Sunday, 25 August 2019

MUST A TEACHER REGISTER WITH THE TEACHERS’ REGISTRATION COUNCIL OF NIGERIA?

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The Registrar of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, (TRCN) Professor Josiah Ajiboye on Wednesday the 23rd of November 2016 announced that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah have agreed to ban teachers who are not registered with the TRCN from teaching in classrooms across the federation. He also stated that the Federal government would not employ any teacher who has not been registered with the Council. The federal government has declared its intention to recruit 500,000 teachers under its teachers recruitment scheme, but according to the registrar of the TRCN, only teachers who have registered with the council and who have a certificate and license issued by the council would be employed.

THE TEACHERS REGISTRATION COUNCIL OF NIGERIA

The Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) is a statutory body established by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria Act 1993. The council is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Education. The TRCN Act declares that the purpose of the Act is to establish the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, which has the duty of determining the standards of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to become registered as teachers and for related matters. 

The TRCN is a statutory regulatory body which regulates the teaching profession and teachers at all levels of the Nigerian Education system.  A regulatory body is a statutory establishment charged with the duty of ensuring compliance with the requirement of the law. It generally has the duties of accrediting, recognising and approving persons and organisations which fall under the purview of its control.

The following are the functions of TRCN under the TRCN Act:

1.    To determine persons who are teachers for the purpose of carrying into effect the purpose of the TRCN Act. TRCN has the responsibility of determining persons who are eligible for registration under the Act. 
2.     To determine what standards of knowledge and skill are to be attained by persons seeking to become registered as teachers under the TRCN Act and raising those standards, from time to time, as circumstances may permit. TRCN states the qualifications which a person must possess before such a person can be registered as a member of the Council.
3.    The establishment and maintenance of a register of teachers and the publication from time to time of the lists of those persons.
4.    Regulating and controlling the teaching profession in all its aspects and ramifications. This function is a very broad one and it vests in the TRCN wide powers to regulate the teaching profession generally. The TRCN in exercising its powers and in carrying out its duties under this clause can make regulations restricting persons who have not attained the specified qualification from teaching or acting as teachers, it can also refuse to register persons who have not obtained the requisite qualification.
5.    Classifying from time to time members of the teaching profession according to their level of training and qualification.
6.     Performing through the Teachers Registration Council established under the Act the functions conferred on it by the TRCN Act.

PERSONS ENTITLED TO BE REGISTERED WITH THE TRCN

A person who meets the following requirements is eligible for registration with the Council:

1.    A person who has passed a qualifying examination accepted by the council and who has also completed the practical teaching prescribed by the council. Where the person is not a Nigerian and he obtained his qualification outside Nigeria, then it must be one which is recognised by the council and he must be a person entitled to practise in the country where the qualification was obtained. He must also satisfy the Council that he has sufficient practical experience as a teacher. A Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE) or a post graduate Diploma in Education from an accredited institution is usually considered sufficient qualification.
2.     A person of good character;
3.     A person who has attained the age of 21 years; and
4.    A person who has not been convicted in Nigeria or elsewhere of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty.

IS REGISTRATION WITH THE COUNCIL MANDATORY?

Registration with the council is mandatory. 

Section 17(2) of the TRCN Act provides that If any person who is not a registered member of the profession practices as a registered member of the profession or if such a person in expectation of reward, takes or uses any name, title, addition or description implying that he is in practice as a registered member of the profession, then such a person shall be guilty of an offence.

The law leaves no one in doubt as to what it means for an unregistered person to practice as a registered teacher. Section 12 of the Act states that a person shall be deemed to practice as a registered teacher if, in consideration of remuneration received or to be received, and whether by himself or in partnership with any other person he engages himself in teaching or holds himself out to the public as a teacher; or if he renders any other service which may by regulations made by the Council with the approval of the Minister be designated as service constituting teaching.

The implication of section 12 of the Act is that any person who not being registered with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria and who for the purpose of remuneration teaches or holds himself out to the public as a teacher, or describes himself as such is guilty of an offence. Upon conviction, the person could be fined not more than N5,000.00 (five thousand Naira) or the person could be sentenced to not more than two years imprisonment. Or the punishment could be both a fine and imprisonment.

Corporate bodies are not spared under the law. Connivance or neglect of organisations or persons occupying the positions of director, secretary or manager, or any officer of the body corporate which results in the unauthorised practice by persons who are not registered teachers can also expose such officers and organisations to the punishment stated above for the unauthorised practice of the teaching profession. This means that schools, owners of schools and administrators or officers of schools who have unregistered teachers in their employment run a risk of prosecution and conviction. 

Teachers at all levels; primary schools, secondary schools and higher institutions should endeavour to register with the council. Institutions that have unregistered teachers in their employment should also encourage such teachers to register with the council. 

Section 1(1)(c) gives the council wide powers. It authorises the council to regulate and control the teaching profession in all its aspects and ramifications. This power extends to prohibiting persons who are not registered with the council from practising the profession, it extends to a right to refuse to hire or employ persons who are not registered with the council.

If the federal government acting in concert with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria bars unregistered teachers from teaching and refuses to employ unregistered teachers, then it is acting very much within the confines and specification of the law. Rather than oppose this policy which is deeply rooted in the law, it is best to comply with the requirement of the law by registering with the council. 

Registration with the council is not burdensome and it holds great potential for our educational sector as registration would help sanitise the teaching profession by ensuring that only persons who are qualified to teach would do so. The mandatory continuing education which is organised by the council would also further ensure that the teachers are constantly developing and equipping themselves to meet up with the ever changing standard of excellence.

The procedure for registration with the council is simple.  A registration fee would be paid through Remita, then a RRR number is generated online, and payment is made online or in any of the banks of choice. The payment would be in favour of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria; state the purpose of the payment (payment for registration). The name of the person registering should be clearly indicated on the payment teller (it is preferable that the name is written as it appears on the person’s qualifying certificates).

Upon completion of the payment, the teller or evidence of payment is taken to any of TRCN office and another receipt would be issued which would be used to process registration at the council.  The person registering would be required to present evidence of qualification for registration i.e copies of degrees or NCE certificates. 

For further information on the amount payable for registration and the procedure for registration, please visit the council’s website : www.trcn.gov.ng/manualregistration.html

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