Following mass migration of Nigerian medical personnel to Europe and North America, reports emerged over the weekend that the United Kingdom is set to begin employment of qualified Nigerian teachers from February next year.
The UK government said teachers certificated and assessed qualified by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, will from February 1, 2023, be exempted from sitting for qualifying courses with the Teaching Regulation Agency, TRA, and thereby be given Qualified Teaching Status, QTS, in England.
QTS is England’s equivalent of Nigeria’s teaching licence issued by the TRCN.
Currently, 350,000 Nigerian teachers are qualified for such employment from a pool of 1.5 million.
The move by UK is not only limited to Nigeria, the UK plans to employ teachers from Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.
The Nigerian Union of Teachers has reacted to the report, saying the UK is looking for cheap labour.
Lagos State Chairman of NUT, Akintoye Hassan, said Nigerian teachers have always discharged themselves with professionalism.
“Yes, the truth is that Nigerian teachers are good and great and they deserve commendation for performing under conditions that are not conducive. It is not that Nigerians are not good, the atmosphere is simply hostile.
“The British Government recognizes this and has listed our country among those whose services are needed in that sector.
“Unfortunately, what value do we place on teachers here? I see what the UK government wants to do as a business decision, as far as I am concerned, they just want to minimize cost and get cheap labour.
“Few days ago, nurses in that country went on strike because of poor remuneration. When they get new intakes for the job, they will start them at lower levels and pay them less.
“For those coming from Nigeria for instance, the situation will still be seen as better than what obtains here. We must note that the situation portends danger for Nigeria.
“The reason is that when countries such as Britain balance up regarding workforce, they will shut their doors. It is not that our own people are not good, are they appreciated and recognised?