Thursday, 19 February 2015


There is no doubt that teaching profession meets the more widely accepted criteria of a profession. It is however pertinent to note that there are subverting factors that restrains the advancement of teaching profession.

Education and Training

A key feature of the teaching force in most Nigeria is its heterogeneity, particularly with respect to educational attainment and professional training. Teachers range from those with post-graduate qualifications to secondary school leavers with minimal levels of pre-service training. In most private primary schools in Nigeria, teachers with certificate level pre-service training predominate. Consequently, as an occupational group, teachers do not have the equivalent level of education and training nor the cohesiveness as well established professions, such as medical doctors, engineers and lawyers, which have uniformly high academic entry qualifications.

Absolute and Relative Size

Teaching is a mass occupation, which also militates against ̳professional‘ exclusivity. The teaching force accounts for one-half to two-thirds of public sector employment. However, public sector recruitment freezes in Nigeria have seriously constrained the remunerations of teachers.


The established professions enjoy a high degree of self-regulation and are successful in maintaining high barriers to entry in terms of qualification requirements and registration. Teachers, on the other, hand, tend to have weak, state-dominated professional organizations with factions.
Public Service Ethos and Professional Conduct
Teaching has become ̳employment of the last resort‘ among university graduates and secondary school leavers in many countries. Consequently, teachers often lack a strong, long-term commitment to teaching as a vocation.

On a comparative note, around one-half of junior (Form 4) secondary school leavers in Malawi and Tanzania who finished school in 1990 were employed as teachers in 2001.

Thus, in the absence of alternative employment opportunities, becoming a school teacher is the main avenue for social and economic advancement for Nigerian graduates . This has important implications for the development of a critical mass of competent and experience teachers in education.

The Work Environment and Remuneration

Teachers rarely enjoy the same work environment as other professions. The size of the teaching force coupled with lower educational qualifications means
that teachers are also paid considerably less than the mainstream professions.
The Social Class and Academic Background of Entrants to the Profession
The standing of a profession is to some extent affected by the social class background of its recruits; the higher the ̳social strata from which recruits generally come, the higher the status of the profession. And, of course, the higher the status of a profession, the more it will attract recruits from the higher social strata (Hoyle, 1969).

Entry into teaching profession in Nigeria has been a source of worry to discernable observers. In the past, primary six leaving certificate arid Modern School Certificate holders were the requirements for entry into the teaching profession, and to teachers‘ colleges. Later, School Certificate holder constituted the bulk of teaching forces in primary school, in the early seventies. Currently, the majority of students who apply or enter the Colleges of Education and University‘s Faculty of Education are usually those with low grade, in the competitive JAMB Examination. Majority of them reluctantly pursue education as a last resort. So at the end of their course, graduates from colleges of education and Faculty of Education opted out from teaching and looked for more lucrative jobs.

Commitment to the Profession

Another problem that is militating against teaching as a profession is how committed are the teachers to the profession. There is no doubt that membership of the major professions implies a life commitment to the task. In the case of teaching, no such a life commitment to the task of teaching is apparent as in other professions. There are a number of factors that contribute to this state of affairs. One of these factors is the general notion of teaching as a ― second Choice profession with many of the teachers only committing themselves to it at a late stage when they know that they cannot change their profession. Majority of the teachers a t the initial stage of their teaching career did not expect to stay in teaching for more than a few years. They consider it as a stepping stone to other occupations. This invariably affects their commitment to the profession.

The Nature of the Final Award

The fact that there is no single unified academic award to be a member of teaching profession greatly affects it as a profession. The final academic award obtained by the majority of members of a profession can be regarded as a general indication of its intellectual standard e.g. Medicine and Law. In the teaching profession, a possession of grade II Teachers‘ Certificate, a national certificate in Education and a degree in education and a degree in education all qualified the possessor as a professional teacher. The bulk of the members of the teaching profession have the lower qualification. This affected the status of teaching as a profession in the eyes of the public



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