Taraba teachers’ summit to improve education


Worried by the poor output of schools, the senator representing Southern Taraba in the National Assembly, Emmanuel Bwacha, has organised a summit for public and private secondary school teachers in the state to share ideas and proffer solution.

Flagging the event in Wukari at the weekend, Senator Bwacha said with Taraba now having three universities and many polytechnics and colleges of education, there was need to prepare qualified candidates for these institutions.

Bwacha noted with concern, “the falling standard of education  in Nigeria,” adding that the situation was worse in Taraba State where graduates cannot compete favourably with their mates elsewhere.

He attributed the problem to the emphasis placed on paper qualification rather than skills acquisition.

“I met a lawyer and was wondering how he can go to court and win a legal case –he couldn’t defend his LLB.

“If you have eight credits in your SSCE, and you pass Government, for example, you should be able to answer elementary questions on the three arms of government.

“We shall begin to look at areas of legislation; we shall check whether that certificate you are holding is truly yours; if not yours, we shall ask you to give way for the qualified person –who can defend his certificate.

“We are in a dilemma and this summit will assist the government in no small measure in fixing the problem,” Bwacha said.

According to the convener, Emmanuel Ba’aku Attah, the summit aimed specifically at “improving performance in post primary school external examinations, such as WASSCE, NECO, NABTEB and the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in the southern district of Taraba.”

Six papers were presented by scholarly resource persons, mostly university lecturers.

They agreed that the teacher plays a crucial role in driving education to the next level and should be blamed for failures.

In his paper on “Ethical Standards and Professionalism in Teaching: The Nexus,” Dr. Amuche Chris recommended among other things, that entry into the teaching profession be regulated by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN); all unethical behaviours from teachers be discouraged; and government should train teachers regularly.

On his part, Dr. Solomon Iyekekpolor, said there must be an “attitudinal change” by all the stakeholders: proprietors, teachers, and government educational authorities, managers of secondary schools, students and parents.

“A doctor makes a mistake and a patient dies; an engineer makes a mistake and a bridge or building collapses; but a teacher makes a mistake and a whole generation is put in danger.

“Their (teachers) pay is low and not given as and when due. The teachers’ reward may be in heaven as often said, but he needs a living allowance down here to survive to discharge his responsibilities. But teachers also, more often than not, hide under various guises to perpetrate truancy and many forms of vices contrary to the ethics of the teaching profession. The attitude must change.”

Another resource person, Simon Bala Manga, stressed the importance of guidance and counseling as it affects performance of secondary school pupils.

He said: “Much damage has been done to our children who graduate from schools without proper direction. A large number of secondary school graduates seeking admission into our universities have been disappointed because they were not guided and counseled.”

Other papers were presented on ‘The Role of Proprietors and the Managers of Secondary Schools Towards Quality Assurance’ and ‘Result Oriented Management of Post Primary Educational Institutions,’ by Ige John Sayo.

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