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Teachers training through distance education: the Nigerian experience

Mohammed, A. M.


One of the most critical problems facing the development of education in Africa is an acute shortage of qualified teachers. Faced with an ever increasing demand for education and the failure of governments to supply adequate number of qualified teachers through conventional teacher training colleges due to lack of resources, the use of Distance Education for teacher training becomes a viable option for consideration.

The experience of Nigeria in using Distance Education to address the problems of teacher shortage and to provide teacher professional support through continuous professional development is the focus of this paper.

The Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme introduced in Nigeria in 1976, led to an unprecedented explosion in primary school enrolment and a high demand for qualified teachers, of which there already was an acute shortage. As a short-term solution, the government recruited a large number of untrained teachers for the school system and launched an emergency teacher-training programme to produce teachers. These two measures had implications for quality, especially as the crash courses for post-primary school leavers were limited to one or two years. Government felt the need for a well-articulated and effective in-service training programme that would continue to provide professional support for these categories of teachers, and indeed, all teachers in the education system. The National Teachers’ Institute, Kaduna was subsequently established with the mandate to provide courses for the development, upgrading and certification of teachers using Distance Education Techniques.

The paper examines the activities of the National Teachers’ Institute, Kaduna, to determine the extent to which it was able to address the problem of teacher shortage in the country, and provide on-the-job professional support for teachers and school heads. The paper discusses the strategies adopted by the Institute, especially in the face of limited opportunities for the use of information and communication technologies, and examines the issue of the quality of programmes offered. It concludes with highlights of innovative steps adopted and some of the successes of the Institute.


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Title of Paper: Teachers training through distance education: the Nigerian experience
Conference Name: All-Africa Ministers' Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education: Transforming Education for a New Africa: Realising the Potential of Open Learning and Distance Education
Conference Date: 2004-02-01
Conference Location: Cape Town International Convention Center
Published as Proceedings: no

Document Type:Conference Paper (Not Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Teaching and Learning
Keywords:Teacher Training, Distance Education, Nigeria, Teacher Qualifications, Programmes

File Size:70 KB
Date Added:17 August 2007

Mohammed, A. M. (2004). Teachers training through distance education: the Nigerian experience Presented at the All-Africa Ministers' Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education Conference, Cape Town, 1-4 February.