ACHIEVING EQUITABLE AND INCLUSIVE QUALITY OF EDUCATION: THE ROLE OF TEACHERS (Part 2)

Teacher education is the major instrument for achieving equitable and inclusive quality education in any nation. It is the hub of education, and whatever they receive will definitely be replicated in the entire education system.
First, it is important to consider how it might be possible for teachers to develop new ways of believing that:
All children are worth educating
All children can learn
They have the capacity to make a difference in children’s lives
Such work is their responsibility and not only for specialists.
They need to attain higher level of training
The change begins with a positive attitude.
Teacher education should include the following:
1. Training on educational technology: to achieve equitable and inclusive quality education, teachers must be trained in the use of both old and modern teaching machines such as audio-visual or multisensory aid. Nigeria seems to be lagging behind in the use of sophisticated learning aid. New and relevant technology is to be adopted at all levels of learning and not subject to just higher institutions of learning.
2. Diversity of an inclusive classroom: not only should teachers be trained to appreciate diversity of their students, but they should also be exposed to learning in an inclusive classroom so they can accommodate and tolerate unfolding events in inclusive classrooms. This means people with disabilities should also be involved in teacher education.
3. Use of learner-centered pedagogies: teachers should be trained on pedagogies that yield high learning achievement.
4. Upgrading Colleges of Education: there are colleges of medicine, technology-and students are regarded as professionals upon graduation. The colleges of education should be upgraded as such –with curriculum intentional about equitable and inclusive education. Faculties of education can be changed to colleges as it will allow for courses more related to ‘education’. Faculties in the universities have students take courses from other departments that in no way contribute to making good teachers. Teachers should be trained to be professionals and should see themselves as such. Employing professionals/graduates of various fields who have not been trained to teach is wrong.
For a moment, imagine being on a long queue waiting to receive a service (the bank for example) say for two hours and you are still far behind. Then this man with his ‘agbada’ appears from nowhere and goes all the way to the front and is attended to. You feel cheated, but whatever feeling may be building up inside of you is probably not as deadly as that of a child denied access to equitable and inclusive education. It even goes beyond the feeling. At that moment, you want to do something, say something, and show that you are also important. Some children grow up this way with feelings of hatred bottled up in their minds and they sure ‘do and show’ something. Statistics are available to show that crime rates are higher in nations where education is poor. These children give back to society what is put in them. Everyone should probably watch the movie ‘The Hate U Give’. To achieve equitable and inclusive quality of education, WE NEED QUALIFIED TEACHERS.

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