October 7, 2022

Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN). Photo/CHRISIROMBA
Sir: The Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) is the body saddled with the responsibility of giving licences to teachers before they are adjudged as qualified to teach in any Nigerian school.
TRCN, an agency established under the Federal Ministry of Education by TRCN Decree 31 of 1993 (now TRCN Act Cap T3 of 2004) has constantly tried to make its impact felt in the Nigerian education sector through creating necessary awareness aimed at bringing its activities to the public.
According to its statutory mandate, the TRCN conducts regular exams, which is mandatory for all teachers hoping to obtain its licence in order to ascertain their level of competence and proficiency before being issued the necessary certificate to enable them to practise as true professional teachers.
Without a doubt, the reason behind creating this body is truly noble. But there are still some loopholes that act as cogs in the wheel of its progress which ought to be critically addressed.
At the moment, the quality of teachers being churned out from the educational institutions and many who have been issued licenses by TRCN leave much to be desired owing largely to the twin problems of very low admission requirements of colleges of education and poor facilities in most of them.
Since candidates with very low grades are offered admission to those colleges in most instances, it is difficult to have brilliant scholars that can truly impart knowledge from such backgrounds, and the consequence is that most of those being licensed by TRCN still fall far below the required standards of 21st-century educators.
The first problem to tackle if the nation hopes to make any headway with its education sector is the poor quality of teachers. The TRCN may be given the additional responsibility of getting actively involved in teachers’ recruitment and training for the entire country. Training centres can be set up in all states of the federation where those hoping to take up the teaching appointment will undergo between three to six months of training in competence and proficiency. At the completion of such training, the TRCN will be in a good position to know those who are truly endowed enough for the classrooms and those who are not.
The first and most important quality of every good teacher is very good communication skills. This is one quality that is missing in most of today’s supposed teachers owing to the poor method of recruitment. Having such a centre will assist in no small measure, to solve such nagging problems as the centre will only select those with proven abilities, competence and flair for teaching especially in the core subjects.
Another evil that has befallen education in the country is an ugly trend of involving politicians in teachers’ recruitment. This is apparently an ill wind that will continue to mar the progress of education. It is a shame that politicians would be allowed to dabble in an issue as sensitive as education through the allocation of direct slots for them to employ teachers. This is largely responsible for the high rate of very poor personnel currently in the system. It is to the country’s biggest disadvantage when highly competent graduates are left unemployed because they are not well connected while mere charlatans who have absolutely nothing to offer are being brought massively into the system. The earlier such retrogressive practice is jettisoned, the better for the country.
Jide Oyewusi, a retired director of education and coordinator of Ethics Watch International, lives in Lagos.
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