Thursday, 19 February 2015

IS TEACHING A PROFESSION IN NIGERIA?

Not every form of activity is work, even if it brings remuneration to the person engaged in it. It is work only when it produces something of value to others. The business of teachers is to help students to achieve higher standards of knowledge, ability, skills, and moral character. If teachers do their work well, the n their work is of great value to others, not simply in a particular time, but also in the future.
Teachers are more than workers. They are also members of a profession. Their occupation renders definite and essential services to society. As a profession, however, teaching has had a long and difficult history. Its social and cultural functions have never been critically challenged, but nevertheless the public has not adequately supported teaching. Compared with other learned professions - such as medicine, law, engineering, and architecture - teaching ranks rather low. Some teachers are dissatisfied with, and even depressed about their professional standing. They feel that the work load is too heavy, and the recognition and appreciation are too limited. They think that they do not have sufficient opportunities to advance in their careers and that they have no power to control the content and form of their work. They resent prohibition against their direct involvement in policy making in educational affairs. Time and again, they ask: is teaching a profession? More adequately, what is a profession?

Occupational status depends on the ̳public valuing‘ of the competence, role and overall contribution of a particular occupation to individual and societal welfare. Goodson (2003) noted that Occupations that have attained ̳professional status‘ share the following characteristics:

  a high level of education and training based on a unique and specialized body of   
    knowledge
  a strong ideal of public service with an enforced professional code of conduct and high
    levels of respect from the public at large
   registration and regulation by the profession itself
   trusted to act in the clients‘ best interests within a framework of accountability
  a supportive working environment
  similar levels of compensation as other professions.

Premised on the above position, one could note that a profession performs essential social service. There is no doubt that teaching fully meets this criterion, for education is a social service. The service which education performs is essential to the individual child who could not be fully socialized in an industrial society if he did not spend lengthy period in full-time formal education.

Closely related to this is the view the fact that a profession is founded upon a systematic body of knowledge. This means that a profession is not merely concerned with the exercise of some skill, but a skill which has intellectual foundation. The intellectual foundation of teaching, include body of knowledge and systematic delineation of body knowledge, educational theory and pedagogy.

As noted above, a profession requires a lengthy period of academic and practical training. Training and certification are essential parts of a profession. Period long training is needed to develop specialists and technicians in any profession. There must be some specification of the nature of the training through state regulations. Teaching certainly fulfils this criterion, but the teacher‘s period of training is not as long as that required for doctors and lawyers.

The code of ethics indicates how members of the profession should behave.
Professionalization occurs when enforcement is possible and vigorous (Ankomah 2005). Nigerian teachers have an ethical code of conduct. There exist however, no licensed body to enforce the codes.


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