Nigeria is today October 5, joining other countries of the world to mark the 2018 World Teachers’ Day, which also commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The declaration, made in 1948, recognises education as a key fundamental right and establishes an entitlement to free compulsory education, while ensuring inclusive and equitable access for all children.
This year’s theme: “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher,” has been chosen to remind the global community that the right to education cannot be achieved without the right to trained and qualified teachers.
Even today, a continuing challenge worldwide is the shortage of teachers coupled with a surging number of an estimated 264 million children and youth still out-of-school globally, with Nigeria accounting for about 13.2 million.
Reaching the 2030 Education Goals of Universal Primary and Secondary Education, there would be the need to recruit no fewer than 69 million new teachers, the world over to meet the challenge of dearth of teachers.
This ‘teacher gap’ is more pronounced among vulnerable populations, such as girls, children with disabilities, refugee and migrant children, or poor children living in rural or remote areas.
Speaking at a symposium to herald the World Teachers’ Day, the Permanent Secretary, Federal ministry of Education, Mr.
Sonny Echono, disclosed that by 2020, Nigerian teachers without requisite teaching qualification would be flushed out of the system.
Similarly, he said teachers, who failed to register with the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) and obtain requisite professional qualification, would not be allowed to teach in the school system of the country.
He applauded this year’s theme: “The Right to Education means the Right to a Qualified Teacher”, noting that several welfare initiatives including provision of special allowances for teachers teaching special subjects such mathematics, English among others, had been developed and would be implemented to improve the welfare of teachers in the country.
Echono called on state governments that still owe teachers to pay them and accord them due recognition and dignity they deserve.
On its part, he said the federal government was in the process of regularising teachers engaged by the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) in Federal Government Colleges, with additional recruitment where necessary.
The annual event, which started in 1994, was commemorated the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO recommendations concerning the status of teachers.
It is co-convened in partnership with UNICEF, UNDP, the International Labour Organisation, and Education International.