It is important to talk about the solution to the problem of unqualified teachers because it has always appeared in discussions on causes of educational bad performances. Whenever a student fails to perform well in his education, unqualified teachers will always be mentioned as a cause but hardly is any solution to the problem discussed. In fact, the handiest approach to the problem has always been to sack any identified nonperforming teacher; but that is still not considered as an approach to provide a lasting solution to the problem of unqualified teachers either in a school or a country as a whole. Mona Holmqvist observed that Lack of qualified teachers is a global challenge for future knowledge (2008), which means it is important to resolve it.
Who is an unqualified teacher?
There are two categories of teachers regarded as unqualified. However, we should equally note that the idea of unqualified teacher may differ in different countries.
- A teacher who does not have the educational certification (this is like Qualified Teacher Status in England) to show that he or she has been trained to teach a subject may be considered unqualified. This teacher may be knowledgeable in certain field and have the ability to teach it well but is not trusted because he or she is not certified by an authorized institution to teach. Therefore, to say that a teacher is unqualified may sometimes not be a matter of performance. This is why the matter is sometimes debated; and some school employers may prefer to employ the person who proves capable of producing the desired results even if he or she is not certified at the moment. The certificate can be acquired with time.
- We can also say that an unqualified teacher is one who, though is a certified teacher, does not have a good knowledge of the subject to be taught or the skill to make learners understand what they are taught. This can result from lack of seriousness of the teacher during training or lack of constant updating of one’s knowledge. It can also be a ripple effect of bad teaching during the teacher’s training. This is the definition we will work with in this discussion.
How do unqualified teachers come about?
Is it always the making of the teachers to be unqualified? This is a difficult question. Some of the teachers tagged unqualified may not see themselves as such, or they may blame their predicament on their trainers. Here are a few pointers briefly explained.
Desperate search for employment
This is common in developing nations where people do not work from their passion but from desire to meet financial needs. A person’s interest may be in something different, but because he is not employed in that area, he goes on to take what is available which may be teaching. Therefore, some teachers are not interested in teaching, but in the money they get from it. With this condition, they are likely to do only as much as will keep them on the job. A nation where people cannot get employment in areas of their interest will always grapple with this kind of problems.
Corruption can be a way for the proliferation of unqualified teachers. When employers are not sincere, they will likely employ people who are willing to give them money, or based on filial relationship. In this situation, it will not matter whether or not the employee is good for the job. A community where corruption and nepotism is practiced will hardly prevent production or employment of unqualified teachers.
Faulty priority in teacher employment
When the priority of an employer is faulty, unqualified teachers will be employed. This can happen were issues of class of degree, gender, religion, tribe etc. take the better part of the requirement for employing a teacher instead of the performance of the person. Sometimes, employers want to ensure that male and female are selected. There may be more qualified teachers in one gender, but because the employer wants to ensure that the two genders are represented, he or she will take a person that may not be qualified instead.
How to solve the problem of unqualified teachers
We have looked at how unqualified teachers are produced. What needs to be done is to resolve the same issues.
Avoid corruption in employment processes
Corruption may not be totally eradicated where it exists; however, those who are involved in taking money from job seekers in other to get them teaching jobs should be punished. This will curtail the infiltration of the teaching profession with unqualified teachers.
This is also a problem prevalent in places where jobs are hard to get; so, those in places of authority will prefer to employ their relatives and friends. Their qualification for the job will not be emphasized. This should be avoided, and the problem of unqualified teachers will be resolved.
De-emphasize gender representation or similar matters in selecting quality teachers
Whenever teachers are to be employed, qualification should be the emphasis not gender, region, or any such form of priority. Sometimes people of a community where a school is situated may be considered for employment without minding their teaching qualification. This is inadequate if the problem of unqualified teachers must be solved.
Let there be jobs for those who do not wish to become teachers
If every person can get the job he or she likes, people will not be forced to take the teaching job in which they are not interested. Their lack of interest affects their performance, thereby making them unqualified in terms of having the teaching skill and regularly updating themselves.
Candidates admitted into teacher training institutions should show evidence of good performance and interest in teaching
There should be rigorous screening exercises when students are to be registered for teacher training. Sometimes students don’t get admission to study the course of their choices. They are forced to accept a course in education. In such case, the student is not likely to perform well in the field. Therefore, students should be admitted based on their interests to become teachers.
Having looked at how unqualified teachers are produced, it is important to provide help for them. Some of them are victims of circumstances and would want to do better. We should equally know that the way to stop the production of unqualified teachers is stop production of unqualified teachers. This means that unqualified teachers will always reproduce their kinds. Teacher training institutions should admit only people with good performance. If the identified problems are resolved, certainly the problem of unqualified teachers will no longer be a problem in educational performance.