The last two years have been incredibly difficult for Education and teachers have no doubt be caught in the midst. The COVID-19 pandemic created a This years theme: Teachers at the heart of education recovery – rightly recognises the role of teachers in attaining the levels of education we desire.
SDG 4 – Inclusive and equitable quality education is therefore hinged on having enough teachers of the right quality evenly spread around the world. Globally, there is a current shortage of 68 million teachers and 277,537 in Nigeria. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the race the fill the gap. For most of 2020, schools were shut down with only some being able to access online learning.
In the last year, teachers have had to transmutate learning new skills while being concerned about their own safety, as well as dealing with grief, as the pandemic ranged on. Through these, many teachers continued to deliver learning to their students, many away from school, some having a blended experience.
In the midst of this however, many students were completely cut off from learning having no infrastructure to support remote learning. In Nigeria for example, research shows that students in private schools in urban areas where the ones most likely to be accessing remote learning while students in public schools fared considerable worse. This pattern agrees with the data that shows that family socio-economic status correlates with availability of digital devices in the home. Challenges of access include the high cost of internet, the low quality of internet connectivity in remote areas and the poor power supply. Some teachers also noted that they didn’t have the skills to develop and implement e-learning. However, they have the ability to acquire those skills quickly with the right support.
If teachers will support recovery, we world must focus investment on teacher professional development and the provision of supportive infrastructure to support remote learning in particular. we must also provide improved psychosocial support for teachers to help them cope with the stress of the changing and highly demanding teaching environment.
On world teacher’s day, we must celebrate the great women and men who selflessly give their time and energy to ensure young people are prepared for the future, even when that future is unpredictable. Teachers maintain a sense of normalcy and security in unstable times. Teachers are in deed the heart of recovery. Happy teacher’s day.
Read the UNESCO factsheet