Bring Back Teacher Training Colleges

In its bid to improve upon the quality of education
and save the sector from the quagmire that has
bedeviled it over the years, the federal
government has declared its willingness to re-
introduce the abolished Teacher Training Colleges
(TTCs) in the country. This was disclosed recently
by the minister of education Mallam Adamu Adamu
at the inauguration of the Kano State Education
Promotion Committee in Kano. He said the
President Buhari-led administration was committed
to the revitalization of the education sector.
The minister who was represented at the occasion
by his Senior Special Adviser (SSA) Dr Abdullahi
Baffa Bichi stated that arrangements had reached
advanced stage for the review of the education
curriculum; adding that government would soon
introduce special scholarships to enable those
interested in teaching to further their education.
The scholarship is aimed at improving the skills of
teachers who are the backbones of quality
Speaking at the occasion, the Kano state governor
Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje announced that the
Education Promotion Committees of the 44 LGAs in
the state have been given N440m to be used for
the procurement of teaching facilities; with a view
to adding value and guaranteeing quality assurance
within the system in the state.
It would be recalled that the federal government
in 1998 phased out Teachers’ Grade Two (TC II)
Certificate and replaced it with the Nigerian
Certificate in Education (NCE) as the minimum
teaching qualification in Nigeria. The very poor
quality of primary school graduates and of their
teachers was the main reason advanced then by
government for abolishing teachers’ colleges.
Unfortunately, this policy has, after 18 years of
implementation, failed to remedy the situation it
was meant for.

Some primary school pupils in class six, for
instance, cannot correctly write or even read their
names. The poor quality of primary school
graduates has generally failed to improve because
they are being taught by wrong teachers; holders
of NCE. This justifies the assertion by some
educationists that the caste of teachers needed in
primary schools is not those who possess NCE but
TC II holders.
The renowned educationist, Professor Adamu Baike,
described the scrapping of TTCs in the country as
not only premature but also responsible for the
obstinate woes that have since then continued to
confront the system. Besides failing to actually
professionalize teaching, the hasty scrapping of
the TC II has kept us bickering over minimum
teaching qualification several years after the
establishment of the Teachers Registration Council
of Nigeria (TRCN).
The scrapping of TTCs for the purpose of raising
minimum teaching qualification from TC II to NCE
was actually taken in error because as it evidently
compounded the sector’s challenges at the basic
level of the system. The training of NCE holders is
actually not compatible with what is expected of
primary school teachers. While teachers’ colleges
train their graduates to teach nearly all subjects
at the primary school level, colleges of education
prepare teachers in only two subject areas. The
situation was further worsened by the ill-timing of
the policy which was introduced at a time when
there were no enough NCE holders to even go
round existing secondary schools.
In order to properly address the crisis at the basic
level of education, there is need to bring back the
TTCs. Beyond that too, government should
acknowledge that teachers’ welfare is central to
sustaining the interest of trained and qualified TC
II teachers on the job. The profession must
therefore be made attractive. This will not only
appeal to serving teachers but shall equally charm
potential teachers in TTCs to want to remain in the
profession after training. The higher the number
of trained and qualified teachers retained on the
job, the less number of quack teachers that would
be found in teaching.
If the primary which is basic foundation of
education is rickety, the secondary and tertiary
levels of the system are likely to be worse.
Bringing back TTCs to get the right teachers to
teach in primary schools would, therefore, be a
wise decision.