In the last 5 years, a special project to improve education quality was established in Nigeria following World Bank efforts to raise teaching and learning outcomes in 2013. The teacher CPD project was initiated to develop teachers’ skills and ultimately enhance learners’ learning experience. After the first delivery in my alma mater which was concluded with a resounding positive feedback and an overall assessment of its wider need, it was decided that the provision evolve into an annual project across responsive parts of Nigeria.
The project has since led to a mini project after collaboration with a North Central Nigerian based NGO, Fantsuam Foundation that highlighted the plight of internally displaced teachers within Kaduna state. The conception of CPD4IDT – Continuing Professional Development for Internally Displaced Teachers was a response to such teachers who, not only had been displaced by insurgency in the far North East and cattle herdsmen conflict but sought safety in communities where they struggled to continue in their roles as teachers. Due to the trauma experienced, a selected number of teachers were supported from 9 communities, in a sensitively planned CPD workshop and a psycho-social session, co-organised by Fantsuam Foundation executives and myself.
The project, verified by Voice of America Ghanaian correspondent, was an execution of a proposal posted on Openideo challenge in May 2015, an open innovation platform established to solve big challenges for social good. With an active partnership between FF CEO, John Dada and myself, there was an urgent need to address predictable unrest, which materialised between December 2016 and February 2017, the latest UK based workshop designed to identify and prevent radicalism and extremism. It was customised to meet local needs and was delivered under a new theme called Hate Speech Prevention on 19th October 2016 with an attendance of 20 teachers in Kaura, Kaduna State, Nigeria. More of such skill transfer exercises are anticipated in the nearest future.
In February 2017, the number of trained teachers increased to a peak of 2500 following a 3-day session at Chrisland Schools, Ikeja, Lagos, where 4 modules including an E-learning and Improving Mathematics Pedagogy modules were delivered to both primary and secondary school teachers. In May 2016, Royal Crown School, Lagos teachers also enjoyed a session on modern elements of pedagogy. The relevance of all sessions was acknowledged in the feedback with demand for more sessions in the future. Two ‘unity’ schools – schools established by the Federal Government of Nigeria, each arranged two sessions for their teachers. While over 80 teachers were in attendance in Federal Government Girls’ College, Akure, about 30 teachers participated in Federal Government College, Idoani. These two events were facilitated by the ex-principal of Kings College, Lagos, Otunba Dele Olapeju, a strong advocate of teacher CPD and skills transfer. It is noteworthy that these school leaders have embraced technology for the purpose of teaching and learning, though concerns exist around individual teacher confidence in the effective utilisation of ICT systems to boost learning. Challenges around regular power supply are minimised with the instalment of solar powered generators. Teacher enthusiasm was infectious and participation was strong in the embracing of new teaching methodologies, concepts and implementation of classroom based education policies.
Shortly after these sessions, I was interviewed by Orange FM 94.5, Akure, Nigeria on the institutionalisation of CPD into the Nigeria Education system. Click here for an mp3 record of the interview.
An open invitation for a free seminar was posted on social media to take place at a modest venue in Ikeja, Lagos capital, to which over 70 teachers responded. It was a very interactive session where both primary and secondary teachers shared existing practice, were exposed to and embraced new strategies and enthusiastically networked among one another. A competition to showcase UKAPES, was presented to participants in which teachers are expected to send a picture reflecting a typical classroom experience with learners. All entries are to be uploaded onto an online gallery. Finally, a small sized primary school located outside the capital, Ikeja had the opportunity of a CPD session on Feedback and Target Setting.
The teacher CPD project has awakened an interest in teacher development in the Lagos area, an objective which was at the heart of its conception. Education consultants have emerged to organise the sharing of good practice, mini conferences, exhibitions and seminars. Cross engagements with a cluster of schools have triggered quality in provision and enabled teachers to gain latest skills to the overall benefit of learners. Funds are actively generated and earmarked towards teacher professional development in raising school profile and more importantly raising outcomes for learners. Regrettably, government schools are excluded from these new developments due to lengthy protocols in seeking approval prior to the delivery of the sessions. Emerging modules to support teacher development include e-learning, school safety, sex education, safeguarding and curriculum based modules.
As the project progresses into its 5th year, main challenges exist that revolve around measuring its effectiveness through teacher observation, learner observation, increased learner participation and improved statistics in achievement and success. Limited resources and time do not permit for classroom observation to gauge the implementation of taught skills. While this is the case, identified teachers of good practice are expected to be at the fore-front of utilising skills, mobilising teachers and management staff to establish quality systems with a view to raising sound and quality pedagogy. It is my objective that such teachers are appointed as Education Quality Officers, an equivalent of UK improvement/advanced practitioners and given teaching hour remission in order to effectively fulfil their role.
Expansion into other parts of Nigeria is the next step in ensuring that the message of CPD is indiscriminately spread to key towns in the regional areas. I am seeking partnership with key stakeholders such as funding organisations to sponsor such professional development events and experienced education practitioners to support its delivery through the transfer of their expertise.
I wish to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to the following organisations in promoting the project through social media and in kind: Dadamac, Planet Earth Institute, UKtda, Keywords English, Icope Training and Consultancy. Other stakeholders include individuals who are using their resources towards Africa’s development such as Joanna Norton, Julliet Makhapilla, Isatu Bangura, Martin Macedo and John Ufot.