A former Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufai has called on government to increase the three months allocated to teaching practice among other reforms in teacher education in Nigeria.
Rufai, an education professor, was guest speaker at a distinguished lectures series organised by the Faculty of Education at the Lagos State University on Tuesday, 10th September.
Rufai called for the teaching practice being extended to one year in addition to periodic microteaching exercises.
“Apart from the one year, all through the university we must make use of micro teaching so that when they graduate, they can be ready,” she added.
In her lecture on the topic, “Teacher Preparation for Nigerian Schools: Adequacy, Effectiveness and Impact”, she also stressed the need to acquire the right training to be a teacher.
“Preparation of teachers is to help teachers teach. We need them to have the required skills and motivation.
“We need qualified teachers to teach. If you are a teacher and you don’t have the required certificates, I urge you to go and acquire the necessary skills.
“Teaching is not as easy as it seems. There are skills that must be possessed.”
She also recommended that teachers’ salaries be made attractive stressing that “Teachers must be well paid. Their takes homes must take them home”.
“We must flush out all unqualified teachers. They must be qualified before coming back to teach our students. Unqualified teachers is not acceptable.”
The Bayero University, Kano don also harped on the political will to strengthen and implement recommendations in the Teacher Development Needs Assessment (TDNA).
On addressing the challenge of unqualified teachers, she called on the authorities to determine those that can be integrated into the system, provide necessary training for them and organise the training in line with the identified capacities of participants.
For those unable acquire the training, she proposed that they are assigned other responsibilities or transferred to other sectors.
“The problem of teaching in Nigeria is that people take teaching as a last resort, not a first option. Providing scholarship will motivate some to be interested in teaching primarily,” she added.
The distinguished lecturer also noted that implementation of the teacher education policy is key to meeting national education objectives contained in Nigeria’s National Policy on Education.