Mr Samson Oyelere, the State Secretary, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), said that making teaching profession more attractive would close the manpower gap in both primary and post primary education.
Oyelere told newsmen in Abeokuta that the state government should encourage adequate renumeration for teachers, saying it would be a major boost in solving the problem.
He noted that there was need for the state government to appoint more teachers in order to close the manpower gap in the sector.
“Teachers are embodiment of knowledge and they impact knowledge. We must have adequate number of teachers to cater for the number of students we are having as our population is increasing, I think the numbers of teachers too should increase,”he said.
He urged government to always appoint locals anytime there would be any appointments, saying that those residing within the locality would be willing to stay rather than bringing someone from over 60km away.
“We have advised government , that anytime there will be any appointments , they should always appoint the locals, those that are within that area.
“They will be ready to stay, better than picking people from Abeokuta moving them to waterside, almost about 60km to 80km, its never done anywhere, without any incentives, accomodations, rural allowance.
“Teachers don’t want to go to remote areas. It’s about incentives, you can’t move me out completely from my family without any incentives and you think I will stay there.
“There is need for motivation if we don’t want to lack teachers in the state ,” he said.
He listed factors responsible for shortage of manpower to include lack of motivation, illness, some teachers are dead, some due to better offer from another field.
In his submission, Prof. David Bamgbose, Provost, Yewa College of Education, Abeokuta, stated that inadequacy of teachers had negatively affected the behaviours of some students.
Bamgbose noted that an idle students due to lack of monitoring would always think of negative behaviors.
The provost explained that there should be serious encouragement from the government for anyone to go into teaching.
He added that continuous teachers renumeration , recognition, career projection in the civil service would attract more people into the teaching profession.
” When you look at statistics of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in the last 10 years , less than 2.5 per cent students applied to all the colleges of education in the country to study to become teachers.
“And those who eventually come are those who have tried the universities, polythecnics and were not giving admissions, so we don’t have our brightest and best in that circle because there is no attraction for them to come into that system,” he said.
Bamgbose opined that government needed to provide more incentives, allowances to close the manpower gap in primary and post primary education.
He said that there should be adequate programme for recruiting, training and retraining of teachers.
” Government need to review the renumeration of teachers and see what we can do to attract our good hands to come into teaching profession.
“The key thing is attraction of people to teaching profession, it involved governmental intervention, renumeration and policy that gives recognition.
“There is need for additional emoluments for teachers to take the pain of being transfered to a rural area , they need palliatives for working in the rural areas,”he said.
Mr Damilola Simeon, the State Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), noted that the increasing manpower gap in the primary and post primary education remained one of the factors militating against effective productivity in the education sector.
Simeon highlighted lack of motivation which included working conditions and salary scale for teachers compared to the economic reality and efforts put in service as some of the factors responsible for shortage of manpower.
He said that for manpower gap to be closed, working condition in the teaching sector must be redefined in terms of creating suitable atmosphere, facilities as well as corresponding salary for the labour in that field.
” Remunerations and other allowances accrued to labour should be given adequately and promotion be approved as and when due.
“The government must harvest the colleges and university of education product to maximum capability. The products of these institutions must be encouraged to pursue career in teaching.
“Such encouragement can only be achieved by creating enabling environment and conditions for these specialists to consider choosing career in their special fields.
“The manpower gap in the primary and post-primary education can only become an history when the government bring an end to factors that makes qualified personnel see the field as a last resort in case of no other jobs,” he said.
Dr Simon Otumala, Lecturer, Political Science Department , Federal College of Education (FCE) Abeokuta, said that the focus of the society should be a rescue of public primary education from uncensored private individuals who were desirous of profit at the expense of instilling quality knowledge in their pupils.
Otumala noted that adequate and human friendly remuneration for primary and post-primary school staff had been a recurring suggestion across forums for policy making.
The political science lecturer added that beyond remuneration, a motivation model should be specially designed for basic education staff with the aim of attracting the best brains and retaining them.
” The urgent need to address the growing menace of mushroom private lesson in the name of school should be addressed by all stakeholders in the education sector.
” Parents and guardians are left with no option than patronizing them because of the sorry state of public schools.
“The products of these schools are often ill-equipped with the needed pedagogy and therefore cannot be valuable additions to the nation’s workforce and consequently cannot contribute to meaningful national development efforts.
” A development conscious conversation should be held between parents and stakeholder in the primary and post-primary education sector with a sincere plan of reviving the collapsed system and revitalize teacher’s attitude to work,” he said.
In his submission, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, the State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, noted that the state government had embarked on employment of 5,000 personnel to fill vacancies in schools.
Arigbabu explained that there had not been any significant injection of new personnel to schools in the past 10 years.
The commissioner noted that the state government had already deployed 1,000 personnel, saying it was a remarkable achievement.
“We have embarked on employment of 5000 personnel to fill the vacancies in schools , this is remarkable because in the past 10 years, there has no been any significant injection of new personnel to school.
” We have deployed 1,000 already, another 1000 is ongoing, the intention is to inject 5000 under the programme we call Ogunteach scheme.
” With that one, the vacancies that we have due to people leaving due to retirement or for one reason or the day were actually taken care of,” he said.