#Article (Archive)

Equipping teachers

Oct 28, 2010, 1:07 PM

Teaching is arguably one of the least attractive professions not only in this country, but also in other parts of the African continent.

If you were to carry out a survey on career preference, among secondary school students, for example, less than five per cent will, without doubt, consider teaching as their first choice of career.

While many teachers got into the profession by default, that is, when they failed to get into their first career choices, it is evident that they fell back on teaching to keep body and soul together. It is also evident that this is the direct result of many a society’s lack of due admiration for the profession.

This points to the issue of providing vocational and technical education to not only teachers, but also would-be teachers, who might join the profession in due course.

Having teachers in our schools is one thing, but providing them with the required and necessary training is also another important matter.

The teaching profession should not be seen as a dumping ground for down-and-out frustrated people. We all owe it to ourselves and posterity to make the teaching profession more attractive to the best minds in our country.

In certain countries around the world, graduate teachers are recruited to teach in their primary schools; the rationale being that they give the children a solid foundation.

But, more than that, they are adequately compensated and well trained, so they are able to give out their very best to the children.

This eventually translates into progress for society generally, because the child grows up to be well-versed and confident to compete and contribute meaningfully to society.

Seen in this light, we endorse the initiative by the Gambia Technical Training Institute and the ECOWAS to train Technical and Vocational Education Teachers (TVETs) and Educational Administrators within the ECOWAS region on curriculum and instructional material development.

This training, which is in line with the decision of the 36th ordinary session of the summit of heads of state and government held in 2009 in Abuja, Nigeria, should be a continuous process, as it will help a great deal in equipping the beneficiaries.

One thing we should put at the back of our mind is that in this contemporary world, without education, you are defenceless, and without well-trained and motivated teachers, a sound educational system will only be a mirage.

African governments must encourage teachers and, most importantly, the youth to venture into vocational training for the advancement of the continent.

“The only person who is educated is the one who learn how to learn--- and change”

Carl Rogers