Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, Registrar and Chief Executive, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, (TRCN) has called for a one-teacher-one-laptop policy across Nigeria.
The registrar who made the call in Abuja, stated that the move had become necessary to make Nigerian teachers technology savvy, to enable them compete favorably across the globe.
Ajiboye noted that the COVID-19 Pandemic had exposed the technology gap in the country’s education sector, particularly among teachers of primary and secondary education.
He said the pandemic had exposed the importance of technology to learning, adding that the new normal had come to stay and Nigerian teachers could not afford to be left behind.
He said it was not enough to train teachers on how to use technology to impart knowledge but to be provided with necessary gadgets to actualize that.
“Every teacher needs a laptop. I call for one-teacher-one-laptop across Nigeria.
“If we are able to provide laptops for all teachers in the country, our education system in the country will change.
“The Federal and state governments ought to make this a priority in the bid to reposition the sector and we need to pursue it vigorously.
“If there is a time to do this, it is now. With the pandemic, our eyes are now open to the fact that technology is the right way to go.
“We need a lot of training for teachers for them to cope with the present challenge but besides training, teachers need to be equipped.
“For example, for a teacher that is given technology literacy training needs to be provided with a laptop,” he said.
The TRCN boss further noted that “when we train teachers and stop at training, they forget and will not be able to impart the knowledge in their classrooms because they are not equipped.
“So, the focus is not just training but equipping teachers technologically to be able to deliver efficiently.
“It is no longer possible for teachers to stand at all times in front of the students.
“This is our focus in TRCN. Our major problem has been funding. If we get the right funding, we will be able to do this.”
Ajiboye noted that besides provision of work tools, other things needed to be put in place to make the work environment conducive for teachers.
“We held a conference of registered teachers recently and part of the recommendations was to provide financial support for teachers both in public and private, during emergencies.
“Also to mitigate the exodus of human resources from the education sector and engage private school proprietors to improve the welfare of their teachers.
“The conference also recommended inclusion of private school teachers in policy making processes that affect the profession as well as providing adequate funding for schools to procure materials for a safe environment,” he said.
“It was also recommended that teachers take personal responsibility for self development and leverage on technology to make teaching and learning a rewarding experience.
“School leaders were further asked to be innovative in school governance and leadership while head teachers and teachers are to maintain healthy communication with parents for strong collaboration.
“Equally, there was a call for networking, to form a community of practice among teachers.
“For instance Chemistry teachers in a locality can come together to prepare note of lessons, share ideas on new ways of learning and all of that,” he said.
On skills gap in schools, Ajiboye said a national committee had been set up to identify the gap in the education system and rejig education curricular to address the challenge.
He lamented that the present curricular paid so much attention to the theoretical aspect of learning, while skills acquisition was given little or no attention.
He said with developments across the world, employers of labour were more interested in know-how than mere certificate, stressing that unless there was a change, Nigerians in the labour market would continue to increase.
“When we are looking for people to carry out jobs that require skills we go get them from countries around us because not so many Nigerians are proficient in this area.
“This is of a great concern because the world is becoming more interested in hands-on rather than mere certificates.
“I am glad the government has recognised that this gap exists and is working on it,” he said.