"Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honor for me." - APJ Abdul Kalam
For every child that attains Minimum Proficiency Level (MPL), for every lad that proceeded to add value to the society using what he/she has learned, there are teachers to be celebrated.
The impact of teachers in the society cannot be overstated. It is why October 5th is set apart to celebrate teachers.
This year's World Teacher's Day is themed "The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher."
Whilst we celebrate teachers that give a limb and an arm to educate a child, it is important to note that “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.”
This year's theme commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and serves as a reminder that the right to education cannot be realized without trained and qualified teachers.
Teachers stand as a key cog in the achievement of the Education 2030 agenda. The agenda is the global commitment of the Education for All movement to ensure access to basic education for all. According to UNESCO, teachers are one of the most influential and powerful forces for equity, access and quality in education and key to sustainable global development.
However, the world is still terribly short of teachers, especially trained and qualified ones.
A shrilling statistics from UNESCO states that the world still needs 69 million new teachers to reach the 2030 education goal of universal primary and secondary education.
In sub-Saharan Africa, only 64% of primary school teachers are trained, while the ones trained are largely unmotivated.
In Nigeria, the welfare of teachers has been an issue while the poor conditions in which they carry out their duties contribute to ineffectiveness.
In government secondary schools, the number of students a teacher is expected to teach is remarkably high with long chains of periods without rest. Whilst the last published pupil to teacher ratio is 23.2, according to the UNESCO institute for Statistics, the reality remains that in some public schools especially in urban areas the pupils number up to 80 in a class.
It clearly affects the instructional quality in the classroom and ultimately the students’ learning achievement. Marking assignments become gruesome tasks that would rather not be embarked on while continuous assessments become simple group projects that eliminates the huge stack of scripts to be marked.
Anthony Anwukah, the Minister of State for Education said the teaching profession had been neglected by many Nigerians due partly to unattractive remuneration for teachers. He also said funding is a major problem facing the education sector, holding back it back and hindering its critical needs.
In spite of the many challenges the teachers face, from funding to crowded classes, they try to educate and impact generations as best as they can.
Definitely, the government could do better with its allocation to education. Nigeria's budgetary allocation to education falls terribly short of UNESCO's recommended 26% with education getting 7.04% of the 2018 budget.
Teachers do their best to educate pupils and students to be their best, however, they need to be better motivated, they need to work in better conditions that makes teaching easy.