Basic Education: Stakeholders Call For Return Of Teacher Training Colleges
Stakeholders in the education sector have
blamed challenges in Nigeria’s basic
education sector on policy inconsistency,
inadequate funding and poor facilities.
The stakeholders, expressed the views in
interviews with the News Agency of
Nigeria (NAN), called for the
reintroduction of teacher training colleges.
Mr Dare Ilekoya, the Chairman, Nigeria
Union of Teachers (NUT) in Ogun, said
that different policies by different
administrations constituted major
problems to the system.
Ilekoya said that the 6-3-3-4 system of
education was the best basic education
system if well implemented.
“However, with the amendment to make
the system 9-3-4, there have been a lot
of things that were disrupted in that
“if professionals were called to actually
contribute to the policy, we would not
have agreed to the idea of 9-3-4
“This is because the 6-3-3-4 arrangement
has a lot of advantages, as professionals
we know how it will work with our
system,” he said.
Ilekoya further said the lack of continuity
in government affected standards in
He said: “When you introduce a
curriculum and we are still looking into its
workability before you know it, another
one will come.
“We have as many curricula in this
country as the number of ministers of
Education we have had.
“If you have brought out a curriculum, let
us see how it works, we can only amend
or adjust it where necessary not that you
abandon it after sometime and introduce
a new one, this does not help our
He said that non-professionals were being
appointed into key areas to manage
“No nation can develop over and above its
level of education; we have so many
retired principals and professors to be
appointed as commissioners for Education
Dr Tunde Banwo, an educationist in Ota,
Ogun, said that the first problem was with
the recruitment process of teachers.
Banwo said in the past, teacher training
colleges produced teachers for primary
schools, while Nigerian Certificate in
Education (NCE) holders taught in junior
sections in secondary schools.
He also said there was poor monitoring of
schools by inspectors, while school
managers and parents indulged in
Banwo said while officials embezzled
funds, teachers encouraged examination
cheating among students.
“To get out of the problem, enough
resources needed to be devoted to the
sector and we need to ensure that our
education is designed toward our
developmental needs as a nation.
The Permanent Secretary , Ministry of
Education in Osun, Mr Lawrence Oyeniran,
also criticised the abolition of teacher
He said the abolition of the colleges gave
birth to ” accidental teachers, who teach
to survive and not to build sustainable
educational foundation in their pupils”.
Oyeniran called for a reversal of the policy
to restore the glory of basic education in
Nigeria through “competent and certified
teachers at the foundation level’’.
He said the need for certified teachers
informed the re-classification of schools
to Elementary, Middle and High schools
by the Osun Government.
The Permanent Secretary of Osun State
Universal Basic Education Board, Alhaji
Fatai Kolawole, advocated regular training
Kolawole said training for teachers,
especially at the basic level, would
enhance the quality of teaching children
received early in life.
Dr Mahfouz Oladimeji, the Director, Centre
for Peace and Strategic Studies, University
of Ilorin, also called for the restoration of
teacher training colleges.
Oladimeji described the scrapping of
teacher training colleges as a mistake,
saying they were the pride of the
education system as they trained teachers
adequately and professionally.
Alhaji Musa Yeketi, the Kwara
Commissioner for Education and Human
Capital Development, said the basic
education system lacked proper
A Senior Lecturer with Kwara State
University, Molete, Mr Ibrahim Oseni, said
the recruitment of unqualified teachers
adversely affected basic education.
“Teachers’ recruitment should not be
politicised for the sake of our children as
they are the future leaders. So, our basic
education should not be taken for
granted,” Oseni said.
Mr Felix Fatola, the Proprietor of Glory
Nursery/Primary School, Olunlade Area,
Ilorin, called for better school facilities,
such as libraries, teachers and improved
A teacher, Mr Wole Odunlami, however,
said that introducing and enforcing the
teaching and learning of technical works
in schools would improve standards.
“Some students prefer arts and creative
works which are not included in the
curriculum, thus discouraging them from
attending classes,” he said.
The Rector, Kwara State Polytechnic,
Alhaji Mas’ud Elelu, attributed the poor
standard of basic education to poor
implementation of education policies.
But Mr Akin Asaniyan, the Executive
Secretary of Ondo State Quality Education
Assurance Agency, said there were no
inconsistencies in the basic education
Asaniyan commended the Federal
Government for providing advanced and
unified system of basic education, saying
“unlike in the past, governments still fund
“The changes in the new curriculum are in
the way learners are being taught to meet
up with new trends in the world today.
“The curriculum is now universal. Before,
each region had different books but they
all now use the same curriculum. We
have the same training for all teachers in
all regions,” he said.
“When people talk of fall in standard of
education, I do not totally agree because
learners now have access to computer
with teachers and subjects such as Civic
Education, which enlightens them more,”
The Imo Commissioner for Education, Mrs
Gertrude Oduka, said poor learning
conditions and corruption were major
problems for basic education.
Oduka said in the 1960s, there were
better learning conditions and policies
which made pupils to be better taught.
A former Pro-Chancellor of Imo State
University, Prof. Chidi Ibe, said that in the
past 25 years, the budget for education
had been very poor.
The Headmaster of Umualum Primary
School, Nekede in Owerri, Mr John Okafor,
attributed the problems in basic education
to poor remuneration and training of
Mr Jude Ndiribe, a parent, said he went
through the public school system but
could not send his children to the system
because the standard had dropped.
Ndiribe said the discipline and
seriousness with which teachers
discharged their duties in the past was
lacking in schools.
“I am not satisfied with the standard and
I do not think my children can get the
best from there.
“The government should take more care
of our teachers and have a more robust
monitoring system so that the quality can
come back,” he said.
But Chief Olisa Nzemeka, the Chairman of
Anambra Universal Basic Education Board,
dismissed the claim of falling standard in
public primary schools as empty and
Nzemeka said public schools in Anambra
were effective and producing students
who had done the state proud locally and
“The conclusion or claim that public
primary schools are dying has no basis
because in Anambra the public primary
education sector is very effective.
“There is no empirical evidence to support
such claim; the population of pupils in
school may not be the only criteria for
judging, but the public schools are more
sought after than any other.
“We just returned from Singapore where
we won an international schools debate
and all the participants in that
competition are from the public schools.
A former Chairman of NUT in Enugu
State, Mr Chuma Ifenze, attributed the
seeming fall in standard of basic
education to early enrolment of pupils in
Ifenze said many parents and guardians
rushed their wards and enrolled them in
schools prematurely without minding the
“I do not believe there has been a fall in
the standard of education from Primary 1
to JSS 3 because there are so many
things you have to consider before
arriving at such conclusion.
“You have to look at the age of the
children when they start. Many parents
and guardians enrol their wards
prematurely and that affects their
knowledge base,” he said.
Mr Samuel Akano, the Oyo State
Chairman of NUT, called for improved pay
for teachers and good learning
Akano accused state governors of playing
politics with education.
He, however, commended the Federal
Government’s plan to recruit 500,000
teachers but cautioned that only qualified
and trained teachers be engaged.
Stakeholders in the North Central zone
called for increased budgetary allocation,
better infrastructure and enhanced
remuneration for teachers to improve the
situation in schools.
Mr Gunsling Yarlings, the Chairman, NUT
in Plateau, said it was sad that the
education budget was below the UNESCO
benchmark of 26 per cent of national
‘’There are many children still learning
under Mango trees and you do not expect
them to perform well compared with their
peers in enabling environments,’’ Yarlings
He said poor training and remuneration
for teachers had adversely affected basic
education in Nigeria.
“The incessant strikes in colleges of
education have produced half-baked
“Syllabi are rushed when students resume
from strike whether they learn or not;
how can the products of that system be
“Some teachers are not paid for more
than five months yet they are expected to
perform excellently and they are hardly
promoted when due. It wasn’t like that
before,” Yarlings said.
Mr Sylvester Yakubu, the Chairman,
Parent-Teachers’ Association in Plateau,
said government officials should monitor
schools more frequently to ensure
teachers were committed to their duties.
Yakubu urged parents to partner schools
s by providing them study materials.
Mr Ephraim Ishaya, Chairman, Education
Secretaries Forum in Benue, stressed the
need for parents to be sensitised to
complement government efforts in
providing school facilities.
Prof. Mathew Sule, the Executive
Chairman, State Universal Basic Education
Board in Niger, called for adequate
staffing of schools.