By Omar Muaz
“Teacher is a maker of man. He is foundation of all Education, and thus of the whole civilization of mankind, present and future. No nation reconstruction is possible without the active cooperation of the teacher.” — John Adams
What leads me to write this short piece for intending teachers — whether they be students in secondary schools, senior students who are seeking entry to a college of education, faculty of education in universites or the students who have just embarked on a course in a college or department of education — to let them wary that it’s fairly a good idea to be a “nation builder”. What those students have experienced in their schooling and the way they conceived their future “roles” as teachers may well give rise to misconception about their welfare and richness since the profession and its entire section have been maltreated not just by the government but its stakeholders which I effective intend to change the story at the end.
The various attempts that have been made to define education, identifying teachers and their roles in building a nation since the creation of the universe have made it increasingly clear that no satisfactory definition can be made or the roles of a teacher in a nation building can be obtained until the whole purpose of education as a nation builder has been closely examined as the role of a teacher is a multi-faceted one comprising academic, pedagogical and social roles.
So let us rid ourselves immediately of the mindset that education is a common course of study like history, mathematics, languages etc. It should be clear that all education is life and all life is education and to study what lifts the mind out of blind alleys should be a purpose of a living.
There are not less than 144 available courses under faculty of education in all Nigerian universities and according to NCCE, 2013, there are 152 colleges of education in Nigeria, consisting of 21 federal, 82 private and 54 state colleges of education and all aim at producing teachers who are the representatives of a nation who inculcates moral precepts. But why do Nigeria lag in terms of development and still have rough education system despite having enough colleges of education? It’s because the most of the students of education are in the field coincidentally or were coerced which literally means they lack passion for the course.
I observed the students of education for a while and most of them are in the field for I-have-no-option reason. The difference in the level of success between students who are in the field willingly and those who unwillingly found themselves in is perceptible. The students would possibly have the same brilliant mind but a different level of enthusiasm meant different levels of results in building a nation or destroying it. If my memory serves me right, there was a colleague of mine who said to me his regret of being an education student. I never blamed him of telling me the truth because passion can’t be faked. Only I know, it can be created.
Despite the emerging challenges the teaching – and the teachers – face which include; poor teachers’ salary structure and other remunerations, deteriorating condition of resources allocation for enhance teaching-learning process, differential categorization of teachers, discriminative political interference and low degree of autonomy, it is good to know that a teacher can be rightly called a “nation builder” but a “nation destroyer” if he or she studies education coercedly. One thing to also note, a degree in Education does not necessarily mean one has to become a teacher. Graduates have gone onto a range of professions, including curriculum designers, education psychologists and education officers in museums or community services. Hitherto, don’t see any wrength in becoming a teacher.
Different professions are needed for many things that are useful and needed but teachers are the prerequisites for modern society. We need every voting citizen to have a basic set of skills, like reading, writing, math and general knowledge that all take a good while to teach. If the entire country would shun the discipline “education” for the better ones as some fickle-minded students think, then the nation will have its ladder to development splintered.