NGO urges govts, corporate bodies to invest in education


By Raji Rasak

Lagos, Oct. 5, 2020 An NGO, Human Development Initiatives (HDI) on Monday, called on the three tiers of government and corporate bodies to invest more in education to make teaching profession more attractive.

Mrs Olufunso Owasanoye, Executive Director of HDI, said that teaching profession had remained in crisis, especially in the face of poor remuneration and welfare of teachers, which made it unattractive.

In a statement, Owasanoye said: “Without a new generation of motivated teachers, millions of children in Lagos will miss out quality education.

“They will continue to miss out unless adequate measures are taken urgently to restore dignity and professionalism to teaching.

“Teachers play pivotal roles in ensuring the delivery of the global Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring quality education for all by 2030.

“This goal cannot be achieved in the face of rising attrition rate of professional teachers, domination of the profession by non-professionals.

“Weak institutional system to promote cooperative teaching and quality learning output as a critical barrier to achieving inclusive education.

“This is a global trend in education and a key component of the future of education for developing countries,” she said.

Owasanoye said that the initiative, in collaboration with Action Aid Nigeria, had organised one day Education Stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos to articulate some of these issues as schools were reopening after a long period of lockdown.

She said that the meeting came up with strategies for supporting a sustainable free, quality, equitable, inclusive and resilient publicly funded education safe for both teachers and all children.

“It was realised that education sector had long been in crises before now, and that COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the frailty of the public education and the vulnerability of teachers in Nigeria.

“The stakeholders at the event called on the Lagos Government to increase education budget to address many infrastructure challenges and prioritise improving teachers’ training, increase in teachers’ salaries and their general welfare,” Owasanoye said.

She said stakeholders, in the spirit of 2020 World Teachers’ Day, recommended that the state government should enforce, among others, compliance to TRCN Act in the recruitment of teachers in both public and private schools.

According to her, other recommendations by the stakeholders include overhauling of teachers education curriculum in Higher Institutions and should be rearranged to follow the best global practices.

“Cooperative teaching manual should be developed and introduced into the curriculum as well as into teaching practice.

“Special incentives for special needs of teachers should be introduced to attract skilled professionals and drive the process of achieving full inclusive education system in Lagos State.

“These special incentives should include, but not limited to prioritising teachers with certified training in special education in teachers’ recruitment, higher remuneration, housing, and transportation service, in addition to other social welfare supports.

“Training and retraining of special need teachers should be prioritised and teaching aids should be made available in all existing inclusive schools,” she said.

Owasanoye said that the state government, through the Ministry of Education, should develop performance indicators for every teacher’s training programme.

She said that the government should also ensure evaluation of teachers’ performance after such training in order to encourage quality teaching and learning outcome; while ensuring value for tax payers’ money.

“Lagos State Government should ensure regular supply of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools.

“It should fortify its monitoring system to enforce COVID-19 protocols compliance in all schools in the state, including all private schools.

“Fencing of all public schools should be prioritised to provide safe and conducive environment for teaching and learning.

“Incentives should be given to teachers in the rural areas to ensure retention of teachers in rural communities,” Owasanoye said.