prof Josiah Ajiboye, stated this in Abuja while speaking as Guest Lecturer at the 24th Annual Seminar of the Nigerian Academy of Education with the theme: “Professionalisation of Teaching in Nigeria, Past, Present and Future.”
Ajiboye said although TRCN conducts registration of teachers, it performs other regulatory functions in terms of ensuring quality, monitoring and accreditation of programmes as well as providing training programmes for teachers.
“Part of things we are looking forward to in the future is a change in the name of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria to the Teacher Regulatory Council of Nigeria; it’s same TRCN. Actually, the idea behind that is that when you hear teachers’ registration council, people normally think that the function of TRCN is limited to registration of teachers.
“And we say no; although we register the teachers, we perform other regulatory functions in terms of ensuring quality, monitoring and accreditation of programmes and things like that. And then training programmes for teachers.
“So, we do more of regulation than just registration of teachers. We are not limited to registering teachers only. It’s Teachers’ Regulatory Council that would actually capture the essence of what we do at the level of TRCN. And that is why we are making that proposal to the House Committee on Basic Education,” he said.
On how far the House Committee on Basic Education has progressed with the amendment, he said it has organised a public hearing on it and the council is looking forward to seeing the amendment through.
Ajiboye noted that teaching profession is the major driver of the educational system as teachers are the determinants quality of education in any country, adding that the quality of teachers is very central to the education system in the country as no system can develop beyond the quality of its teachers.
Describing teachers as nation builders, he said teaching is the mother of all professions which creates other professions.
According to him, the teaching profession in Nigeria has attracted a lot of criticism, stating that Nigeria is the only country that people who are not qualified stand Infront of children to teach.
He warned that “in a society, where their best brains do not want to be teachers, their children would be taught be idiots.”
The TRCN noted that the council is correcting a situation where teaching was an all-comers profession to ensure that only those professionally qualified and certified are allowed to teach.
He said the Nigerian Government has discovered the danger of engaging quacks and the benefits of professionalisation of teachers, adding that teaching in Nigeria is now legally recognized as a profession, courtesy of the TRCN.
While stating that the major criteria for any occupation to be called a profession is to have a regulatory body, he said graduates of all teacher training institutions in Nigeria now write the teachers professional qualifying examination administered by the TRCN.
The TRCN boss, who maintained that the TRCN is doing a lot to strengthen professionalism in the teaching profession in Nigeria, said strengthening of the teaching profession was not only limited to local benchmarking but also internationally, stating that between January and now, about 40 teachers have been given approval by the council for acceptance in Canada.
He lamented that a large number of states were not doing well on the issue of continuous training of teachers, while others are doing well, and some have not employed teachers in the last ten years.
Ajiboye lamented that quackery accounts for lack of ethical and moral response to educational matters at school and at home.
On the scorecard of the agency, he said TRCN has developed a career path for Nigerian teachers, which has been approved by the National Council on Establishment and is awaiting presidential approval.
He further stated that the council has been able to prop about 1.4 million teachers from its database and currently has about 1.8 million registered teachers in its database nationwide.
While emphasising the use of technology, he noted that technology will not replace teachers but teachers who know how to use technology will replace those who do not know how to use technology.
He said President Buhari has given approval for TRCN to train 40,000 teachers on digital literacy across the country.
Also speaking, the President of the Nigerian Academy of Education, Prof Kabiru Isyaku, said if Nigeria wants to catch up with the rest of the world, it has to develop its teaching profession as that is where human capital development begins.
Isyaku emphasised the need for quality teachers as well as ensuring dedication and welfare of teachers, adding that if the country wants quality in everything education, it has to pay for it.