Learning crises: Gombe identifies causes, moves to tackle them | Dailytrust

Learning crises: Gombe identifies causes, moves to tackle them

Muhammad Adamu, a degree holder in education, was among the set of teachers recruited by the Gombe State Ministry of Education in 2012. He was posted to one of the public secondary schools armed with only theoretical training in the teaching profession. He was assigned to classes without any form of induction or training.

Also, for the past 10 years Adamu has been in the profession, he has never received any training despite the dynamic nature of teaching, where new methods are being introduced daily.

Adamu said, “Since I joined the service about 10 years ago, the ministry of education has not organised any training or workshop, and where any training takes place, they are mostly organised by NGOs and just few are selected from various schools to attend.

“And the most painful thing is the process of selection; it is not based on merit or needs areas of respective schools, but rather on how close you are to the school management.”

Adamu maintained that training and re-training was very important in the teaching profession because they would improve the capacity of teachers and make them adopt new strategies to enable them improve teaching and learning outcomes.

Adamu is not the only teacher in this dilemma, as there are many other teachers in the state with the same experience of teaching for long without undergoing new trainings.

For Musa Saleh, a teacher in a secondary school in Yamaltu/Deba LGA, in the last seven years he participated in just one workshop “haphazardly” organised by an NGO.

Saleh said, “The training was on lesson planning, but as someone who has an NCE and a degree in education, a workshop on lesson planning is not something that will be helpful to me. What I need is a kind of refresher training on modern teaching methods.”

Meanwhile, poor teachers’ training in the country has been attributed to the staggering learning crises in the country.

According to a World Bank report, Nigeria is experiencing a learning poverty in which 70 per cent of 10-year-olds cannot understand a simple sentence or perform basic numeracy tasks.

This is even as a UNICEF analysis confirmed that Nigeria is facing a staggering learning crisis, with learning outcomes in the country being one of the worst globally.

UNICEF said an analysis in 2021 showed that 70 per cent of children were not achieving basic foundational skills as a result of poor funding, low public spending on education and shortage of qualified teachers.

With these problems, educationists have stressed that the key to addressing them lay in the training and retraining of teachers to provide quality teaching for the right learning outcomes.

In an effort to tackle the learning crises, especially the decline in the quality of teachers in Gombe, the state government decided to establish a Teacher Training Centre (TTC) in Kwami LGA.

Following the declaration of an emergency in the education sector by the state government, Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya’s administration renovated and upgraded an abandoned almajiri school established at the twilight of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in Kwami town to serve as the training centre.

Daily Trust checks revealed that the centre is equipped with befitting lodgings with capacity to accommodate over 600 teachers at a time, an instructors’ quarters, a big lecture hall and other classes.

There are also well-furnished and fully equipped laboratories for biology, physics, chemistry and agricultural science.

It was gathered that TTC is meant to train and retrain “not properly trained” teachers that populate public schools in the state; which has resulted in a steady decline in students’ performance in all the national examinations over the years.

According to sources, selected public school teachers from across the state will take turns to be lodged at the centre during school vacations to be trained in the subjects they have deficiency.

The training is to prepare them to make positive impacts on their students, which in effect will enhance the students’ performance in both local and national examinations.

The resource persons will be selected from faculties of education of the Gombe State University, Federal University, Kashere (FUK), College of Education (COE), Billiri, and the Federal College of Education (Technical), Gombe.

Speaking on the centre, a former permanent secretary at the state Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC), Umar Abubakar Malala, said it was the first of its kind in the sub-region, noting that it was essentially established to improve the quality of teachers.

Malala said the establishment of the centre followed the declaration of emergency in the state’s education sector to restore the lost glory of public schools.

He further said the TTC sought to train both primary and secondary school teachers on modern techniques and methodologies of teaching, adding that the teachers would be trained batch by batch on different subjects.

For Dr Abdulkadir Saleh, a public affairs analyst in the state, the centre, apart from enhancing the teaching profession, will reduce the cost the state government is spending to send teachers outside the state or invite consultants to train them.

Dr Saleh said, “The centre will definitely impact on the quality of teachers in the state, because one of the problems we have is that once a teacher acquires an NCE or a degree, that’s the end of the training. But with the establishment of the TTC, it means now the teachers will be trained and retrained at relatively cheaper costs.

“Although that cannot be isolated as the only solution, but if you look at the situation of the education sector in the country, quack teachers contribute immensely to the decline of the quality of education, as such this centre will greatly impact on the improvement on the decline of the education sector in the state.”

He, however, advised the state government to also tackle the other things that also affect the quality of teaching and the efficiency of teachers in public schools.

On his part, a lecturer with the FUK, Malam Umar Magaji Abubakar, said the centre would revive the comatose teaching profession and enhance learning by students.

Malam Abubakar said, “In my view, the TTC will play a vital role in developing the skills of our teachers and the educational system in general, because the teachers will be sent there for refresher training and re-training in order to improve their teaching skills.”

According to him, the centre can serve as a reference point, especially with the decay in the education sector, where most of the holders of NCE being turned out by the Colleges of Education (COE) are half baked.

He noted that, “The modern teaching methods are ‘learner-centred’, which enable pupils and students to do things on their own with the assistance of their teachers, not like the old-fashioned ‘teacher-centred method’.”

 

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