Nigeria: Address quality education at home first, not by sending teachers abroad

Liberia’s request for Nigerian teachers under the Technical Assistance Corps agreement has been met with condemnation of the Nigerian authorities by education unions, arguing that Nigeria itself is struggling to deliver quality education.

Nigerian education unions have highlighted their country’s shortage of teachers and struggle to ensure quality education. The reaction was prompted by a request for over 6,000 teachers from the newly inaugurated President of Liberia, George Weah, during a courtesy visit to Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari. Weah said the issues inherited by his government could only be tackled with assistance from countries like Nigeria.

The Liberian president identified youth unemployment and the need to revive the education, agriculture, mining and health sectors as some of the urgent problems facing his country. He told his Nigerian counterpart that “your sustained technical assistance for capacity building in these sectors is most welcome.

More specifically, under the Bilateral Teacher Exchange programme, we are seeking 6,000 more teachers to make up for the shortage of good teachers in our educational system.”

NUT: Address issues at home

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) insisted that “the country does not have enough teachers to go around and the union has still not come to an agreement with the government over the issue of salaries”.

In fact, Nigeria still needs to find a solution concerning 25,000 teachers in Kaduna, in North-West Nigeria, who were fired because they could not pass tests the government forced them to take, said Kalaama Toinpre, Chairman of the Bayelsa State NUT branch. 

The Nigerian government should employ quality teachers in schools without such teachers, take adequate care of its teachers, and tackle the myriad of problems undermining the education sector, instead of sending Nigerian teachers work abroad, he added.

“Our schools are suffering; even some subjects do not have teachers. The country cannot take adequate care of its teachers and they are talking about sending them abroad to teach,” he said.

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