PERCEPTION OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION AMONG EDUCATION STUDENTS IN NIGE…

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY        

Education is an important instrument for enhancing national development, such development can be seen in the positive roles education plays in the socio-cultural, political, economic and human aspects of nation building. Education is the key to participating in the highly competitive economy of the 21st century. It fosters scientific and technological advancement which are the modern day indices for national development. The term education is got from the Greek word “educare” which means to “lead out”. Therefore, education can be defined as the total process of human learning by which knowledge is imparted, faculties trained and skills developed (Urevbu, 1991). Nigeria is not left out of the realization of this paramount role of education. As stated in the National Policy on Education (2004), “education shall be highly rated in the national development plans because it is the most intellectual and social outlook of any society that has to be preceded by educational revolution; efforts shall be made to relate education to overall community needs”. As important as education is to personal and national development, its effect can only be felt if the citizens acquire skills and knowledge that would enable them to contribute their quota to their immediate family and the society at large. For education to serve its purpose, teachers have a role to play in the implementation of the objectives and goals. No educational programme can be effectively implemented and achieved without teachers.

Education is conceived as a powerful agency which is instrumental in bringing about the desired changes in the social and cultural life of a nation (Egwu, 2015), and the quality of a nation depends upon the quality of its citizens (Parvez and Shakir, 2013) on one hand, the quality of education is directly related to the quality of teaching and learning (Mkumbo, 2012) on the other hand. The quality of the citizens depends upon the quality of education system and the quality of education depends upon the combined efforts of planners, educationists, and administration (Parvez and Shakir, 2013). However, the most significant factor is the quality of the teachers. It is in the schools, colleges, and universities that the development of the attitudes and dispositions necessary for the progressive life in a society takes place (Parvez and Shakir, 2013).

Teaching is a very respectable profession despite this fact not even then not all the teachers who are in this profession like it. Many prospective teachers join this profession not by choice but by chance or due to other reasons. They are disinterested towards the teaching profession. They just take the course as second choice, if they fail to obtain admission to first choices such science or any other courses according to their liking and they are generally dissatisfied throughout the training period (Mkumbo, 2012; Parvez and Shakir, 2013). Parents seeing that the teaching profession is not afforded any respect accompanied by a poor salary, do not advice their children to go into it despite the fact that they are the nation builders. Teachers are not properly paid; salary is meager compared to other professions. This demoralizes would be teachers resulting in a display of negative attitudes towards the profession (Okemakinde, 2013). Looking on what has been observed by (Mkumbo, 2012; Parvez and Shakir, 2013; Okemakinde, 2013), it seems that majority of the teachers join teaching profession not because they like it but because they lack qualifications to join other professions of their liking and choice.

There have been some attempts to explain students’ negative attitudes towards the teaching profession. For example, a report by Smith a leader of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) (in BBC News 1999) indicated that secondary school learners believe that teaching offers too much stress and too little pay. Unlike other professions such as medicine, law, and engineering the teaching profession lacks status and glamour and these the researchers are implicated as the major deterrents for students not to choose the teaching as a profession (Austin, 2008; Gough, 1990; Kyriacou and Coulthard, 2000; Sumsion, 2000). For instance, the study done by (Mutshaeni et al., 2015) on high school students’ attitudes towards the teaching profession revealed that poor working conditions, lack of resources, the salary package (low wages) that did not correlate with the workload contributed to their attitudes towards the teaching profession. In addition to that, Egwu (2015) on her study entitled attitude of students towards teaching profession in Nigeria: Implications for Education Development showed that students had negative attitude towards the teaching profession because teaching was a difficult task, and teachers were not well paid compared to other professions. In Tanzania, the choice of profession starts when students are at secondary education. At this level, students are given opportunities to choose professions they are interested. Therefore, this study focuses on the Perception of the teaching profession among education students in Nigeria higher learning institutions, a case study of Olabisi Onabanjo University. 

1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

There have been controversies over the attitude of student teachers towards teaching practice and the effectiveness of the teaching practice programme in Nigeria. Many education stakeholders in Nigeria believe that the poor performance of students in external examinations like West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO) and University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) is linked with teachers’ ineffectiveness among other variables. The general believe by many Nigerians is that students are not interested in teaching profession.

The fate of teachers in Nigeria today as perceived by the society and the government in particular also affects the education students’ perception and attitude toward the teaching profession. An educated populace is of great importance to every nation, increased awareness, economic growth and technological advancement are made possible through education and the efforts of the teacher. A teacher requires good teaching conditions and conducive environment to perform and function effectively. The government in the National Policy on Education appears to be making conscious effort towards improved working conditions and environment for teachers; the efforts are however thwarted by people charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the policies are effectively implemented.

The government may have contributed to some of the problems the teaching profession faces today. The problems of irregular payment of salaries, under funding of schools, poor teaching conditions among others may be responsible for the way, teaching profession is perceived by students, parents and the society.

Iniobong (2008) opined that the future of any nation depends on the quality of teachers. The maxim that no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers and that no nation can rise above the level of its teaching staff shows the role of the teacher and teacher education programmes in national development.

With the introduction of 9-3-4 educational system in Nigeria, only well trained teachers can successfully translate the objectives of the system to reality. Education is the key to national development and only teachers hold the key and can turn it to national development (Lassa, 1996). In order to acquire practical professional experience to meet up with the above task, the trainee teachers are sent on teaching practice. This enable the prospective teachers to be well prepared for the assumption of duty as professionally, motivated, conscientious and efficient classroom teacher who will encourage the spirit of inquiry, creativity and intellectual development among the beneficiaries of educational system. These problems necessitates the need to carry out a study on the Perception of the teaching profession among education students in Nigeria higher learning institutions, a case study of Olabisi Onabanjo University. 

1.3     OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY  

The general objective of this study is to examine the Perception of the teaching profession among education students in Nigeria higher learning institutions, a case study of Olabisi Onabanjo University. The specific objectives include the following:

1.     To find out the attitude of education students of Olabisi Onabanjo University towards teaching profession.

2.     To ascertain the perception of education students of Olabisi Onabanjo University towards the challenges of teaching profession.

3.     To examine the perception of education students of Olabisi Onabanjo University towards the prospect of teaching profession.

4.     To determine the impact of parents on the perception of education students of Olabisi Onabanjo University towards teaching profession.

5.     To investigate the influence of environmental factors on the perception of education students of Olabisi Onabanjo University towards teaching profession.


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