The review of national benchmark for Nigerian teachers ongoing.

The quest to improve and move the nation’s oldest profession, the teaching profession forward got a boost recently when the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) gathered key experts to review the Professional Standards for Nigerian Teachers (PSNT).

The PSNT was first introduced in 2010 by TRCN but because of new issues and the need to further enhance the standards in the teaching profession, the council called for a review of the document.

A synopsis of the workshop states that the PSNT came as a result of sustained efforts of the TRCN to raise teacher quality and ensure professionalism, it further revealed that the standards consist of four themes broken down into 36 sub themes and 84 standards which are essentially performance bench- mark for appraisal of professional standards of teachers according to their categories.

‘’TRCN is compelled to review and reprint the standards for teachers at the basic and post basic levels to have a copy each for their guidance in the practice. This would go a long way in improving the quality of teachers and strengthen the basic education levels’’.

At a two-day workshop in Abuja, the stakeholders made inputs after series of deliberations and group discussions on what to expect and from indication, a new professional standards for teachers will soon be ready.

For two days, the stakeholders guided by the Lead Consultant, Prof Steve Nwokeocha, director academics, African Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities deliberated on what to expect in the ongoing review of the PSNT.

Key stakeholders at the two days review of PSNT document include: Ministry of Education, Universal Basic Education Commission, National Teachers Institute, National Universities Commission, National Com- mission for College of Education, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, Teacher Development Programme, UKAID, UNESCO, NATCOM UNESCO, British Council.

Others are deans of faculties or institute of education/provosts of colleges of education, University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Ahmadu Bello University, College of Education Hong, University of Abuja, President of NAPPS, chairman Education Committee, President, Nigeria Union of Teachers and TRCN Governing Council members.

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Addressing the participants, the Registrar of TRCN, Prof Josiah Ajiboye said: ‘’I am happy that we can gather this quality of eminent educationist to make significant input or contribution to this important national document. The TRCN has been established to perform the regulatory function of teaching in Nigeria with teacher professionalism as its major mandate.

‘’Professionalism of teaching involves determining who are teachers, setting standards for teachers at all levels and ensuring quality teaching and learning through monitor- ing and supervision of teacher education programmes and activities that would bring about all round development in the country’’.

Prof Ajiboye recalled that in a bid to strengthen the understanding and clearly defines what makes a good and professional teacher and to promote teacher competency standards in the country in line with global best practice, TRCN in 2010 developed the PSNT.

According to him, the PSNT encapsulated what a professional teacher must know and put into practice as well as core values, ideals and conduct that the professional teacher must exhibit, stressing that PSNT refers to the minimum set of knowledges, skills, values, attitude, conduct, rights and privileges and obligations expected of a professional teacher.

The registrar of TRCN said teachers are categorised into four according to their highest qualification and the 84 standards apply to each of the four categorises in different ways with the requirement of each standards increasing as it moves from category D (NCE) to A (PhD) teacher.

Ajiboye disclosed that the gathering of the stakeholders is to review an important national document as part of the implementation of the National Teacher Education policy and the target of the SDGs aimed at sustainable quality education.

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His words: ‘’Realising the teachers standards as one of the key dimensions that are considered crucial to any teacher policy, and in consideration of the fact that since 2010/2011 when the document was developed and presented to the public, emerging issues may have arising.

‘’Therefore, TRCN is compelled to review this document to update the contents with new information and bridge any existing gaps. This will further improve the quality of teachers and strengthen the quality of education, especially at the basic level.

‘’It is in view of this as a national benchmark document that TRCN has selected these distinguished experts from the education agencies, critical stakeholders, teachers education institutions and International development partners to carry out the review ‘’.

Ajiboye lauded UBEC for their support and cooperation in ensuring that PSNT is reviewed and reprinted to meet today’s demand and benchmarking global frame-work and described the workshop as a national service. He also stated that at the end of the two-day review workshop, the nation will have a PSNT that will meet our educational needs and serve as a model for other teaching regulatory bodies in Africa.

Addressing the participants, the chairman of TRCN Governing Council, Prof Adamu Baikei, who applauded the registrar of TRCN, Prof Ajiboye, for his record breaking initiatives which have gone a long way in enhancing teacher quality and standards in the nation’s education system. He therefore encouraged him never to ‘relent on his oars as more grounds are to be covered.

Prof Baikei said the decision to review the PSNT was a move in the right direction because it was coming after 10 years of the first edition of the document. He commended participants for accepting the TRCN’s invitation to render a national service to their fatherland.

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The Lead Consultant of the workshop, Prof Nwokeocha in his paper titled Professional Standards and Competencies for the Teaching Profession: State of the Art Globally, said all levels of governance as never before are now seriously occupied with the question of standards for teachers. Such includes UNESCO, International Task Force on Teachers for Education, International Forum of Teaching Regulatory Authorities, Commonwealth, African Union, Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities, All Regional and Continents of the World, Africa Regional Economic Blocs (ECOWAS, SADC) and national governments and authorities.

He stressed that the workshop convened to review the PSNT resonates with the global goals and position, adding ‘’the workshop has a duty to take another leap into the future in such a manner that Nigeria will continue to maintain its premier position in the continent in terms of the development and implementation of the professional standards.

Prof Nwokeocha noted that the PSNT was the second (first was Namibia) and most authoritative professional standards in the African continent till this day. He observed that the rest of the countries in Africa are now racing against time to develop and publish theirs in order to live up to the global expectation.

The review, he noted would centre on structure, content, language, guide assessment/ indicators, and develop standards for school leadership in Nigeria.

Chairman Committee of Deans of Education in Nigerian Universities, Prof Julius Ademokoya told The Education Report that the re- view is landmark achievement in the sense that participants would review minimum standards in areas such as skills, values, leader- ship and knowledge, stating these are issues teaching as a profession is having problem.

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