October 5 of every year has been designated World Teachers Day by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) as a day to celebrate teachers and the invaluable service they offer worldwide.
The role of teachers in any society cannot be overemphasised. In fact, education is a two-way interaction between the teachers and their students or pupils in the knowledge exchange chain. They provide a nurturing environment away from the home, instilling values in children and helping prepare them for the real world. However, on a day like this it is important we look inwards and ask ourselves what is the state of the Nigerian Teacher?
The state of education in Nigeria is abysmal, and by extension the state of Nigerian teachers has been a source of worry to everyone. Nigerian teachers have had to deal with hostile work environments, the necessary infrastructures to make teaching available are still missing. In 2018, we still have teachers carrying out their daily tasks in makeshift buildings; in some situations, teachers are responsible for buying their biros, chalks, lesson notes and diary when none is provided by the government.
Under the current poor arrangement, some teachers are being paid by the parents through the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) when salaries are not forthcoming from the government. Even when the salaries come, it is inadequate to pay their bills. On a day like this when other teachers across the world are celebrating, Nigerian teachers have made it a day to remind the government about the poor state of the teaching profession in the country of which the government is known to make vague promises about.
The state of the Nigerian teacher has led to a brain drain in the education sector as graduates are no more interested in taking up the profession due to its poor working conditions and poor reward system. It is important that government at all levels put in place the necessary mechanism to reposition education in Nigeria to benefit all its stakeholders. Teachers have given a lot the country’s development and should be rewarded accordingly.