Volume 22, Fall 2007
Problems for Teacher Education for Primary Schools in Nigeria: Beyond Curriculum Design and Implementation Olusegun Akinbote University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Abstract Primary education is the core of development and progress sin modern societies. However the quality of teachers who are to ensure the realization of the aspirations we hold for our children has fallen below expectations. This study therefore investigated the entry qualifications, the mode of entry into and the reasons why students enroll in Colleges of Education. The findings showed that majority of the student teachers are not ‘good materials’ for teacher education and that only a few of them really have the genuine desire to become teachers. Recommendations are made on how to improve on the quality of entrants into the Colleges of Education and the teaching profession generally. Introduction Education has become one of the most powerful weapons known for reducing poverty and inequality in modern societies. It is also used for laying the foundation for a sustainable growth and development of any nation. Primary education in particular is the level of education that develops in the individual the capacity to read, write and calculate. In other words, it helps to eradicate illiteracy, which is one of the strongest predictors of poverty (Bruns, Mingat & Rakotamalala 2003). Thus, Primary education is the only level of education that is available everywhere in both the developed and the developing countries as well as in urban and rural areas (Akinbote, Oduolowu & Lawal 2001). This explains why primary education is the largest sub-sector of any education system and offers the unique opportunity to contribute to the transformation of societies through the education of the young ones (UNESCO 2001). In realization of the fact that unequal access to educational opportunity is one of the strongest correlates of social in equality, the Federal Government has embarked on a massive expansion of access to primary education. The 1976 UPE and the current UBE programmes were aimed at making basic education accessible to all children of school age irrespective of their social, economic, cultural or geographical backgrounds. As one should expect, there has also been a corresponding expansion of secondary and tertiary education including teacher education in Nigeria.
Essays in Education
Volume 22, Fall 2007
However, the quality of primary education has not kept abreast of the expansion in enrolment. Although, this according to UNESCO (2001) continues to be a global concern, yet it is the general belief that the competence of teachers is central to the education of children. In a way therefore, what constitutes competence in teaching is intimately connected with the type of teacher education programmes available for preparing primary school teachers. Therefore one of the problems of teacher education for primary schools in Nigeria is the poor quality of teachers produced from the Teachers’ Colleges (Taiwo 1982). The Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) has now become the minimum teaching qualification in the country. This implies that no primary school teachers in Nigeria is expected to possess a teaching qualification lower than the NCE. This could be regarded as a bold attempt at improving the quality of teachers who will be able to help us achieve the aspirations we hold for our children. In order to achieve this, the number of Colleges of Education has risen from only six in 1976 to about 72 presently (Akinbote 1999). This has led to a mass production of NCE teachers for both the primary and secondary levels of education. May be we have sacrificed quality for quantity in our desire to have NCE teachers for all our primary schools. Akinbote (2000) has attributed the poor quality of products of Colleges of Education among other things to the quality of students admitted into the colleges. According to him, the...