By Misbahu Bashir Ajumawa
The essence of monitoring and evaluation in the teaching profession is to guarantee the delivery of quality education as well as improve the professional requirements of teachers across the country. This is meant to improve learning outcomes.
Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) ensures that every teacher acquires the knowledge; skills and practices needed to be effective educator and inspire learners to live a positive life.
To qualify as a teacher in Nigeria, candidates are required to pass (obtain at least 50 marks) the Professional Qualifying Examination (PQE) prepared by the council from time to time. Thereafter, successful candidates are registered as professional teachers after participating in an induction exercise.
The examination is categorized into groups depending on the level of qualification of the prospective teacher. Category A is for PhD holders in education or those with education qualification while category B is for candidates with Master’s in education or in other fields with education qualification. Category C is for candidates with a degree in education or in other fields with education qualification while category D is for NCE holders.
The Computer Based PQE started in 2017 after a painstaking effort by the Registrar and Chief Executive of the Council, Professor Josiah Olusegun Ajiboye who said the exercise had reduced the number of unregistered as well as unqualified teachers in the country. The exercise which is conducted at least twice every year since inception is said to have improved the instructional performance of teachers across schools including the regular interactions that take place in the classroom in addition to the methods used to motivate learners.
The council is of the view that the conduct of the PQE consistently, will further reduce teaching quackery by ensuring that proprietors hire the candidates possessing both the academic qualifications and the proper training in pedagogy as teachers in the education sector. For instance, a total of 11,629 candidates registered for the previous exercise in November 2022 nationwide with the exception of a number of unqualified teachers from Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states who later wrote the exam in January this year.
Unqualified teachers in the BAY states which were recovering from the devastative effects of insurgency were given additional time to prepare for the exams as part of the government’s recovery and reconstruction plan. This was done in partnership with UNICEF and the National Teachers Institute (NTI) after a demographic survey that tevealed over 18, 000 unqualified teachers in the three states. These set of candidates attended a three-year program with the NTI before they took the PQE, under the Global Partnership for Education – Accelerated Funding (GPE-AF) deployed by UNICEF.
Insurgency is said to have displaced thousands of teachers and learners in the three states as well as destroyed school infrastructure; in many instances, schools taken over by displaced persons were yet to recommence learning activities.
Additionally, the UNICEF is said to have supported the council in training 22,500 teachers on Digital Literary across 14 states during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council is reportedly in top gear preparing the first batch of this year’s exam nationwide; hopefully in the first quarter of the year.
In the same vein, council ensures the deployment of professional standards to teachers across the country. These are in four major domains, namely; Professional Knowledge, Professional Skills, Professional Values, Attitude and Conduct, and Professional Membership Obligations.
In a related development, the council has adopted robust measures to improve accountability and adhere to standards and regulatory practices in view of the fact that public office is a sacred trust. This has helped the management to build a culture of commitment, transparency for results, communication with partners and sister agencies as well as adherence to Freedom of Information Law.
Strict adherence to extant ethical practices had recently earned the council recognition of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in its Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard (EICS). The commission scored the council 85.7 per cent in its latest ethics and transparency index report released this month.
The report is said to have motivated the management to further utilize a comprehensive system approach to improve control, decrease tolerance for corruption and ensure integrity, loyalty, patriotism and efficiency.
Furthermore, the council had also obtained ISO (9001:2015) certification from MSECB, a global provider of audit and certification which is specialized in the certification of management systems on a wide range of international standards. The certificate was specifically issued to the council for “conducting PQE for teachers, enforcing professional ethics amongst teachers, regulating standards for teachers, issuance of licenses and certificates to practice professionally, acting as the voice of the voiceless teachers, conducting induction for graduates of school of education in tertiary institutions, keeping register of qualified license teachers, and issuing letter of professional standing for those that want to teach abroad.”
The council is seeking more powers from the National Assembly to regulate the teaching profession and be known as Teachers Regulatory Council instead. This will enable the council and policy makers to ensure high standards in performance across schools and even detect bottlenecks with a view to finding way out.
Ajumawa is of TRCN, Abuja