Education as key to national development


Introduction
An
educational institution performs a significant function of providing learning
experiences to lead their students from the darkness of ignorance to the light
of knowledge. The key personnel in the Institution who play an important role
to bring about this transformation are teachers. As stated by the national
council for accreditation of teacher education (NCATE) in 1998, that the
teacher is the most important element in any educational program. It is the
teacher who is responsible for the implementation of the educational process at
any Stage. This shows that it is imperative to invest in the preparation of
teachers so that the future of the nation is secure. The importance of
competent teachers in the nation’s school system can be in no way over
emphasized. Unless teachers in service are capable and committed, the education
System cannot be a suitable and potential instrument in national development Teacher
education is a broad and comprehensive program which is meant to be involved in
every community programs and extensive activities, namely adult education and
non formal education programs, literacy and development activities of the
society. Teacher education is ever evolving and dynamic. In order to prepare teachers
who are competent to face the challenges of the dynamic society, teacher
education has to keep abreast of recent developments and trends. The crux of
the entire process of teacher education has on its curriculum – design,
structure, Organization and transaction modes as well as the extent of
appropriateness  potent tool that has
been adopted by government in her developmental effort is education. Indeed, the
main role of education is national development as has been variously postulated
by scholars. The wealth and the power of a nation depend on the successful
education of its citizens and in the number of highly talented men and women
within the national compass, a nation succeeds in providing superior and
divergent education (Aboyi, 1994). He adds “Among the factors necessary for
ushering in and consolidating contemporary development the factor of education
stands in a class by itself The national policy of education as the counter
piece of national development, the government has at various times packaged and
tried different educational programs and systems. Blazing the trail of this
respect is the universal primary education (UPE) that started in 1976. There have
also been the special educational program – education for gifted children,
inclusive education, 6-3-3-4 education system, adult and non formal education,
open and distance education, nomadic education teacher education program and
recently the universal basic education program though none of these education
programs can be tagged unqualified success for various reasons, and none can
either be called a woeful failure. For our purposes here in this study, we
shall be examining teacher education and its role in national development
Among the many objectives of this
study are
:
1.
To examine the teacher education in the country and its relevance to national
development;
2.
To determine score of the challenge facing the teacher education program which
could hinder its contribution to national development and;
3.
To make appropriate recommendations.

Teacher
Education

It
is well known fact that the quality and extent of learner achievement are
determined primarily by teacher competence, sensitivity and teacher motivation.
Teacher education is a program of education, research and training of persons
to teach from pre primary to higher educational levels. Teacher education is a
program that is related to the development of teacher proficiency and
Competence that would enable and empower the teacher to meet the requirement of
the
Profession
and face the challenges there in (Kanayo, 2012). Teacher education is all the
formal and informal activities and experiences that help to qualify a person to
assume responsibilities of a member of the educational profession (Orubu,
2003). The researchers view teacher’s education as encompassing teaching
skills, sound pedagogical theory and professional skills. Teaching skills
include providing training and practice in different techniques, approaches and
strategies that would help the teachers to plan and impact instructions,
provide appropriate reinforcement and conduct effective assessment. It includes
effective classroom management skills, preparation and use of instructional
materials and communication skill. Pedagogical theory includes the philosophical,
sociological and psychological considerations that will enable the teacher to
have a sound basis for practicing the teaching skills in the classroom Professional
Skills include the techniques, strategies and approaches that will help
teachers to grow in the profession and also work towards the growth of the
profession. The amalgamation of teaching skill, pedagogical teaching and
professional skills will serve to create the right knowledge, altitude and
skills in teacher thus promoting holistic development. Teacher education is
based on the theory that teachers are made not born. In contrary to the
assumption teachers are born not made. Since teaching is considered an art and
a science, there is need for teacher education. The focus of teacher
preparation had to shift from training to education. If it had to make a
positive influence on the quality of curriculum transaction in classrooms
 The Concept of National Development
National
development goes far beyond the acquisition of technological products like computers,
cars, planes etc or constructing the most beautiful buildings and architectural
wonders nor does it mean having good access road, bridges, airports, dams among
others. These are bye products of development. The United Nations first Decade
said that development is equal to economic growth plus social change which can
be translated at the level of the individual / and the society at large. It
includes such important human activities at levels of food and nutrition,
employment and poverty, reduction within the frame work of equality, dignity
and justice; not merely the economic prescription of per-capital income, gross
national products and annual grow rates  (Opubor, 1986) concurs. He insists that the
basic common denominator for any development is the beneficial change for the
change for the individual. He therefore concludes that any national development
manning must have their greatest beneficial impact on the rural areas must
involve labor intensive project provide a capacity for the neglected majority
of the rural Africans to better their lives largely through their own effort (p
186) The focal point of national development in the above submissions is
individual and societal change with such indications as quality food; gainful
employment; power reduction within the ambit of such frame work as equality,
dignity, social justice and equity. A nation cannot therefore be said to have
developed when a significant percent of her population are not literate and
there is decay in the country’s educational system. National development must
therefore route for change in all areas of culture which include the economy,
technology and environmental in such a way that the physical and mental
abilities of the citizenry are best positioned to achieve beneficial change. This
repositioning has to be culturally derived from the internal resources of the
country to avoid the perennial problem of Western imposed development paradigms
which are promethean and therefore antagonistic to indigenous third world
post-colonial development efforts (Betiang, 2005:20).
 Teacher Education and National Development
Teacher
education received strong emphasis in the national policy document because of
the belief that no education can rise above the quality of teachers (Balogun, 1991).
Thus in the white paper are aims of teacher education are spelt out as follows:
v To
help teachers to fit into the social life of the community and the society at
large and to enhance their commitment to national objectives.
v To
provide teachers with the intellectual and professional backgrounds adequate
for their assignment and to make them adaptable to any changing situation not
only in the life of their country but in the wider world.
v To
produce highly motivated conscientious and efficient classroom for all levels    of educational system.
v To
encourage further the spirit of enquiring and creativity in the teacher.
v To
enhance teachers commitment to the teaching profession.
The
policy also required teachers across all the educational levels to be professionally
trained with the minimum teaching qualification being the Nigeria Certificate
in Education (NCE). All teachers with lesser qualifications were to be assisted
to rise to at least the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) level and those
who could not would have to leave the service (FGN, 1999). The policy went
further to describe some of the conditions of service (such as opportunities
for
Promotion
at all levels) to enhance career structure and nationwide harmonization of the
condition of service, the establishment of a teachers council to care of
accreditation, registration, certification, discipline and regulation guiding
the teaching profession. The teacher’s council was then to compile the list of
registration nationwide. Amucheazi (1980:9) advices that “certainly for Nigeria
to develop truly Nigerians must .and evolves institutions which will enable the
individual find his fulfillment. One such institution that can enable the
individual find his fulfillment is education. Education without doubt is at the
heart of development. Education develops an individual by equipping him/her
both intellectually and vocationally to face the realities of life in the
larger society. The United Kingdom Department for Intellectual Development
(DFID) has stressed the importance of education in national development in its
2002 annual report thus:
Education
is at the heart of development. The countries which made the greatest progress
in reducing poverty in recent decades are those which have combined effective
and equitable investment in education with sound economic policies. Education
enables people to use and extend their capabilities develop skills improve
their livelihood and increase their earning potential Amplifying the same view
literature has it that education is the single most important distinguishing
factor between human and animals. Using building as a paradigm, it points out
that because of education, human beings have passed through dwelling in caves
to huts, shelter, mud houses and today man uses various kinds of building made
of concrete, blocks, bricks, stones, glasses and woods. But there is no
education among animals; weaver bird for instance, makes the same kind of nest
its ancestors made millions of years ago. Education has increasingly become
important to success of both individuals and nations. Growing evidence
demonstrates that among all educational resources, teacher’s abilities are especially
critical contributions to students’ learning and consequently the success of a
nation to advance in its economic, social and political spheres (Darling
Hammond, 2006). Throughout the world, reform and innovation initiatives by
nations have triggered much decision about the structures of teacher education
and training programs (Herbert 2001) If the child is the centre of educational
system, teachers are the hub of the educational process. For it is upon their
number, their education and training their quality and devotion to duty, their
effectiveness and efficiency and their competence and their productivity depend
on the effectiveness, the capability and the possibilities of the entire
educational system and enterprise. The realization of the potentialities of
organized education as a veritable instrument for change and national
development depends largely on the teachers. Excellent educational policies are
meaningless unless there are equally excellent teachers to see to their
realization. Various governments may vote sufficient funds as enabling resource
for education, adequate materials resources may be procured, but unless the teachers
are properly prepared and positively motivated, little productivity will occur.
The enabling resources will wasted, the material resources will gather dust and
decay and little productive will take place. The researchers maintained that
for a developing nation like Nigeria, teachers are the most crucial, critical,
vital and strategic professional body for national development.

 Challenges
The
following have been articulated as challenges and possible solutions to enhance
teacher education in Nigeria.
 Inadequate
Remuneration of Teachers
This
is particularly a vexed issue, because teachers are the best paid workers in
Switzerland and some other developing countries of the world. A teacher is
better paid in Togo, Ghana, Uganda, etc, than in Nigeria. Evidently, teaching
is not considered attractive in this country, because of the attendant neglect
and poor remuneration. Adequate incentive and motivation are required to put practitioners
on a proper pedestal.
 Recruitment
and Training of Teachers
The
method of recruitment of people into teaching profession and their subsequent
training skills lack seriousness and vision. School dropouts still find their
way into teaching, thus turning teacher training institutions into a dumping
ground for those who could not make headway elsewhere. The successful
implementation of  any  nation’s educational policy depends to a large
extent on the quality and quantity of its teaching force. Dunces should no
longer be allowed into the noble profession and government should recruit only
trained and qualified teachers into educational
system.
 Poor
Teaching and Learning Facilities
If
teacher education should yield great results, then adequate provision of
facilities and infrastructure must be boosted by all stakeholders in the
teaching profession. It is not unusual to see student-teachers having their
training under tree, due to lack of adequate classrooms (Ofoejebe, 2006).
 Inadequate
Professional Development of Teachers
There
is no massive investment in the professional development of teachers and this
leads to the raise of quacks and incompetent teachers in the field. There
should be massive investment in the professional development of teachers, to
ensure that only the professionals are in the field. Any more waste of time in
the full professionalization of teaching is not in the interest of our future generation.
The quality of education will definitely improve drastically, when this is
done.

Curricular Problems
Teacher-Related Problems
Many
teachers took teaching as a In the colonial era the schools curricular undermined
the Nigeria indigenous culture and our integrity and rather enslaved the
students and products of the school system with alien ideals. Sadly the effect
has injured on even after a national policy and indeed two decades after that policy.
The reasons for this statement range from socio- economic through poverty of
spirit and values, dependency in the language of learning and communication, to
stock ignorance of the teachers. Teachers can only be effective agents of
change if they have the wherewithal in terms of knowledge and resources.
last
resort having been rejected as misfit in the oter professions. Due to acute
shortage of teachers, mediocrity has stepped in to the extent that teachers now
teach subjects other than that which they are specialists in. Teacher education
has had to contend with pedagogy problems of making effective classes from the
situation in the school for so long. Professionalization of teaching and a
national registration for teachers will help minimize teacher related problems
 Economic
Problem
The
economic down turn caused by the glut in the oil market since the early 1980s
has not helped matters for teacher education, indeed for education generally
and all over the country. The Nigerian leaders who had been in power in the
1960s and who had no value for education stole and hoarded the little money in
the treasury and misappropriated whatever little was left for education. This
vicious attitude as reported in Ojerinde (1967), the military high-handedness
and
unconcealed
contempt for the teachers led the military government of 1972 to send
university teacher packing out of their quarters within a few hours of the
notice because of industrial disharmony over poor wages and unfavorable work conditions.

Conclusion
The
paper examined teacher education, its relevance to national development and the
challenges facing the teacher education program that mar its contribution to
national development. Attention has been drawn to the importance of teacher
education for the development of a nation, capable, dedicated, competent,
effective and efficient teachers are indispensible for our success and progress
since no nation can rise above its educational system and it teachers.
Recommendations
The
following recommendation are made based on the research findings
1.
The government should promptly pay teachers their salaries, allowances and
promote them as and when it is due
2.
Workshops and seminars should be organized for teachers in different subject
areas at least once in a term
3.
Teachers should be strictly supervised to assure that effective teaching and
learning is taking place
4.
Government should recruit only qualified teachers and the unqualified and quack
teachers should be identified and flushed out of the system.
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