Quality Education in Nigeria : Holding Teachers Accountable

The Teacher Registration of Nigeria (TRCN) estimates that there are about 3 million teachers in Nigeria from primary to tertiary schools, in both the private and public sectors. It has also stated that so far only about 1.3 million of these teachers have registered with the TRCN therefore enabling the TRCN to exercise its disciplinary jurisdiction over them.

Because of the large numbers of teachers in Nigeria, TRCN’s limited funds and staff, and the high concentration of teachers in villages and very remote areas, the TRCN relies on parents, guardians, students and headteachers and other members of the public to report incidents of teacher misconduct to the Teacher Investigating Panel (TIP). The TIP is in all 36 States of the Federation, plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The TIP is a body set up to investigate cases where it is alleged that a teacher has misbehaved in his/her professional capacity. The Teachers’ Code of Conduct published by the TRCN, which every teacher and every school ought to have and publicise, lists the professional standards a teacher should adhere to, failing which he/she may be held liable.

The TIP has five members, one of whom is a legal practitioner but its quorum is three. The TIP hears a case and determines if it should go before the Teachers’ Disciplinary Committee (TDC), located in Abuja. The TDC hears and determines cases referred to it by the TIPs and has the power to sanction. Appeals against its decisions are made to the Court of Appeal, which means it exercises the jurisdiction of a High Court.

Several acts or omissions that are adjudged to be misconduct by the TRCN include but are not limited to:
– Forgery of official documents
– Fighting within school premises
– Assaulting a student or a fellow teacher
– Extortion from students
– Irregular or unauthorised awarding of marks
– Employing unqualified teachers,
– Teaching with non-qualifying or unrecognised certificate
– Teaching without registration with TRCN

Several disciplinary actions and sanctions may be made against such offenders by the Teachers’ Disciplinary Committee. They include:
– Advice or reprimand
– Suspending the offender’s registration for months
– Cancelling the offender’s registration
– Deleting the name of the offender either temporarily or permanently from the Teachers’ Register
– Criminal prosecution in the courts in cases where the offence is criminal in nature could
* Charge in court for teachers who practise without prior registration.

The TRCN Act provides penalty of a fine and/or imprisonment for heads of educational institutions who fail to report misconduct by teachers to the TIPs.

Discipline in the teaching profession is a sine qua non for securing the future generation. Let us work towards assisting the TRCN in fulfilling its responsibilities.

For further enquiries visit TRCN

Catherine Angai, Legal Officer, Riplington & Associates

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