Basic education: Nigeria needs fresh 1.3 million teachers in 6 years —FG

Mallam Adamu Adamu

•To release N444m to states for teacher training

THE Federal Government has expressed concern about the acute shortage of qualified teachers to teach at the Basic Education level in the country, disclosing that the nation needs to employ about 1.3 million fresh teachers in the next six years to be able to address the problem.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, spoke on Tuesday in Abuja, during the national kick-off of Teacher Development Training programme of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).

Adamu said while government was concerned about the quality of teachers, more disturbing was a wide gap between the number of teachers required and current number of teachers available in the basic education sector.

“In Nigeria, we need about 1.3 million teachers in the next six years. We are in no doubt that without professional and qualitative teachers, the dream of building a globally competitive and development-oriented education system that instils and imbues the requisite skills and know-how to our teeming younger generation would continue to be a pipe-dream.

“The availability of qualified and competent t?eachers, their continuous training and retraining would have to be emphasised to complement other inputs, in order to come up with quality basic education achievements,” he said.

He, however, noted that in addition to its existing intervention through UBEC, the Federal Government was working to recruit and inject 500,000 teachers into basic education sector across the country.

He added that when the recruitment of the proposed 500,000 teachers was completed, it would place more responsibilities and higher expectations on states and local governments in terms of the roles they would be playing in providing more teacher infrastructure and instructional materials.

The minister frowned on most of the states for their inability to promptly access the matching grant and other non-conditional grants from the Universal Basic Education Commission.

Over 64.8billion matching grant from UBEC for implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) has not been accessed by the state governments.

Adamu, therefore, appealed to state governors to direct their States Universal Education Boards (SUBEBs) to access and promptly utilise these funds for rapid educational development.

He noted that the Federal government was doing its best to reduce or do away with the requirement of matching grants to provide easy access of the intervention fund.

Former Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Suleiman Dikko, in his remark, said recent study had revealed that apart from per-service training, many teachers did not have access to other forms of training to update their knowledge and skills in pedagogy, educational management, record keeping, among others.

He disclosed that the Federal Government, through UBEC, would release the sum of N120 million to each state, which is about N444 million for the 36 states and FCT, for the 2015 Teachers’ Professional Development kicked off on Tuesday.

Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha,? in his goodwill message at the event, said there was the need for government to develop capacity of teachers.