You are on page 1of 12

SCIENCE TEACHER EDUCATION IN DEMOCRATIC DISPENSATION:ISSUES AND CHALLENGES

BY

ALHASSAN MUAZU DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS, SCHOOL OF SCIENCE EDUCATION, FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECHNICAL) BICHI, KANO.

BEING

A PAPER PRESENTED AT 3RD NATIONAL CONFERENCE ORGANISED BY COLLEGES OF EDUCATION ACADEMIC STAFF UNION (COEASU) AT ZAMFARA STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, MARU ON 24TH-28TH APRIL 2012.
1

Introduction.
Teachers education is any of the conventional programs that have been founded for the preparation of teachers at the elementary- and secondary-school levels. The Education sector serves more patronage than any other industry. Therefore, the problems of the education system are problems of every individual or household either directly or indirectly. The input of the teacher is a necessary requirement in all forms of education. It is even more important in the education for skill acquisition and development where the methods used have to be carefully planned, synchronized and purposefully articulated. These requirements underscore the need for proper and functional teacher preparation. The impact of teachers instructional method on students academic performance remains enduringly paramount in the process of imparting knowledge and skills. Teachers need to be knowledgeable in theory and in practice for a successful teaching and learning process. Ukeje (1992) emphasized that teachers needs greater depth of knowledge, increased skills of teaching, right attitudes and improved human characteristics and relations. . It is therefore evident that whoever must impart or teach skills must himself have such skills since attempting to give what one does not have is usually a mirage and castle building in the air.

The importance of the teacher in education cannot be overstressed. The teachers must master the subject matter and impart knowledge to their students. The National Policy on Education (2004) asserts that no education system can grow beyond the quality of its teachers. Hence, there is always a need to assess the nation's system of teacher education with a view to ensuring adequate supply of quality teachers in the right mix to our schools. In this lecture, teacher education is considered as a process of developing skilled teaching manpower to enable them provide good quality and relevant education to learners at whatever level they operate within the education system. According to the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004) the goals of teacher education shall be:

(a)

production of highly motivated, conscientious and efficient classroom teachers for all levels of our education system;

(b) (c)

encouraging the spirit of enquiry and creativity in teachers; helping teachers fit into the social life of the community and the society at large and to

enhance their commitment to national goals; (d) providing teachers with the intellectual and professional background adequate for

their assignment and to make them (e)

adaptable to changing conditions and;

enhancing teachers' commitment to the teaching profession.

There are two types of teacher education in Nigeria, pre-service or in-service. Pre-service teacher education is obtained from faculties of education and schools of education in universities and in colleges of education/polytechnics respectively while the in-service teacher education is obtained by university faculty of education/colleges of education and the National Teachers' Institute (NTI). Faculty of Education In universities and colleges of education runs programmes of teacher education In form of postgraduate diploma In education (PGDE), part-time degree In education for serving teachers, and various skill Improvement workshops. The National Teachers Institute provides In-service training in form of "pivotal" Grade II certificate training for teachers In some disadvantaged states and NCE part-time courses (PTTP), The professional bodies like the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) also contribute to In-service teacher education by organizing workshops and seminars for teachers geared at specific skill improvement. The education of pre-service and in-service science teachers is meant to help individual teacher grow and develop as a person, provide him or her with skills and professional abilities to motivate children to learn, assist them in aquiring the right type of understanding, concept, values and attitude to manage classroom instructions and be productive member of the society in which they are born, grow and live (Lawan, 2003).

Democratic Dispensation Of Teacher Education In Nigeria: The present trend shows that science teacher education is much improved than it was before 1970. Today, there are no pupil teachers with only primary education who needed to be taught for some hours per week before going to teach. Even though there are still signs of no
3

commitment to teaching and many science teachers would want to leave the profession at the slightest opportunity, it is heart-warming to note that a larger proportion of the current day science teachers are professionally trained. Access to the profession is much easier since education and training for teachers is virtually free. The type of teachers needed in Nigeria have become clearly defined in the National Policy on Education Implementation Committee blueprint. It was prescribed that the types and qualifications of teachers required should be as follows: Pre-primary Education: Grade II Teacher with NCE teachers as heads. Primary Education: NCE teachers and graduate teachers as heads. Junior Secondary Schools: NCE and University graduates Senior Secondary Schools: NCE and University graduates with professional qualifications. Technical Colleges, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education:University graduates with post-graduate qualifications in their disciplines together with professional qualifications, practical industrial exposure and experience, University: University graduates with postgraduate qualifications together with professional qualifications and experience. This decreed that the minimum qualification to teach in our primary school in Nigeria is NCE. The government had taken steps to ensure implementation of this prescription. All the existing Grade 2 teachers' colleges are being phased out and serving Grade 2 teachers are being retrained to obtain NCE before the deadline to disengage them. Also, various teachers' colleges now mount NCE sandwich or part-time courses to help upgrade the knowledge of teachers who are below NCE level. There are crash programmes to educate teachers further. There are avenues at the National Open University to help develop the modern day teachers.

Today, teachers are being educated online and via programmed learning techniques or ICT.The contents of teacher education have been responding greatly to the changing needs of society. Four major areas of teacher education course contents can be identified. These are: Educational Foundation courses, courses related to the students' area of subject specialization, General Studies and Teaching Practice. The Educational Foundation courses of teacher education
4

include: Administration, Planning and Organization of Education, Teaching Aids and Educational Technology; Developmental Psychology; Guidance and Counseling; Testing and Measurements. History of Education.The courses for science teacher depends on the area of specialization could be in any of Basic sciences such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology or Applied sciences such as Agricultural science, Home science, Food technology, Building technology, etc, In terms of duration of teacher education programme to qualify for the NCE, the student teacher spends three years of academic and professional training after the senior secondary school. For those who want to become graduate teachers, the duration is four years of post-secondary academic and professional training in the university. Since 2002, the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) established some minimum standards for teacher education at the NCE level. As part of the standard set, the minimum admission requirement for NCE programmes is passes in five subjects (English inclusive) with three credits at the same sitting or four credits at two sittings of Senior Secondary Certificate Examination or National Examination Council or General Certificate of Education Examination. To further assure quality of products, courses such as Computer Education, Mathematics and General English have been made compulsory for all NCE students.

At the graduate teacher education level, the quality is also assured by the National Universities Commission (NUC) by setting benchmark on academic standard in education and closely following it up with regular accreditation of courses at the universities. Institutions whose education courses failed accreditation were asked to phase it out. The National Policy on Education (1998) stipulated that teacher education should recognize the need for changes in methodology and curriculum and teachers should be exposed to innovations in their profession. Aaron (2003) identified some specific areas of teacher education that need improvement. These include teachers' communication skills, teaching of numeracy and basic sciences, use of instructional time, promotion of active learning, assessment techniques and teacher teamwork. Inherent in the aforemention issues are a number of challenges facing teacher education in Nigeria. Some of such challenges are briefly highlighted in this paper.

Science teacher education. So a science teacher is the one that teach scientific and technological knowledge to the students as enunciated by the National policy of education which has the folowings as the goal of science education. i. Cultivate inquiring, knowing and rational mind for the conduct of a good life and democracy. ii. iii. iv. Produce scientist for a national development; Service studies in technology and the cause of technological development; and Provide knowledge and understanding of the complexity of the physical world, the forms and the conduct of life (FRN, 2004:29)

Science education contribute to the quality of life in so many areas; health, nutrition, agriculture,medicine, materials and energy production and industrial development.it ensure that the water we drink and air we breaath is life sustaining and not vector deasese and decay.according to ware in Ankpan (2008:10),the international council of scientific union council in teaching of science (ICSU-CTS) summarise the importance of science and technology to economic development as follows: long term sustained growth can be assured only if the money invested in science and technolgy is marcth with the provision of fund for complementary educational programme directed both to the production of scientist and technologhist and to the improvement of science literacy to the population as a whole Science and technology education have therefore become crucial factors for sustainable development world wide. It is in factgenerally acceptable that the adoption of a scientific frame of mind is a prerequisite for develpoment. This paper hope to address the following questions: i. ii. iii. iv. What is teachers education? What is science teachers education Educational dispensation Issues and challenges facing science teachers education.
6

v.

How can democratic government address this challenges.

Issues Relating to Science Teachers Teachers role is instrumental in fostering positive attitudes towards science. A teacher plays a vital role by both acting as a role model and ensuring that the processes of science feature in the learning of the content and process in context. Not every teacher can meet this requirement. Are science teachers in Nigeria adequate in quality and quantity? How are the science teachers now produced? How are they supposed to be produced?. Given the innovative changes in the science curricula of schools, it is necessary that a teacher properly understands the nature of science, the features of scientific concepts, laws and theories. This will enable the teacher act scientifically in all ramifications thereby, teach science according to its nature.

Issues relating to training of science teachers Most practicing science teachers do not possess adequate training for the job. Even some graduates among them do not have teaching qualifications or exposure to science education. However, a lot of improvement occurs with years of service. The snag is that these more experienced teachers who can now perform better, are converted to principals of schools and perform administrative duties instead of classroom teaching. The national policy on education in section 47 states clealy:all teachers in tertiary institution shall be encourage to undergo training in the method and techniques of teaching. This is to enhance their teaching, but this policy laudable as it may be, is yet to be fully implemented (Olujuwon, 2003).

Issues Relating to Non- continuity of government policies: Nigeria operate is multi-party system each party has its own policies,aims and objectives. A party that is in power may formulate its educational policies and when or how to implement them. Another party by coming to power may expunge what ever good policies that is put in place by the opposition party and start its own, this adversily affect teachers education in any insitution within the region in question. Challenges of science teacher Education.

i.

Inadequate and poor Teacher Preparation: The problem posed by lack of teachers and their preparation as noted by Nwagbo (2005), indicates that, science taechers lack the basic knowledge and skills needed for appropriate science teaching especially at the primary school level which is the foundation of education.

ii.

Inadequate funding: Science teachers education requires adequate funding by the government by provision of essential equipments and chemicals for effective teaching and leaning.The current budgetary allocation to education sector by the government is below the 26% as suggested by UNESCO and the amount allocated is not properly monitored for effective management and utilization.

iii.

Inadequate curriculum delivery: non adherence to science curriculum leads to employement of unprofessionally trained science teacher to teach science subjects.

iv.

Favouratizism and God fatherizism: many unqualified teachers ie holders of third class or pass degree or without relevant teaching qualification are employed into secondary and tertiary insitution through the influence of politicians and powerful government officials.

v.

Inadequate science teachers programme: teachers training programme in the university and colleges of education are not turn up into subject matter of science and less time is spent in teaching practice.

vi.

Poor Salary: Science teacher are not proferly taken care of in this democratic dispensation as they have to embark on strike before their rightful demand such as increase in salary and allowance are payed

vii.

Poor policy implementation: Government is good at making educational policy such as The National Policy of Science Education but blatantly bad in Educational policy implementation. This leads to deplorable and inadequate science teachers education in our schools.

viii.

Inadequate science teachers motivation/incentives: Science teachers are not adequately motivated as the schorlarship, awards, bursaries and loans given to science teachers is either too small, delayed or totally absent in some schools, this highly discourage those that want to go to science teaching profession.
8

Suggestions for enhancing science teahers education. In view of the above analysis, the following suggestions are made for enhancing science teacher education in Nigeria:

Adequate and teacher preparation: Science teacher with inadequate knowledge and basic skill in teaching, must undergo studies and training such as post graduate diploma in Education (PGDE),NCE training for former grade teachers. The practicing science teachers should also be regularly trained on the proffesion by attending conferences such as stan conference, workshops and seminars to update their skill and motivate them.

Adequate Funding: Government through the federal ministry of education have to increase the current budgetary allocation to education sector to the required 26% and the E.T.F provision of scholarships,grant etc to science teahers, in view of the current inflationary trend in the country.

Adequate curriculum delivery: This requires that only qualified professional science teachers are allowed to teach science subjects. This also require the production and supply of relevant textbooks and science teaching equipment inaddition to improvement conditions of teaching and leaning.

Good salary/allowance: The salary of science teachers and allowances has to be improved.the recent wage increase ie the minimum wage and consolidated salary scale in universities and tertiary institution is a wellcome development but has to be enhanced to meet the international standard as doing so will drastically halt the brain drain syndrome as witness in our institution.

Science teachers training programme: Teaching practice by science teachers should be mainly be centred on subject matters of sciences and extend the period spent for teaching practice.

Conclusion

In this democratic dispensation the importance of science teachers education can be cannot be overemphasized. For nation to achieved scientific and technological break through it must have to impact the scientic knowlegde to the society through well trained science teachers; hence the need for science teachers education. The issue and challenges highligted coupled with many that are not mention in this paper seriouly affect science teachers education in Nigeria. In order to meet the goals of National policy of education on science education the above mention challenges have to be address and tackled as suggested. Coming years are likely to see continuing development and change in science teacher education. As population of students are increasing both at primary, secondary and tertiary insitutions in the country and in view of the demand of scientific and technological knowlegde, the science teacher must adjust to new developments in educational technology, the growth of human knowledge, and the problem of creating a relevant and appropriate curriculum from the enormous range of material available.

10

References Aarons. A. (2003) Nigeria: Universal Basic Education: issues of teaching and learning, Research Report, Abuja, World Bank, Akphan, B.B. Nigeria and the future of science education. Science teachers association (STAN), Ibadan. Federal Government of Nigeria (1998) National Policy on Education, Lagos, Government Press. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004): National policy on education. Lagos Nigeria. Lawan, H.S. (2003). Teachers education and professional growth of the 21st century Nigeria Teacher. The African Symposium, Vol6(1). Pp. 21-31.

Pacesetter: Journal of Oyo State College of Education Vol. 13, No 1, July, 2006

Problems and Prospects of Development of Science Education in Nigerian Secondary Schools: A Philosophical Perspective- Dr. (Mrs.) Christy O. Nwachukwu, International Journal of Research Development. National Commission for Colleges of Education (2002) Summary of minimum standard for NCE teachers, Abuja. National education research develpoment council,(NERDC) (2004).National policy of Abuja,(NERDC). Nwagbo, C.R. (2005). Attachment of Professionalism in Science Education Competences and Skill needed by Biology Teachers. Proceedings of the 46th Annual Conference of STAN. Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria) Plc. Ibadan. Olajuwun, T.(2003). Education in Nigeria: A futuristic perspective. In conference proceeding of 4th world conference of the International Consortium for Educational Development 3-6 July, Perth, Westen Australia pp.1-8.
11

12