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Teachers’ upskill initiative of Lagos State Government

Public and private primary and secondary schools in Lagos State went on a week-long mid-term break from November 1-5, 2021.

Subsequently, they were informed that the one-week break would afford schools the opportunity to internally upskill their teachers in various educational and developmental programmes, especially at this time of COVID-19, where learning has gone beyond the physical four walls of the classroom.

It is worthy of commendation that the Lagos State government thought it wise to improve the teachers’ skills quality for better service delivery. Of fact, the challenge of 21st-century education is as enormous, as it is dynamic. The age-old ‘one size fits all’ teaching method has long been outgrown with the focus moving on to different styles of teaching and learning approaches.

With the new norm approach to almost every aspect of human endeavours, orchestrated by the coronavirus pandemic, teaching and learning have also taken a new turn; making Information and Communication Technology (ICT) knowledge, imperative to all teachers.

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Teachers

Classroom management, subject delivery, curriculum development among others no doubt have improved, hence teachers need to upgrade to be relevant. Therefore, exposing primary and secondary school teachers to ICT will no doubt enhance, and help them optimise the delivery of information.

The Lagos State government in its quest for a better education delivery had earlier in the year unveiled the Casio Mathematics and Science Training Centre located at The Education Resource Centre, Ojodu Berger, before coming out with the plan and programme of training public school teachers at the 6 education districts of the state. The one week break was for private schools to join the State’s online training and to organise training programmes for their teachers.

One would have expected the Lagos State education authorities to embrace a relational approach instead of threats. Most of the schools that complied with the directives did so out of fear rather than conviction

But it is surprising that some private school owners shunned this noble call from the state government to improve the skills of their teachers. This, to say the least, is backward.

Even if a school feels it does not have what it takes to organise such training, at least it could have sought collaborations with other schools bearing in mind the benefits that will accrue from exposing their teachers to this positive Programme.

Be that as it may, it is disturbing that the state government failed to provide the needed incentives for these private schools to organise their own training. The state government was expected to have matched its good and noble idea with appropriate support to enable the private schools maximise the opportunity. But this did not happen.

Rather, the authorities chose to be punitive by slamming a fine of N500,000 on any school that fails to comply. The school owners and teachers were promised online training but all to no avail.

One would have expected the Lagos State education authorities to embrace a relational approach instead of threats. Most of the schools that complied with the directives did so out of fear rather than conviction.

Besides, if the policymakers were to be taken seriously, they should have arranged for proper exercise inspection. Getting people to do the right thing, the right way, and the right time demands more than verbal instructions.

It is on record that many private schools in Lagos State did not observe the break nor organised the training for their teachers, simply because they were convinced that the relevant policymakers were not going to supervise the exercise. Besides, it is only common sense to question the rationale for enforcing training without proof of ‘locus standi’, no evidence of concrete interest from the government.

Instead of force, we had expected that the suasion approach would have been applied. The state government should see the private school owners as partners in progress, consequently, have action plans to engage them in fashioning out modalities that will make such a noble concept achievable. Involvement leadership is needed to get the best of the education sector.

All told however, we commend the Lagos State government for coming out with this initiative. However, we wish to emphasise that the stakeholders such as private school owners should have been carried along in order to make the exercise a comprehensive success.

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