Teaching the Teachers

Teaching the Teachers: Degrees and Certification in Education IN NIGERIA IS MUST. If teachers fail, A COUNTRY AND A NATION HAS FAILED.      


NIGERIAN TEACHING STAFF: A CASE STUDY. By Larry Jones-Esan
Teaching the teachers: Degrees in education


East or West, developed or developing, secular or religious; wherever you go in the world, the education of the young is considered to be one of the central roles of society. And teaching, by extension, is considered almost universally to be one of the most noble and respectable professions.

And like all such professions, it is a big job, for which practitioners must be trained to a high level using the latest techniques. Whether it’s the all-round skills needed to teach younger children or the subject-specific expertise necessary to train students preparing to enter higher education, it is crucial that teachers get it right.

Add on the pressures of dealing with young people facing the challenges of growing up, and you have a profession which is not for the faint-hearted. Ergo, neither are degrees in education.

Not all education degrees are of the teacher training variety however. Many look at the system from the outside, analyzing current and past education systems and debating their strengths and flaws.

The goal of these courses is ultimately about improving education, drawing on research looking at everything from the way children learn to the best governmental structure for schools and how to keep the teachers themselves motivated.

Aside from the almost universal acknowledgement of its importance, attitudes and approaches to education differ around the world, and accordingly – except in special cases – you need to train where you intend to work. Training methods also differ, with many countries concentrating teacher training at graduate level. As ever, then, it’s important to think carefully about your future plans before committing to a degree.

Career option and prospects

No matter what the economic climate, teachers will always be in demand. Training as one, therefore, will render you eminently employable. And you can add on to this that, in more than one country in the world, there is a noted shortage of teachers – particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

So if you’re looking to shore-up your career prospects, you could do a lot worse than to enter the teaching profession.

The same applies for those working in education but not as teachers. Where there is mass teaching, an infrastructure will be required. Management, governance and administrative positions, as well as advisory roles will need to be filled. If you were truly dedicated to the improvement of teaching techniques, then a research career within the academy is also an option.

Understanding the general principles of education can also be useful for those who work in any sort of position which involves working with young people, or generally sharing knowledge (think museum curators, for instance). Management, human resources, and research are also options for an education graduate


Specializations

Primary education: Primary school is a crucial stage in a young person’s mental and social development, and therefore being a primary school teacher is a big responsibly. However, it can also be very rewarding. As well as studying the professional aspects of being a teacher, a degree in primary education will give you a basic grounding in the subjects you will be teaching your precocious charges. Courses will feature placements, so you’ll get a hands-on taste of the working world too.

Secondary education: Unlike the more general requirements of primary school teaching, secondary school teachers need to be fairly expert in their subject area – as you’ll know, young people can be pretty clever! Therefore, secondary school teacher training will need to take place alongside another subject. Alternatively, you might complete a bachelor’s degree in the subject which you want to teach and then do a graduate qualification in teaching after. Placements will also form a key part of your training.

Education studies: Education studies is, as the name suggests, the study of education itself. It is an interdisciplinary subject, looking at things like the psychology of learning, the role played by societal and sociological factors, and the history of education. Study this if you want to understand the bigger picture, and perhaps work towards changing it for the better – be it in an administrative, managerial or research capacity.

Special education: This is the branch of education which trains teachers to deal with students who have special needs. It is an extremely challenging discipline, as – even more than usual – each child will have their own specific individual needs. But if you’re cut out for it, it can be very fulfilling, giving you an opportunity to make a real difference. And, by virtue of the fact that it is not for everyone, it can also offer very strong employment prospects.

Skills summary

A degree in education will furnish you with a number of skills, including:

  • Vocationally inclined training for a career in the education sector
  • People skills
  • A framework for keeping up with an ever-evolving profession
  • The ability to deal with sensitive issues in an informed manner
  • Interdisciplinary skills
  • Expertise in a subject or across a spectrum
  • Firsthand experience of the field you’re about to enter
  • Organization and planning skills


In nutshell, all lecturers must undergo a teaching qualification. Lecturing and teaching as an art is missing in Nigerian higher education system. Students are not really taught to understand and practice what is being taught, but are taught to pass exams and make grades. Some do not even need to attend classes if they know the right people. How can a nation realise its goals and vision for the communities when educated citizen are ready to visit classes unprepared for their lessons, some without lesson plan.

This kind of attitude has not help our economy in anyway shape or form. We must tackle this cancerous diseases in our system. Institutions need to first and foremost, make it compulsory for lecturers to undergo a teaching qualification such as PGDE or PGCE and gain professional certification with a license number. Teaching a subject is different to having a PhD in that subject area.

These busy people do not need to take one year out to study for this certification, they will but be taught on the job on campus and be examine as professional on campus.