Opinion

Unqualified teaching force is a great setback in the country

Abraham Mabior

Teacher education is one of the important components in the national education system. In fact, a well-functioning system of education cannot be rolled out effectively without the contribution of the qualified teaching force. Much of the debate over quality teaching is still controversial at all levels of education. However, the fact is that academic abilities and pedagogical preparation for teachers are less effective, at individual and institutional levels.

As a case in point, the teacher leads in the strengthening of the knowledge base that has some wide-ranging connections to practice and theory. Apparently, this tells us that a teacher teaches all learners with flexible knowledge of the subject matter that can solve community problems. Henceforth, he or she is considered to be an expert on his or her subject matter.

Specifically, in the developing and fragile states, the essence of teacher professional development is the least component to be developed and supported by the government. In South Sudan, for instance, the teaching profession is the slightest desirable and admirable field due to multi-layered challenges. These problems facing the national education system span from low remunerations for teachers, nepotism, un-credentialed teachers, diversions of educational funds, lack of clear directions to meet the educational goals, mention them. 

On the contrary, these obvious challenges are responsible for poor educational standards in terms of graduates, teaching, research, and academic reputation. Most of the teaching force does not think of the importance of gender and racial composition in the learning domain. This implies that most of the teaching force in South Sudan practically lack knowledge of the subject matter, knowledge of learners in terms of student learning abilities and cultural diversities, and school learning environment, just to mention a few.

As some philosophers have controversially understood knowledge as the mental grasp of the facts of reality. In my view, the majority of the graduates are deficient in the knowledge base in one’s field and this has remained a huge and proven drawback that will continue to be felt in South Sudan’s education system. Henceforward, most of the learning institutions are lacking qualified manpower to deliver quality teaching across the country.

By normal observation, one would be convinced that less than ten percent of the qualified teaching force is either wrongly misplaced in the current labor market or teaching under poor working conditions. Yet, ninety percent is under-qualified, which is already a quite shocking figure to be mentioned in any functioning education system where educational benchmarks are less perceptive. Indeed, this is a national concern that needs to be given due and immediate attention if South Sudan really needs a qualified teaching force.

In order to have an effective and worthwhile education system, the Ministry of General Education and Instruction ought to recruit, employ, assign, and deploy, and fully motivate teacher’s right from primary to tertiary levels. Unlike the past, South Sudan has no well-functioning teacher colleges and institutes to output quality teachers. The current teaching and learning strategies are not meeting deep and sophisticated knowledge about learning and teaching, learners, and content.

Rationally, a common sense tells us that any class full of students and without a teacher is still an empty class. This means that teacher is the active facilitator of learning and teaching activities in the whole education system. In my view, all classrooms inhabited by south Sudanese learners and being administered by under-qualified teachers are all still empty classes.

Practically, quality teaching implies that teachers should possess knowledge of learners, understanding of teaching, and learning goals, which are the critical basis for improving the education standards. In light of the social purposes of education, knowledge of learners implies developing love and collaboration among the learners in all social and geographic contexts.

In the context of educational policies, South Sudan is not clear on content policies, pedagogical policies, resource policies, distribution, and evaluation policies. In simple terms, content policies guide teachers on what kind of content to be delivered and at what level. On the same note, a policy on resource and distribution is an important element in the education system that guides the allocations of educational resources to different locational levels. What resources are required and how they can be distributed evenly at different geographic levels.

In a similar vein, pedagogical and evaluation policies focus on teaching methodologies and assessment mechanisms. This implies that a knowledgeable teacher employs skilful teaching methods to present key ideas in powerful but meaningful teaching styles. In addition, he or she employs reliable and valid assessment tools to assess the learning domain, and the progress of the learners so that feedback on the content being delivered is attained.

Definitely, teaching is not about imparting theoretical knowledge to the learners. However, it is about initiating problem-solving and encouraging innovativeness among learners. Moreover, teaching is about reassuring the productive learning process by linking the existing familiarity of the content to the prior knowledge, assessing what students are learning as well as orienting instructions to different learning approaches.

By employing such creative teaching strategies, learners are able to learn new ideas and wide-ranging concepts as energetically and swiftly as possible, hence leading to the acquisition of quality educational standards. This already leads to knowledge construction among learners in the context of problem-solving mechanisms.

The author, Abraham Mabior Rioc, is a teacher by profession who holds dual Masters’ Degree in Education from the University of Juba and The University of Hong Kong respectively. He is electronically reachable via mabiorrioc@gmail.com

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