Today, October 5, 2021, teachers all over the world are being celebrated in what is now referred to as the International Teachers Day or better still, World Teachers' Day. Nigeria is also using the day to celebrate its teachers, although the teachers have tales of woes to tell about their plights.
According to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the World Teachers' Day, which has been celebrated by the world body since 1994, is marked to thank teachers around the globe for their selfless services and dedication to their duties.
However, while many countries and governments in the world are doing everything possible to celebrate their teachers and provide qualitative education to their citizens, the reverse seems to be the case in Nigeria as the teachers in the country have always lamented about their plights.
Apart from this, it seems the quality of education provided in the country has gone abysmally low following the scrapping of teacher training colleges while the various governments, which admitted on the need to revive these institutions, have always paid lip-services to their revamping.
Many years ago, these training colleges were the various places where high quality teachers were trained in both discipline and quality who in turn inculcated such discipline and high quality education on their pupils.
In fact, bothered by the shortage of quality teachers in schools, some concerned stakeholders recently suggested a restoration of teacher training colleges as they noted that asking graduates of colleges of education (NCE holders) to teach in primary schools has not achieved the desired goals.
Some years ago, products of teacher training colleges were seen as professionals with deep knowledge of the content of their subjects, possessed impressive teaching skills, good work ethics, efficiency and commitment to the teaching profession. Some of them actually taught us in primary schools.
The teachers, who were trained as Grade 2 and Grade 3 officers and who mostly taught in primary schools, which is the foundation of knowledge, were known to prepare lessons notes, related with parents on the progress of their children and many of them neither aided nor abetted examination malpractices.
It will be recalled that the first institution to train teachers in Nigeria was set up in 1896 when the Church Missionary Society (CMS), now the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), established St. Andrews Teachers’ College, Oyo.
This institution produced many high quality teachers who did not only teach in Nigeria, but went as far as Sierra Leone and Gambia to teach. The school also improved the quality of teachers who were hitherto standard six certificate holders.
This was followed by Baptist Training College, Ogbomoso, now in Oyo State, which was established in 1897 and it was also followed by St. Paul’s Training College, Awka, now in Anambra State, in 1904.
In 1905, Oron, now in Akwa Ibom State, got Oron Training Institute, just as Ibadan, now in Oyo State, got Wesleyan Training Institute in 1928. In 1929, St. Charles Training College, Onitsha, now in Anambra State, was established.
In Ogun State, two famous teacher training colleges: Methodist Teacher Training College, Sagamu and Muslim Teacher Training College, Oru, produced high quality teachers who were drafted to many primary schools in the entire Western states to teach primary school pupils.
The abandoned Oru Teacher Training College premises was later used as a camp to accommodate refugees from Liberia who came into Nigeria during the war in the country.
The Muslim Teacher Training College, Oru, Ogun State, which later became refugee camp
Sadly, due to lack of focus and misgovernance, all these teacher training colleges have gone into extinction just as the current administration and the ones before it have always promised to bring back the lost glory of education through their revival.
Therefore, it has become expedient for stakeholders in the Nigerian education sector to do everything possible to bring back the teacher training institutions so that the quality of education being provided for pupils nowadays can be improved upon.
In those days, it was always a delight to see our teachers preparing lesson notes which always served as a guide to teach us and it is not too late now to let the pupil of today also enjoy the quality of education some of us enjoyed.
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