Unlicensed teachers liable for jail


This may sound strange but it’s the truth. The Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) Act provides that unlicensed teachers are liable for jail. This underscores the importance of the licence to those who may want to be identified as teachers.

In essence here, unlicensed teachers in Nigeria risk jail terms. School owners harbouring unlicensed teachers too are not excluded from being hammered.

You may not know these before. But ignorance of the law, they say, is not an excuse. The law provides that you must first obtain a teaching licence through a teacher-training institution and a licence from the TRCN to practice the teaching profession.

Recall that since assumption of office in 2016, the leadership of the TRCN headed by Professor Josiah Ajiboye had so far striven to galvanise the mechanism of the law establishing the Council to make it more effective, like other professional regulatory bodies.

The TRCN had been collaborating with governments at all levels to ensure that all teachers on their payroll are qualified and certified. Privately owned educational institutions with integrity are already keying into that as well.

Many teachers may lose their jobs in 2018 due to lack of TRCN registration. Those who had already registered would not partake in the first edition of mandatory professional examination leading to the issuance of the licence billed to hold this October as mere registration for licensing is being phased out. It is said that the test would be computer-based in line with current trends in examining. These steps, as being implemented, are not entirely strange to the law as the TRCN Act had been available since 1993. It only takes a purposeful leadership to implement them.

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I had previously written about what teacher-training institutions do and how you can obtain your teaching licence. You may want to read them up later. A teacher without a licence is more or less an impersonator in the face of the law. You had better obtain your teaching licence through any of the TRCN offices nationwide.

The TRCN Act Section 17(2) states that it is a criminal offence for any individual who is not registered by TRCN as a teacher to do the job of a teacher or earn the reward of a teacher or use the title or identity of a teacher.

The Act provides that any individual convicted of the offence shall be liable for a fine of five thousand Naira (N5,000) or two years imprisonment or both as the law court may decide. It further states that the employer(s) or facilitators of such an individual shall be liable for the same fine or two years imprisonment or both.

Note that the five thousand Naira fine was fixed in 1993 when the Act came into force. The Act is now being reviewed and the fine will also be raised to a very significant amount. These provisions of Act are very serious prohibitions by the law which many individuals and employers in Nigeria have recklessly violated over the years. Take heed!

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Legal Requirements for Recognition of teachers in Nigeria

To be legally recognised as a teacher in Nigeria, an individual must register with TRCN, as already stated. The TRCN Act 31 of 1993, section 6 (1) states that to be registered, an individual must:

  1. Pass a qualifying examination accepted by the Council and complete the practical teaching prescribed by the Council under the Act or
  2. Not being a Nigerian, hold a qualification granted outside Nigeria which for the time being is recognized by the Council and is by law entitled to practice the profession in the country in which the qualification was granted provided that the other country accords Nigerian professional teachers the same reciprocal treatment and that he satisfies the Council that he has had sufficient practical experience as a teacher.
  3. Be of good character
  4. Have attained the age of twenty-one years
  5. Not have been convicted in Nigeria or elsewhere of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty.

Other Requirements for Recognition of Teachers in Nigeria

To be registered and to retain one’s name on the Teachers Register, a teacher shall comply with TRCN provisions regarding as the case may be:

  1. Induction at point of graduation
  2. Payment of registration fees and annual dues
  3. Professional Qualifying Examinations
  4. Internship after graduation from teacher education institution
  5. Continuing Professional Development
  6. Any other requirements that may be made by TRCN from time to time.
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Stop procrastinating obtaining your teaching license from TRCN. Tomorrow may be too late.

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