DG/CE Calls for the Upgrading of NTI to a Varsity
Prof. Garba Dahuwa Azare, the Director-General and Chief Executive (DG/CE) of the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI), Kaduna, has requested the House of Representatives’ Committee on Basic Education to consider upgrading the Institute to a University of Education, solely dedicated to Teacher Education by Distance Learning.
Azare made the request on Wednesday, April 17, in his office , when he received the committee‘s members, who visited the Institute for an Oversight function. He emphasised that so doing would surely enable many teachers to benefit from the Institute’s training programmes, pointing out that it would be advantageous to the teachers in the country.
“They will have more access and the courses will be cost effective and a place of pride for all teachers , being the only single mode institution dedicated to teacher education in the country,” he said.
He explained that the Institute was established 43 years ago, to provide courses of instruction leading to the development, upgrading and certification of teachers using the distance education techniques.
According to him, the Institute had pursuant to that mandate, been running a number of training and re-training programmes through the Distance Learning mode.
The DG/CE availed that between 1980 and 2006 the Institute trained no fewer than 1,454, 143 for Teachers’ Grade Two Certificate and 101,000 Pivotal Teacher Training Programme (PTTP) from the year 2000 to 2003 and 2009 to date.
“From 1990 to date, the Institute trained 261, 181 students for the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) while from 2005 to date 1,357 students obtained Advanced Diploma in Education in Guidance and Counselling; Schools’ Supervision and Inspection and Early Childhood Education,” he said.
He pointed out further that the Institute has with effect from 2018 commenced Advanced Diploma in Environmental Education even as it has trained 51,576 teachers in the Special Teacher Upgrading Programme (STUP) which lasted between 2005 and 2011.
Azare mentioned that from 2005 to date the Institute trained 77,074 Post-Graduate Diploma in Education(PGDE) pointing out that the Institute has been conducting a number of training and re-training workshops with a view to enhancing, strengthening, improving , and equipping teachers with knowledge, skills, and right attitudes to make them perform optimally in the classroom.
“Since 2006 to date, the Institute has been conducting nationwide Capacity Building training for teachers under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Project(s).
“For the MDGs which lasted between 2006 and 2015, a total number of 748, 746 teachers were trained, while for the SDGs which started in 2016, the Institute has trained 23,000 Primary and Junior Secondary School teachers nationwide. The trainings were initially on methodology for teaching the four core subjects which are English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science and Social Studies. Later from 2015, It was changed to thematic areas which are Language Communication Skills, ICT, Basic Teaching Methods and Effective Classroom Management,” he said.
Azare availed further that the Institute has also been mounting Capacity Building Programmes under the MDGs and now SDGs in Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SENDs); HIV/Awareness Workshops for teachers; Workshops on Digital Literacy and Workshops on Academic Leadership for School Administrators.
He said the Institute has a catalogue of no fewer than 100 variety of Capacity Building training for teachers with a view to improving and enhancing the capacity of teachers nationwide.
According to him, another major Capacity Building training for teachers being conducted by the Institute is the Strengthening of Mathematics and Science Education (SMASE) in-service training.
“This is a programme that is unique and specifically designed to address the poor state of teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science in our schools. It is meant to enhance the capacity of Basic education teacher in terms of attitude, pedagogy, mastery of content, resource mobilisation and utilisation of locally available teaching and learning materials as well as active participation of pupils in classroom activities. The programme was initiated by the Japanese Government trough the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and since the establishment of the programme, JICA has been giving technical support particularly in the area of training of the National Trainers in Japan, Malaysia, Kenya and many countries. This programme has become JICA’s most successful project in Education Cooperation in Africa,” he said.
The DG/CE affirmed that the Institute has been training Basic Education teachers from all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the SMASE Programme.
“The SMASE Complex has been expanded and equipped for effective and efficient service delivery just as we succeeded in adequately sensitising stakeholders and the public about the project. We have also succeeded in bringing on board all the 36 states and the FCT to benefit from the unique pedagogy training on SMASE as well as making the Centre very vibrant, active and competing with its Regional counterpart in Kenya. I wish to assure you that Nigeria can certainly develop and excel scientifically and technologically through this very unique programme of SMASE,” he said.
Azare further told the visitors that the 2018 nationwide Capacity Building Workshops for teachers under the SDGs were successfully conducted from February 4-8, 2019 in all the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.
He availed that the workshops were fully residential, with all participants fully accommodated in decent hotels, fed and trained on thematic areas.
“A total number of 3,700 teachers were trained (100 participants for each state and the FCT). Another component of the exercise was the train-the trainer workshops on HIV/AIDS Awareness Workshop for teachers nationwide. I wish to assure you that Nigeria can certainly develop and excel scientifically and technologically through this very unique programme of SMASE. The workshop was conducted in all the six geopolitical zones of the country from March 18-22 and six participants were nominated by SUBEB/ SMoE , each state and the FCT for the training.
“A total number of 246 teachers were trained , two participants from each Senatorial District in addition to 24 from Special Schools. The exercise was highly participatory in nature and very successful even as the master trainers will in turn cascade the training in schools in their areas,” he said,
Speaking on his achievements since assumption of office on August 1, 2016, the DG/CE said they include but are not limited to successfully restructuring the Institute.
“On my assumption of office, there came into being new Departments of Examinations, Quality Assurance and Academic Services for optimal performance and efficiency in service delivery. Staff were re-organised and posted on the basis of their qualifications, relevance and experience for effective and efficient service delivery. We secured approval for the affiliation of the Bachelors’ Degree Programme(BDPs) and Post-Graduate Diploma in Education being run by the Institute,’’ he said.
He explained that his administration succeeded in establishing better working relationship with international organisations such as the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), UNESCO, UNICEF , University of London , Open University of UK, USAID, British Council, DFID , among others.
According to him, the Institute introduced the Green Teacher Programme in collaboration with COL, Vancouver Canada pointing out that the programme aimed among others, at enlightening and educating teachers at all levels about the environment.
“It is indeed an innovative strategy for addressing current global challenges about the environment.
He however availed that his administration also introduced new courses in the Institute’s NCE programmes with a view to providing more opportunity for teachers to specialise in other key areas of the curriculum. Some of these courses include Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and the three major Nigerian Languages which included Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. We also developed, edited and produced the course materials for all the newly- introduced NCE courses; enhanced and strengthened the capacity of staff through Capacity Building Training Programmes organised by the Institute,” he said.
According to him, other achievements recorded while he is superintending the affairs of the Institute included the development and implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Institute as well as encouraging and sponsoring staff for regular training in higher institutions within and outside the country.
“During the period under review, this administration implemented fully, the approved Duty Tour Allowance(s) for all staff of the Institute on official assignment(s), developed and tested variety of Quality Assurance Instruments for effective evaluation of all economic, academic and non-academic activities of the institute. The Institute has been engaging seasoned educationists from various universities of the country to serve as external Quality Assurance Assessors for all our academic programmes, ” he said.
He asserted that productivity of staff has been greatly heightened even as they are being promoted as and when due pointing out that that has been boosting their morale.
The DG/CE had while enumerating some of the challenges being faced by the Institute lamented that affiliation with universities has increased the expenses of running the BDPs and PGDE programmes.
According to him, the Federal Government (FG) never funds any of the Institute’s programmes pointing out that they are being run through the fees paid by the students. Notwithstanding the Institute has to still pay 25 per cent of all collections into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the FG.
He said that the fees collected is meant to be used in delivering service like payment of facilitators, teaching practice , project, conduct and marking of examinations, production and issuance of course books and many more.
He called the Federal Government for the need to set out some funds to run the Institute’s programmes
“There is need for the Institute to be treated as a social service provider and not a revenue generation one,” he said. He , on behalf of NTI Governing Council and Management, appreciated and commended efforts of the Committee for its continued support to the Institute.
Responding, Alhaji Zakari Mohammed, the visiting Committee’s leader said his Committee was impressed by the achievements recorded during the period under the Azare-led Management.
He mentioned that teaching being the “first” profession would be accorded the priority it deserves by the committee to ensure that the “legacy established by NTI lingers.”
“This Committee is passionate about education and we have no choice but to continue to support the Institute in its quest to move the sector to higher grounds. To further boost teachers’ morale, we will soon sponsor a Bill, that will make teachers to retire at the age of 65 instead of the 60 years,” he said.
He, on behalf of his Committee, appreciated the Institute’s Management for the reception and facility tour of some vital places within the Headquarters of the Institute.
Mal. Mahmud Mohammed Usman, the NTI Registrar and Secretary to Council who gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the Institute’s Management, expressed gratitude to the Committee and the FME for the “cooperation and guidance,” the Institute enjoys from them.
He commended Azare for his “fatherly role and compassion,” in addition to stressing that the Institute’s Management and staff are cooperating as a “team.’’
The Bulletin reports that the Committee members were conducted on a facility tour to the SMASE Complex, e-Learning Centre, the SMASE Laboratory and the newly built Kaduna State office near the Main gate of the Institute.
(Source: April/May, 2019 NTI News Bulletin: a bi-monthly publication produced by Public Relations and Protocol Unit, Office of the Director-General and Chief Executive, NTI, Kaduna)