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Exodus of Teachers From Nigeria Looms Over UK Govt’s Policy

As the country is still grappling with the mass migration of medical personnel to Europe and North America, the same may soon be witnessed in the teaching profession, as the United Kingdom will from February next year begin to employ qualified Nigerian teachers.

However, mixed feelings are trailing the development as some critical stakeholders opine that the UK is only looking for cheap labour to employ, while others say the development should not be seen as another type of brain drain.

Specifically, teachers certificated and assessed qualified by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, will from February 1, 2023 be exempted from sitting for qualifying courses with the Teaching Regulation Agency, TRA, and thereby be given Qualified Teaching Status, QTS, in England.

QTS is England’s equivalent of Nigeria’s teaching licence issued by the TRCN.

Other countries where the UK is expecting teachers to take advantage of the new policy are Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

Reacting to the development, the Lagos State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Comrade Akintoye Hassan, said Nigerian teachers have always discharged themselves creditably well when it comes to professionalism.

“Yes, the truth is that Nigerian teachers are good and great and they deserve commendation for performing under conditions that are not conducive. It is not that Nigerians are not good, it is only that the atmosphere is simply hostile. The British government recognises this and has listed our country among those whose services are needed in that sector.

“Unfortunately, what value do we place on teachers here? I see what the UK government wants to do as a business decision, as far as I am concerned, they just want to minimize cost and get cheap labour. A few days ago, nurses in that country went on strike because of poor remuneration. When they get new intakes for the job, they would start them at lower levels and pay them less.

“For those coming from Nigeria for instance, the situation will still be seen as better than what obtains here. We must note that the situation portends danger for Nigeria. The reason is that when countries such as Britain balance up regarding workforce, they will shut their doors. It is not that our own people are not good, are they appreciated and recognised? He asked.

The Registrar of TRCN, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, in his view, said it shows the high level quality of Nigerian teachers.

“When we started these innovations in the teaching profession, we stated that our qualifying examinations would be of global standards and the UK has confirmed that with this policy. It is not only there, but even from Canada, the United States and many other countries, we get inquiries on daily basis.

“I don’t see it as a kind of brain drain. The world has become a global village and people even work for firms in Europe while living here in Nigeria. Moreover, our people will gain some insight there and which could positively rub off on our society later,” he stated.

The Convener of Enough is Enough, EIE, Project, Ms Yemi Adamolekun, noted that Nigerian teachers ought to be given better treatment than what they are experiencing now.

“Even before the British government came out with this policy, are our compatriots not going to sleep at embassies? Initially, I used to discourage people who want to leave the country for overseas to stay, but with the way things are being run, can anyone stop another person from leaving for greener pastures somewhere else?

“Even if it going to be seen as a sort of brain drain, nobody can stop those who want to take advantage of it. We must improve on the welfare issues pertaining to our teachers and professionals generally. Government should fulfil its obligations to workers,,” she noted.

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