The Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria has raised concerns over what it described as the shortage of qualified teachers in the country.
It said the shortage was more pronounced in the rural areas, saying the development worsens educational inequality.
The Registrar of TRCN, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, disclosed this in an interview with Saturday PUNCH.
Ajiboye said, “The surge in the population of school children and the increase in the number of schools in Nigeria, both government and private, present a complex challenge for the education system.
“The availability and quality of qualified teachers are crucial factors in ensuring that students receive quality education. However, the shortage of qualified teachers in service is a concerning issue in Nigeria for several reasons.”
He explained that with a growing population of school children and insufficient recruitment of new teachers, the teacher-pupil ratio in many schools has become unfavourable.
This, he said, could lead to overcrowded classrooms and reduced attention for individual students.
Ajiboye added that the quality of education is closely tied to the qualifications and competence of teachers.
“An inadequate number of qualified teachers can result in lower educational standards which can have long-term consequences for the development of the country,” he said.
He added that existing teachers may be overburdened with large class sizes, multiple subjects, or duties, leading to burnout and reduced job satisfaction.
He said the situation could negatively impact their teaching effectiveness.
Ajiboye added, “The lack of recruitment of new teachers can also affect teacher retention. Experienced and qualified teachers may leave the profession due to unfavourable working conditions, further exacerbating the shortage.
“The shortage of qualified teachers is often more pronounced in rural and underserved areas, exacerbating educational inequalities. Students in these regions may have limited access to quality education.”
The TRCN registrar called on governments at all levels to prioritise the recruitment of new teachers to meet the demands of the growing student population.
He also urged them to invest in ongoing teacher training and professional development programmes to enhance the skills and effectiveness of existing teachers.
He added that governments should develop policies and incentives to ensure that qualified teachers are distributed more equitably, with a focus on underserved areas.
According to him, governments should also encourage and support the training and recruitment of teachers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, which he said were critical for the country’s development.
Ajiboye also made a case for partnerships between the government and private sector to bridge the gap in teacher recruitment and training.
He also urged stakeholders to explore innovative teaching methods and technologies that can help alleviate the teacher shortage, such as online learning platforms and digital resources.
“In summary, the shortage of qualified teachers in service is a significant concern in Nigeria, and addressing this issue is vital for the country’s educational development.
“It requires a concerted effort from the government, educational institutions, and stakeholders to recruit, train, and retain qualified educators to provide quality education for all Nigerian students,” he concluded.