Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, will today begin a nationwide screening of teachers in public and private primary and secondary schools, with a view to weeding out unqualified/unregistered persons from the system.
The exercise, according to the Registrar/Chief Executive of the council, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, would start in 33 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
According to Ajiboye, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno are excluded for now because of security challenges in the areas.
He added that the first phase would end on March 17 for an assessment of the situation, followed by constant monitoring.
Ajiboye also frowned on the situation where some states see possessing TRCN certification as an added advantage while employing teachers when the certification ought to be the first criterion.
He said with the December 31, 2019 deadline given by the Federal Government for teachers to get registered with the council lapsing nearly two months ago, nothing would stop the council from getting rid of quacks from the teaching profession.
He said: “We recently held a meeting of our technical team and we have got the data to work with. We are using the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, National Personnel Audit 2018 as our baseline. We will start visiting schools in the last week of February. It is not going to be a once and for all thing.
“We are constituting teams in all the states of the federation and Abuja. Apart from our staff and others, the team in each state will include a Professor of Education from a university in that state or the Provost of a College of Education in that state. Our teams may go out daily for, maybe, two weeks and then assess the situation and go out again.”
On what they would be asking teachers during visits to schools, Ajiboye said teachers would only need to show their Teachers Licence and evidence of registration with the TRCN
“In that regards, we have since written to Commissioners for Education across the country, Teaching Service Commissions, State Universal Basic Education Boards, chapters of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, among many other relevant stakeholders, to sensitise teachers on the exercise,” he explained.
On what would happen to any person found not qualified or registered as a teacher, Ajiboye noted that the person would be told on the spot and could be treated as a cheat depending on developments.
Number of teachers could be affected
According to figures from the Federal Ministry of Education in 2016, there were over 1.5 million teachers in public and private primary and secondary schools in the country.
The figure is made.up of 764,596 in primary schools, 292,080 in Junior Secondary School and 398,275 in Senior Secondary School levels, while the number of pupils and students being attended to during the period is put at 24, 893,442
However, Ajiboye stressed that going by figures from UBEC and other sources, the number of teachers in the country could not now be less than two million and that no fewer than 400,000 were unqualified one way or the other.
He said the country would need about 250,000 teachers annually for the next few years to be able to handle the over 13 million out of school children in the country.