The education system in Nigeria has suffered a lot of setback in recent times. Our schools are poorly equipped with the necessary facilities to aid effective teaching and learning. The situation has greatly degenerated and one of the major problems that haunt education in Nigeria, is the deficit of teachers in public schools. A lot of teachers in these public schools are overworked, some teachers taking up to six to seven arms of a particular class. This way, fatigue is inevitable and teachers’ effectiveness is extremely low. The students, irrespective of the learning condition, get to write 0’level exams with students in private schools. These are the future leaders of the country and if their educational background is defective at the secondary school stage, what hope do we have? The UNESCO recommended teacher to student ratio is 1:26, but in a lot of public schools in the country, we have a teacher student ratio of 1:364 in a subject like computer education/ICT. These and more, are factors that brought about the Volunteer Teachers Program as an intervention to augment the teacher deficit in public schools in Nigeria.
The Volunteer Teachers Program, is a project put together by two non-governmental organization, Holyhill Relief Foundation and Joint Initiative for Development. It is designed to augment the deficit of teachers in public schools in Nigeria, by putting together a platform that allow individuals who are seasoned professionals in their various fields to volunteer to teach for a minimum of one hour a week in a public secondary school. These volunteer teachers are gainfully employed individuals from corporate Nigeria. A lot of them teach several times a week-without any form of incentive or allowance- ensuring that they impart knowledge to the young ones and also playing their part in the development of education in Nigeria.
The program is appropriately and adequately monitored to ensure that the volunteer teacher whom the organizations have trained on volunteering, classroom management, code of conduct for teachers etc, abide by them. There is a proper monitoring and evaluating system set in place to ensure that the code of conduct set by the school board is complied with and the teachers are committed to the program.
The program is in its pilot phase. It was put to test in Model Secondary School, Maitama, Abuja for a term and the results have been mind-blowing. The ratio of teacher to students have enormously reduced and teachers have become more effective. A subject like Chemistry that had a teacher student ratio of 1:147, has reduced to about 1: 97 . Computer Education/ICT that had a teacher, student ratio of 1:364, now has a ratio of 1: 91. These are just a few examples of the impact the program has had in the school in just a space of two months.
Pursuant to the impact of the program so far in our model school, we hope to scale up the program and expand to more schools within the country that are desperately in need of this kind of humanitarian service, especially in the rural areas.
We believe that if we want to see change, we have to take the first step in that direction. It’s time to act; no more folding of arms and complaining. If we want a better Nigeria for the next generation, we must do what we can to groom the future leaders of this country. You can contribute your quota in ensuring that the future of a child is guaranteed.
Individuals who are passionate about changing the educational sector in Nigeria and who want to give back to the society by volunteering their time to teach in public schools or individuals and organization that want to be a part of the program are welcome.