…the need for sustainability and a possible institutionalization .
On Friday, 8th November, 2019, at the prestigious Ibom Le Meridien Hotel & Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, the 12th edition of the Inoyo Toro Foundation’s Teachers Award event, was held.
It was discovered during a brief check that this event has gradually become an annual ritual of sort; much anticipated by those in the teaching profession across Akwa Ibom state. It was revealed that mounting the organizers’ rostrum has over the years, remained the dreams and desires of teachers; not only for the financial reward they receive in the process, but the fulfilling joy of being honoured and rewarded here on earth.
This singular gesture by a private citizen under the aegis of Inoyo Toro Foundation needs not only be applauded but the underlying ideology analysed and appreciated with the view to sustaining it and if possible, institutionalizing it.
Inoyo Toro Foundation, according to the organizers, is a platform which was launched with the aim of assessing and evaluating the efforts of teachers in tutoring our future leaders, especially in public schools in the state, with the view to rewarding those found to be outstanding as a means of motivating and encouraging them. While such recognitions and rewards would motivate the awardees to do more in their chosen teaching career, their colleagues will also sit up, putting in their best having in minds the award which is a gradual departure from the age-long held notion that teachers’ rewards are in heaven.
The crux of this piece is to avail this magnanimous humanitarian gesture the well-deserved spotlight, bearing in mind the place of education as a veritable tool towards an all-encompassing liberation and effective empowerment.
As a state and nation in this 21st century, if we must get it right in terms of our youths competing favourably with their counterparts in their chosen careers, anywhere in the world, the import of education cannot be overemphasized. Again, for the best to be realized, there is a great need to encourage and motivate the teachers to render their bests in the task of tutoring the pupils and students.
Studies have shown that our standard of education is nosediving. This can partly be attributed to quality of teachers in our schools vis-à-vis the level of their commitment in the art and act of teaching.
We may have the best schools, equipped with modern learning facilities; but a lack of well-trained and committed teachers would still leave us with poor outputs. A person who is not motivated may be bearing the toga of a teacher whereas his or her mind is away from the profession. Where there is no effective reward system as has been introduced by Inoyo Toro Foundation, the teachers’ hope of getting their proverbial reward in heaven will subsist and the end result is students’ poor performance.
It is worth commending that the Inoyo Toro Foundation, as gathered, has consistently embarked on this chosen and privately sponsored humanitarian programme of motivating and empowering our teachers. Checks show that the annual event has witnessed awardees going home with various categories of prizes.
For instance, this year, first prize which goes to the best teachers is N250, 000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Naira), second prize N150,000.00, while the second runners up go home with prizes as much as a Hundred thousand Naira. It should be noted that these prizes for best performing teachers of different categories, span across subjects such as Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, English Language, Physics, et al.
There are also awards for best Headmasters, Headmistresses and Principals as well as other packages such as trainings by foreign experts, just to mention but a few.
These are prizes every practicing teacher would want to win, hence, he or she would put in all efforts to achieve and in the process, the students’ performances are affected.
To achieve its aim, checks further revealed, the Foundation sends application forms to public secondary schools in Akwa Ibom state and like this year’s edition, over 200 schools received and participated in the rigorous screening exercise.
According to the Foundation’s Award Committee Chairman, Dr. Enobong Joshua, “a total of 706 teachers of various subjects responded. 384 met the set requirements for participation and were accordingly invited. 9 mentors, 38 mentees and 7 school principals were also invited to the screening. However, only 239 teachers, made up of 56 English, 38 Mathematics, 36 Biology, 39 Chemistry, 30 Physics, 36 Economics and 4 History teachers, as well as seven (7) secondary school principals, attended the screening test”.
The Foundation’s mentors – mostly professionals and persons who have achieved successes in their chosen careers-would adopt schools; pay same routine visits during which financial assistance, donation of learning materials and interactions with the teachers and students help in achieving the aims of the programme.
So far, 235 teachers and three principals have won various categories of the Inoyo Toro Foundation award while academic performances of thousands of students in the state have been positively impacted in the process!
Every state and nation would yearn to have the best Engineers, Medical Doctors, Lawyers, etc, but these would not be achieved in an atmosphere or a community of unmotivated teachers.
Furthermore, the unfortunate scenario where Akwa Ibom state lacks capable and employable graduates needed in the ever-lucrative Oil and Gas sector as well as other internationally dominated disciplines could be traced to lack of committed teachers.
The rising level of criminality in our society could also have its share of cause from lack of committed teachers as the number of school dropouts is in the increase. A half-baked secondary school leaver may not be able to cope with the universities’ learning standards which would eventually lead to cases of dropouts.
Unemployment may be blamed on lack of jobs but no one considers employability of our graduates for the few available jobs, which has much to do with the kind of teachings they received.
Therefore, if education is a tool for liberation and effective empowerment; and sound teachings derivable from motivated and encouraged teachers, then the Founder of Inoyo Toro Foundation, Udom Inoyo Esq., must not only be applauded for his humanitarian foresightedness, but this gesture must be supported to achieve sustainability, and if possible, institutionalized for continued benefits.
Comrade Ime Silas is an Editor, a Public Affairs Analyst and writer on contemporary issues.
Could be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: +234 (0) 7068241903