Nigeria to launch professional standards document for school leaders

Nigerian Coat of Arm

The Nigerian federal government is set to launch the Professional Standards for School Leaders to guide their conduct and operations.

This marks a significant milestone in the regulation and enhancement of educational leadership in Nigeria.

It is coordinated by Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).

Professor Josiah Ajiboye, the TRCN Registrar and Chief Executive, disclosed this in the latest episode of The Education Podcast, an initiative of EduCeleb, hosted by Abdussalam Amoo.

These standards are designed to provide clear guidelines and expectations for school leaders, ensuring they are well-equipped to foster an environment conducive to learning and development.

Ajiboye emphasised the critical role of school leadership, stating, “We now recognize that school leadership is very, very critical. Apart from the learner factor and the teacher factor, the next major factor in the school environment is the school leadership.”

The new standards, set to be presented to the public by the Honorable Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, on June 27, aim to promote excellence in educational administration.

Ajiboye explained that these standards were developed with support from the British Council and other development agencies, underscoring the collaborative effort to uplift the quality of school management.

These standards are expected to guide school leaders in effective management practices, ethical decision-making, and the integration of digital technologies in administrative processes.

By establishing these professional standards, the TRCN seeks to ensure that school leaders are not only proficient in their administrative duties but also play a pivotal role in enhancing the overall educational experience. The initiative reflects a broader commitment to raising the bar for educational leadership across Nigeria, thereby contributing to improved student outcomes and a more robust education system.

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As Ajiboye highlighted, “The professional standard for school leaders is to make sure that they can lead effectively, manage resources efficiently, and create a positive school climate that supports both teachers and students.”

The Education Podcast episode

The spotlight of the episode of The Education Podcast was on the regulation of the teaching profession in Africa, particularly in Nigeria.

Ajiboye doubles as the President of the Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA).

He shared his insights and experiences regarding the challenges and advancements in maintaining teaching standards across the continent.

Key Challenges in Teaching Regulation

Professor Ajiboye identified significant hurdles in regulating the teaching profession in Nigeria and Africa.

“With over four million teachers in Nigeria, only about 2.3 million are registered with the TRCN,” he revealed.

This leaves a considerable number of unregistered and often underqualified teachers, especially in private schools.

He highlighted the difficulty of this regulatory task, likening it to the regulation of professions such as medicine or food.

Ajiboye acknowledged the initial lack of awareness about the TRCN’s role, stating, “When I came here in 2016, not many people knew what the TRCN was about. Today, the name rings a bell in every home, family, and school.”

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This increased awareness is a testament to the progress made in promoting the importance of teacher registration and qualification.

Achievements and Initiatives

Under Professor Ajiboye’s leadership, the TRCN has spearheaded several initiatives aimed at elevating the quality of education and professional development for teachers in Nigeria. He discussed the creation of crucial policy documents and standards, such as the Professional Standards for Nigerian Teachers and the Code of Conduct for Nigerian Teachers.

Ajiboye emphasised the importance of digital literacy, particularly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nigerian teachers have now realized the importance of technology,” he noted, “and a majority are trying to catch up.”

The TRCN began digital literacy training in 2018 and, with support from the Global Partnership for Education, trained 22,500 teachers across 16 states in 2022.

Professional Qualifying Examination

A significant reform introduced by Ajiboye is the Professional Qualifying Examination (PQE) for teachers. Prior to 2016, teachers could register with the TRCN simply by presenting their certificates. “I consider that an anomaly,” Ajiboye stated. “There must be a gatekeeping exercise before entering any profession.”

The PQE, first administered in 2017, revealed a substantial gap in computer literacy among teachers.

“A large number of teachers failed the exam not because of difficult content but because they did not know how to use a computer,” he explained.

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However, this initiative has driven teachers to improve their digital skills, which has positively impacted teaching standards.

Ongoing efforts and future goals

Despite notable progress, Ajiboye acknowledged the ongoing challenges, particularly regarding teacher welfare and digital literacy. He commended states like Lagos, Edo, Enugu, Anambra, and Oyo for their efforts in supporting teachers, while urging other states to follow their example.

Ajiboye emphasised the TRCN’s commitment to continuous professional development. Initiatives such as the Mandatory Continued Professional Development (MCPD) program, annual online conferences for registered teachers, and collaborations with development partners are integral to promoting teacher professionalism in Nigeria.

Professor Ajiboye’s insights on The Education Podcast offered a comprehensive overview of the challenges and achievements in regulating the teaching profession in Nigeria and Africa. His leadership at the TRCN and AFTRA has brought about significant reforms and improvements, yet the journey towards fully professionalizing and uplifting the teaching profession continues.

As Ajiboye aptly put it, “The teacher holds the key to education, and education is the bedrock of development.”

Watch the episode below.

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