They tell me that they are doing the course because it was offered to them on government sponsorship. Those who do a similar course in humanities/arts go ahead to leave the profession immediately after their final school practice to go into clearing and forwarding, sales representatives in insurance companies, spokespersons and communication officers, law to mention but a few.
These tend to spoil the chances that would have been utilised by my fellow village mates whose role models are mainly teachers and would be glad to become successful and dedicated teachers.
Most of my classmates went on to become high end teachers (lecturers) and a number went into business. Comparatively, all the teachers who were told to join teaching during Amin’s regime, all ended up becoming chief examiners of their respective subjects. Amin had an analogy that for one to be an excellent teacher then he/she must have performed very well so as to explain what they are teaching very well. Hence he decreed all the cream in 1975 to be admitted on Education.
I was told that in Germany, once an individual expresses interest in pursuing an education course, they offer them a teaching contract during their long vacation and if he/she still exhibits a high level of interest, then is allowed to fill education course as a choice. I personally filled education as a second choice and this was because I love teaching and explaining stuff to other people.
Majority of the people who end up in education courses are always deemed to have been failures for they always fill the course as the fourth choice or call it last choice. This cuts across all the levels from graduate teachers, grade five teachers down to nursery teachers. It’s high time we started identifying talent in people who are gifted in delivering knowledge as well as those who have excellent communication skills.
Much as all the above strategies may seem to work, they cannot be magic bullets if the teachers’ salaries are still very low. Teachers are the pillars of society, on average a teacher spends three times more the time a student spends with his/her parent most especially if the child is residing in a boarding school.
As a way of perfecting the system, the teachers also need to put in more effort to learn more about how what they teach is applied in the daily life. I have a belief, like I have ever written about it before that our curriculum, at least in science is just fine, it’s up to the teachers to dig out where what they are teaching is applied and make the different topics relevant.
To make my point a little clearer, in Physics we use textbooks which are 100% authored by the British, Americans and Indians who are exploring space and advanced in various technologies. Unless we want to remain in our own closed eccentric situation, then we have to only improve on the implementation strategy of the existing curriculum.
This has got to be done by about four stakeholders; that is teachers to make what they are teaching relevant, government to provide all the lab equipment and pay teachers handsomely, parents to identify the interests of their children and the learners to go an extra mile in understanding where what they are being taught is applied.
Once we master the above, there will be no need of tinkering with the curriculum by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) like it has been done of recent. The most bizarre one being the suggestion that secondary schools should close teaching business by afternoon. I wonder who they normally consult before copy pasting these suggestions.
The writer is a lecturer