“70.5% of teachers in rural communities perceive their teaching jobs to be of low value and worth, leading to a high rate of teacher absenteeism that currently stands at 20% in government primary schools.” Orode Uduaghan stated in a Facebook post that she shared her thoughts on the state of education in Nigeria’s rural communities.
She went on to explain that while school renovations were a great way to support education, they were not enough to get children interested in education. For this to happen, more teachers needed to fall in love with the teaching profession, and in her write-up, Orode Uduaghan suggested three ways that this could happen.
JOB SATISFACTION FOR TEACHERS
Firstly, she established that more advocacy needed to be done for the creation and promotion of the necessary legal frameworks that would ensure an increase in job satisfaction and boost the morale of teachers in rural communities, particularly the riverine areas. These policies would ensure that teachers were upskilled, properly trained, and remunerated; also working conditions would be improved. Teacher empowerment programs would also exist alongside reward programs for constant attendance which would reduce teacher absenteeism by 60% in 24 months.
ADEQUATE TEACHER-STUDENT RATIO IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Secondly, she suggested the introduction and advocacy of more policies that would ensure an adequate teacher-student ratio in public schools. This would help reduce the possibility of teacher fatigue and unproductive student participation.
BETTER SCHOOL SYSTEMS & LEARNING PROGRAMS
Thirdly, she advocated for better school systems. She stated that the existence of better learning platforms would encourage students to re-enroll in tailored learning programs and give room for children whose education has been disrupted in one way or another. “I strongly believe these structures will persuade them to continue without the embarrassment of being left behind and without interrupting the ongoing school system. These programs can and will be designed and promoted by supporting private sector partners for sustainability,” she said.
Advocating the need to improve all aspects of the schools, from infrastructure to management systems through the introduction of technology, she stated that anyone who truly desired to change the mindset of the children and young adults needed to first upgrade the medium through which information was passed to them.
She emphasized the role of Technology in the evolution of the education sector in rural areas, saying, “Technology cannot be ignored no matter how little. Every child must get the opportunity to thrive in an environment that expands their minds and awakens their imagination. People believe that introducing technology to schools in most rural communities is impossible but I disagree. Technology comes in many forms and can be introduced as a learning tool in many different ways. I am and will always be an advocate for creating environments that give children more than enough room to grow beyond the norm.
Orode Uduaghan has constantly advocated for improved education, especially in rural areas. She has also put in the work through positions she has held. Currently, she is the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Dreams From The Slum, and a non/executive Director of Mastercare International. She is a firm believer in collaboration for success as she shared in her write-up “I am certain that with the right strategy (policies, collaborations, partnerships, and implementation plan) we can and will improve the lives of our children.”