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Repositioning Of Secondary Education Sector In Nigeria



Repositioning Of Secondary Education Sector In Nigeria

By Richardson Ogwezzy

Secondary school education serves as a bridge between primary and tertiary education. The major aims of secondary education are to prepare the children for higher education and useful living in the society. The relevance of secondary education has made it pertinent for every country to hold it at a very high esteem, because the collapse of the system will have long run effects on the tertiary institutions and their graduates in the world of work. The teachers in secondary schools in Nigeria are the key determinants of the success of the secondary education goals But the teachers are not well motivated, unlike their counterpart in the tertiary institutions. This has weighed down their commitment, effectiveness, productivity and has been negatively affecting students’ academic achievement and education goals in Nigerian secondary schools.

Teachers in Nigeria have been stuck from furthering their education beyond first degree. For instance, a teacher who is a first degree graduate may strive to acquire a master’s degree, a master’s degree may aspire to acquire a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to enable him or her to be more equipped in his area of study or specialisation in order to impact positively on the students. But at the end, such qualifications will not be taken into account in their promotions and salary grade level placement because educational policy has specified first degree as the highest qualification for secondary education in terms of financial benefits and promotions.

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Many teachers in Nigeria have master’s and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degrees and are teaching in secondary schools without corresponding financial benefits. These have made teachers with master”s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees to opt out from teaching in secondary schools to higher institutions. Not only that, many teachers with first degrees take teaching job at the secondary schools as a stepping stone, on getting a better job they will abandon the initial job. How then will secondary education achieve its desired objectives? Bearing in mind that the system is not for teachers with higher qualifications and experience.

Tertiary institutions in Nigeria, such as universities, polytechnics and colleges of education have their salary structures. Teachers in secondary schools are expected to have their salary structure, This will motivate them for optimum performance. The absence of salary structure for secondary schools has created a great difference between a first degree teacher in secondary schools and that of the tertiary institutions. The difference is as a result of the extent of the struggle of their trade unions.

It has been observed that the existing educational policy guidelines, guiding secondary school education discourages teachers from furthering their education and, is responsible for limiting teachers to salary grade level 16. A few years ago, Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) agitated for elongation of teachers age and years of service from 60 to 65 and 35 to 40 respectively, it was approved by president Buhari. Teachers in Nigeria are now benefitting from additional age and years of service. In Delta State, teachers in secondary schools for about a decade, are promoted to salary grade level 17. Salary grade level 16 has being the highest level as stipulated by the education policy. But by teachers’ agitation, it is now salary grade level 17.

The issue now is that, president Ahmed Bola Tinubu has been giving listening ears to stakeholders, groups and members representing various sectors of the economy, it will be wise for the teachers’ unions, ASUSS and NUT to as usual take advantage of the opportunity and present the issue. The issue of recognising and upgrading secondary school teachers who possess higher qualifications beyond first degree. Secondly, the unions should also agitate for a new salary structure for secondary school teachers. Lastly, the new Secondary School Commission approved by president Buhari should be revitalized, because the existence of the commission will go a long way to ease the problems of secondary school teachers in Nigeria.

The issue raised here are pertinent issues that can significantly reposition the secondary education sector for a more robust and result-oriented service delivery. The system should have a way of rewarding those who are sacrificing so much to improve the sector with fresh knowledge, skills, professional training and capacity building.

Richardson Ogwezzy is a teacher at Girls'” Secondary School, Kwale, Delta State


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