A United Kingdom-based education consultant, Ralueke Atusiuba Parkin has revealed that the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) certification was not acceptable to license one as a teacher in UK schools.
Ms Parkin stated this over the weekend at a guest session of the EduCeleb Education Discourse. The session which was themed “Teaching in the UK” had the guest enlightening participants extensively on the subject matter.
EduCeleb Education Discourse group on Telegram is an extension of the EduCeleb project towards engaging stakeholders on various subjects within the education sector.
Ms Parkin is the Executive Director for Insight Africa UK, a limited company registered in England and Wales to provide educational and other services.
She enlightened the participants on what it takes to qualify to teach in the UK and the process involved.
As a Nigerian who schooled up to the university level in the country before proceeding to the UK for her Master’s degree, she disclosed that despite graduating on merit, she was not deemed qualified to teach.
This runs in contrast to the Nigerian experience where almost anyone could be found teaching, in spite of government’s policy against that.
In Nigeria, a minimum of the Nigeria Certificate in Education is required of everyone who calls themselves teachers, in addition to a licence by the TRCN. Those teaching without TRCN certification could not be legally teachers.
Unlicensed teachers and their employers in Nigeria are liable for jail and/or fine if prosecuted based in the TRCN Act. But this has always been of limited implementation in the West African country where professionalism of the teaching profession is not entirely being upheld.
According to Parkin, teaching and learning in the UK is different from how it is done in many other countries as the government had a policy which requires one to acquire a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
“I came to UK to study for my Masters degree at the University of Leeds. Even with a Merit on graduation, they still said I cannot teach till I gain QTS. The policy states that you must gain QTS to qualify to teach in schools in the UK,” she said.
When a participant drew her attention to the existence of the TRCN licence for teachers in Nigeria said to be acceptable worldwide, she rebuffed it.
“Unfortunately, (it is) not. The QTS can only be gained in the UK. Even American teachers still have to go through the same process with all international teachers,” the University of Nigeria Nnsuka (UNN) alumnus said.
Basically, the QTS can only be acquired in the UK before anyone could be able to teach there. She added that there are two ways to acquire it. These she termed university led and school led.
For the university led QTS, the applicant must have a university degree and something like the Senior School Certificate Examination organised by either WAEC or NECO, or its equivalence with Credits in Mathematics and English while those seeking to teach in primary schools must have the above requirements as well as Credit in a science subject.
If one were presenting a result from overseas, such a person would have to reach out to the NARIC to check and verify the authenticity and UK equivalent of the result.
In her words, “To qualify to teach in the UK, you must have a degree from a University as well as Credit in English and Maths for secondary schools. For primary schools, a credit in one science subject is compulsory.”
Beyond that, the classroom experience basically strengthens one’s application. It could be gained within three to ten days.
“To strengthen your application you need to gain school experience. This is very important because it gives you a chance to observe and interact with students offering the subject you want to teach thus giving you a firsthand experience of the classroom. It also gives you room to evaluate yourself and decide if teaching is for you. Additionally, it will help you during your interview process. Your experience should be three to ten years,” she stated.
The process of obtaining the QTS has to go through applying through the University and Colleges Admission Services (UCAS), the government agency in charge.
“You tender an application to the University and Colleges Admission Services (UCAS). The applicant would need a strong personal statement to go with the application. This process involves interviews.
“For the school led, you apply to UCAS, attend the interview and get posted to the school if you pass the interview. All your trainings will be in a secondary school and not in the university.
“For those without degree, they would need to go through the university and apply for PGCE from the beginning and gain QTS when you graduate,” she added.
She advised intending teachers in the UK to visit the UCAS website, the UK Education Office page or the NARIC website for further information.
Meanwhile, Parkin also observed the wide gap between UK education and that of Nigeria. Emphasis was placed on practical from the early years. What she learnt in the dramatic arts class as an undergraduate in Nigeria was already being taught to year 7 pupils during the School Experience Programme (SEP) otherwise known as the classroom experience.
Comparing that to the Nigerian experience, she stated that the UK system was “well advanced.”
Members of the public who wish to be a part of the EduCeleb Education Discourse are welcome to join provided that they are willing to restrict conversations to the education sector. The next guest session on the platform holds in a fortnight, according to EduCeleb management.