The Plight of Today's Teachers... Nigerian teachers as a case study!

Nigerian teachers' challenges

The plight of teachers across Africa appears to be same.

But in this discourse, we are going to focus on Nigeria, where insensitivity and ineptitude is glaringly defined among those who are driving the system.

Think about these...

🎓 *Today's Teachers are  UNTRAINED
🎓 *Today's Teachers are  POORLY-PAID
🎓 *Today's Teachers are  OVERSTRETCHED

Let's take it one after the other...


There are so many ways to look at this. But I will have to start from the known to the unknown!

1. Teachers lacking basic teaching qualifications!

How did we get here?

Who practices Accounting without having an ICAN or any other related certification?

Who becomes a Lawyer without passing out from the Law school, and subsequently called into the Bar?

Same goes for Medicine, Engineering and other *professional courses*

So why is the Teaching profession an exception?

But there is a bigger problem!

Before you shout, "Fish them out and push them away!",

√ In Nigeria today, we now have more private schools than public (government-owned) schools.

√ Over 60% of Private school teachers do not possess these basic qualifications

√ We don't have enough teachers with basic qualifications to take up the vacant spaces that would be created if the " *non-qualified*" teachers were to be shown the exit door.

The 3 major reasons for this:

📌 Many people are no longer interested in education courses in the higher institutions.

📌 Majority of undergraduates we see studying education courses in the higher institutions are never interested in teaching; they only took up the course as the only available one, after missing out from their choice courses.

📌 Many qualified and passionate teachers are leaving the profession in search of "greener pastures", since it does not 'make sense any longer, *working like an elephant while eating like an ant*'

So, the real problem is not even about having an *education background*

There is more to this...

2⃣ *Lack of continuous orientation and on-the-job training programs for teachers

A lot of us always think that the major problem of education in Nigeria today is about the influx of teachers without basic qualifications into the system.

That is far from the truth!

This is *21st century*- It's a skill-based revolution and not knowledge-based revolution!
Certification means little in this century

Do you know that *financial institutions* like banks are now hiring non-accounting graduates to work with them?

I know of a graduate of English Language and Literature working as a bank manager in one of the leading banks in Nigeria.

Mind you! This is no longer an anomaly! That's how *digital revolution* rolls!

So, to put it simply: one of our major problems in today's educational development is the lack of training of teachers to acquire relevant competencies needed to survive in today's educational environment.

If I may ask, "How often do you hear of serious training programs for teachers going on, both in the private and public schools?

I do not mean those frustrating rhetoric of 'many rules and regulations' dished out every Friday to teachers.

Teachers with no education background do not necessarily need to go back to school to obtain an education certificate. That might be needed some years back, not in this century.

What they need is sound orientation and continuous *in-service* training programs to understand the rule of the game.

Even the so-called *qualified teachers* are falling apart. They need constant training too!

3⃣ *Lack of commitment to personal development*

Many of today's teachers are *untrained* not just because they have no basic qualifications, neither is it because no one trains them...

The problem is: today's teachers are not growing in terms of personal development.
We have so many...

*stingy teachers* who never see any reason to spend a dime to develop themselves by learning a new skill, attending conferences, buying materials etc

*lousy teachers* who are too lazy to go extra mile in pursuit of self development.

*teachers with fixed mindset* who have vowed never to embrace new learning.

To many of such teachers, Adam remains their teacher, and Eden their classroom for ever!

Unfortunately, these are same persons teaching our *21st century learners*. These are same seeking to turn the ugly tide around...

How impossible!

In my 14 years journey as a teacher- both at classroom and administrative levels, I have met and seen a lot of 'teachers' who have no business doing anything in the classroom.

Even many school owners and administrators don't know this, since they are interested in *A1* certificate and 'blowing' of grammar.

I am going to have a separate lecture on this...

Let's move on...


It is no longer news...

The average Nigerian teacher cannot boast of a *take home pay that takes him/her home*

The guys up there who are supposed to correct this are rather becoming more mischievous and insensitive.

What you keep hearing everyday is, "The call of a teacher is a call from God; a call to serve humanity, blab lab la..."

"If you want to succeed as a teacher, you should think less of money and think more about the children under your care..."

Another balderdash!

Some others would be singing, "Keep working; forget about money; God has a way to reward teachers- in fact one of these days, God will use one of your old students to bless your life...!

Wicked talk!

So a teacher is not made to be rich? His/her own portion is to work and 'die' only to wait for a miracle bread from heaven!

We are now turning teaching to a *poverty lane profession*!

And we think it will work.

No way!

We are turning teachers to slaves and we expect them to build.

No way!

Slaves don't build a great society.

The neglect of teachers is the one major reason why the society is falling apart.

*Teachers should be paid handsomely because*

√ They are giving more to the society
√ They have bills to pay
√ They have children to train in school
√ They should not remain tenants forever
√ They should be rich enough to have a voice (the poor has no voice in our society today)
√ They should eat well to carry out to onerous task of teaching
√ They need such motivation to give more.

*Those who make teachers' welfare impossible; are making educational collapse inevitable!*

This table would soon break, if...!


One of the commonest complaint of today's teachers (especially those in the private schools) is *stress* due to too much work load.

The work of today's teachers is no longer defined.

Once you're employed to work as a teacher, you can be called up one day to even go and cook at the "Big mummy's house for her mother's 82nd year birthday.

And you dare not refuse it, else you become the " witch and the wizard".

It sounds amusing right! But this is the fate of many Nigerian teachers today.

And all these are more pronounced in the private schools.

I am coming up with a special interactive lecture on the *private school system in Nigeria*

*The average Nigerian teacher is overstretched...*

√ handling too many subjects. Some primary school teachers handle as much as 20 subjects- they prepare their lessons, teach, administer assessment tests and exercises, mark, make corrections, etc...repeatedly.

√ by being kept at school for so long. Some private schools release their teachers by 4:30 pm or later.

These same teachers who have been standing and talking since morning go home to be a mother, a father, a wife or a husband, most times, 'useless' ones at that!

How many teachers today still meet up for their religious activities and other personal engagements?

You wonder what they  are being kept this late for.

In those days (our secondary school days in public schools), we left school each day by 1:50 pm. And our teachers were also leaving with us at the same time.

Yet, it's so obvious our generation is doing better than this generation with all these unnecessary imports!

And the most unfortunate thing is that many school owners and administrators don't even seem to understand the enormity of the great work teachers do.

Some are still asking some irritating question,

*What work are you even doing?*

*I am paying you, so I can use you as I like*

Teacher, you have heard it!

You can be called upon to wash 'big daddy's' car one of these days.

Some school owners are even mandating their teachers to come and have night vigils in their house. Whosoever fails to join the "fire by fire" must be a witch hindering the growth of the school.

Today's teachers are being turned to slaves!

They are fast losing their dignity...

We need to all rise to stop this, otherwise..


Our country, Nigeria and the dear continent of Africa would suffer a great loss if it finally happens.

Of course, there would still be schools and 'teachers', but the best we might eventually have would be those who ordinarily should have had no business being in the classroom.

And the final nail would go on with the chorus,

*That's the way the cookie crumbles!*

Let it not happen in your time!

1 comment:

  1. A well captured article about the general plights of teachers in this part of the world. Quite pathetic!