Impediments Of Educational Bureaucrats On Teacher Education Essay

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This paper set out to discuss the impediments of educational bureaucrats on teacher education in Nigeria and to examine the person of the education bureaucrat, their functions in Nigeria context, their management behaviors and while they failed in the country. It was expected that at the end of the day stakeholders in teacher education would be able to have a positive orientation and understanding of the place of educational bureaucrats in the success of the country's educational enterprise in teacher education. Nigeria has not been lucky with good educational bureaucrats in all her endeavors in general and in schools in particular. For this reason, this paper toiled with the future of children with compulsory mis-education in a context of schooling without education - a rebirth of the diploma disease. Therefore, it was recommended that the education bureaucrats should involve teachers, non-teaching staff and students as well as the community through Parent Teachers Association to enhance teacher education in the country.

 

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Keywords: Impediments, Bureaucrats, Teacher Education, Nigeria. 

Introduction

The teacher is the pivot upon which effective teaching in any educational institution revolved. No nation can rise above the quality of its teachers, to spend a lot of money for teachers' professionalism in the county is an investment in human capital and development of manpower's capacities. The purpose of teacher education is to produce highly motivated, conscientious and efficient teachers for all levels of our educational system, to encourage further the spirit of enquiring and creativity in teachers. In addition, teacher education is to provide teachers with the intellectual and professional background adequate for their assignments and to make them adaptable to any changing situation through bureaucratic control as pointed out by Max Weber (1954), which is the use of rules, regulations and formal authority to guide performance. It includes such things as budgets, statistical reports and performance appraisals to regulate behaviour and results. Max Weber (1954) also opined that the bureaucrat must exercise his judgment and his skills, but his duty is to place these at the service of a higher authority. Ultimately, he is responsible only for the impartial execution of assigned tasks and must sacrifice his personal judgment if it runs counter to his official duties.

One of the major features on contemporary teacher education in Nigeria is the growing complexities on concert with the internal and external ecological changes atimes on intended and yet with undesirable outcomes. Today, societies depend more than ever before on teacher education for the production and development of their human resources; inculcation into the clients desired values and attitudes for useful living among others. Ironically, teacher education in some educational institutions in Nigeria has failed to meet up with societal expectations. The failure of the schools has implicated poor management by educational bureaucrats in the country. Educational institutions no longer have adequate flow of resources; which most educational leaders who are untrained are required to be able to implement government policies that are oftentimes poorly formulated. The traditional all knowing-teacher of old is giving way to complex education personnel in a very rich information environment and skilled with modern pedagotronic techniques. All these require for success a well trained and educated bureaucrat who is ready to work even in the face of unfriendly interests and pressures by multiple stakeholders of Nigerian schools.

Therefore, the educational bureaucrat of tomorrow in Nigeria is the person that would offer all - his energy, tears, time, intellect, blood and self sacrificially for the common good. Nwadiani (2003) asserts that teacher education is a systematic instruction for the development of character or mental power. On the other hand, Roa (2001) noted that there is an immediate and urgent need for giving quality education to the citizens in order to build up our future through effective and proper management of the public secondary schools in the country.

Teacher Education: Defined

Education is synonymous to learning, instruction, teaching, acquiring knowledge and guidance. As such, the success of every educational system depends on the quality and quantity of its factors through proper management of human, financial and material resources. Of all the factors, the human resources appear to be the most important because without human efforts, all other factors are inept (Nakpodia, 2010). This is why the quality of education being provided for the Nigerian child has been a source of concern on recent times in the country's educational system. Concern citizens, government officials, non-government organizations and voluntarily agencies have openly lamented the rot in the educational system.

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Teacher education today in the country is faced with the problems of gross under funding, shortage of qualified manpower, inadequate facilities and equipment and over bloated student population. A visit to some educational institutions in the country will reveal the sorry state of the education sector. With a population of about 126 million, spread among more than one hundred and fifty heterogeneous ethnic groups, Nigeria can only afford a centralized education system in which government pretends to be the sole provider (Ejiogu, 2003). The over estimation system of government's potentials goaded it into assuring the sole provident role in education. Now that government claims it is no longer buoyant as it used to be, it has test-fully shun its sole - provident position leaving some of the educational institutions as orphans, urging them to look for alternative sources of financing their programmes (Jimoh, 2005).

Teaching involves the use of wide body of knowledge attitude and skills about the subject being taught and teachers at all levels of the educational system are very important in the overall development of any nation. Teachers' education is the process which nurtures prospective teachers and updates qualified teachers' knowledge and skills in the form of continuous professional development. It is on this basis that the educational bureaucrats play several roles in teacher education in Nigeria. Teachers' education or teachers training revolves around the policies and procedures designed to equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitude, behaviour and skills required in the performance of effective duties in the classrooms; since education is the process of human learning by which knowledge is impacted, faculties trained and skills developed. This is to say that education takes place through effective role of educational bureaucrats in Nigeria through proper administration which is an act of management because the school bureaucrat is rewarded by a regular salary and prospects of advancement in a life time career and also exercises the authority delegated to him in accordance with impersonal rules, (Bell, 1992).

For example, two educational bureaucrats may handle a case of students' unrest differently. One may decide to close down the school while the other may want to set up a committee to investigate the major and remote causes of the problem and possibly make recommendations, while students remain in school. This shows that administration generally involves the educational bureaucrat's ability to understand the needs and disposition of his subordinates, their values, aesthetics and general environment in relation to the goals of the organization transactionally.

Who are the Educational Bureaucrats?

According to Max Weber (1954) a bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can comprise the administration of any organization of any size, through the term usually connotes someone within an institution of a government or corporation. However, the word 'educational bureaucrat' in this paper is used interchangeably with school managers or administrators. In a nutshell, in an educational system, there are functional positions (teachers) doing what the school exists to perform such as teaching; and there are secondary positions such as principals and maintenance, worker, etc. that not perform the primary function like teaching, yet perform necessary functions so that the functional positions do not have to. In other words, if a teacher has to do all the other stuff like politic for funding, answering phone etc they would not have any time left to actually teach. The folks not teaching are all bureaucrats.

Educational institutions today are no longer parasitic and domesticated organizations which greatly impede teachers' education in the country. They are expected to be self supporting and accounting. This is largely because any amount of money allocated to education is a potential loss to other sectors of the economy As such, the practice of teachers' education requires a science oriented cum professionally trained educational bureaucrats. This has become imperative such that the view of management as an art no longer hold water. In contemporary school organization, the bureaucrat has the responsibility to ensure that educational policies are interpreted and implanted accordingly. He also ensures availability of the resources needed to implement educational policies and direct the achievement of the school organizational goals, since his appointment and job placement are dependent upon his technical qualification.

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In addition, he coordinates the activities of the school human resources, utilizing the available physical and fiscal resources in a work friendly environment and possesses full measures of authority and power for things to work out as planned; and atimes makes adjustments contingent on unforeseen cum unanticipated events and constraints over time. This individual in education institution is known as Bureaucrat. At certain levels, time and space, the name vary. For example in recent times, what is in vogue is Chief Executive. At the primary school level, what is common place is the Headmaster or Head teacher while the number one person in secondary school sub-system is the principal. The Rector, Provost and Vice-Chancellor are used in the Polytechnic, Colleges of Education and Universities respectively. What is true is that they perform cardinal functions at the various levels and in this paper, the bureaucrat is preferred.

At the tertiary level, the Chief Executive (the bureaucrat) plays a more complex role due to the diversity and complexity of the stakeholders, and international cum universal nature of the commodity. Therefore, emphasis is placed on the bureaucrat. Generally, a bureaucrat is that individual who has at least one staff as a subordinate in an organization. That is to say, there could be several bureaucrats within an organization. In this regard, the span of influence of the bureaucrat would depend on variables such as organizational ownership, type structure of the organization and seniority system. When we talk about the school bureaucrat in Nigeria, and possibly elsewhere, we are concerned with that person who is the overall head usually the most senior or experienced staff by cognate years of service. Apart from the criterium of years' service (experience), the school bureaucrat must possess the academic and professional qualifications required in the teaching profession.

The school bureaucrat at the primary and secondary school levels has no real tenure depending on the time (years of service) and age at which the person becomes a bureaucrat. The position could be occupied for many years till the time of retirement at the age of 65 years or 35 years of unbroken service. Sometimes in the public schools, teachers could be retired prematurely for many reasons or by reason of government, ignorantly wanting to cut down personnel cost. In private schools, anybody could be appointed as a school bureaucrat depending on the values, mission and vision, of the proprietor. Generally private school bureaucrats in Nigeria are not as viable as public school heads.

This is because private schools are primarily for profit making. To maximum monetary gains, they employ anybody they like since there is no effective regulatory body. In real practice, school bureaucrats are appointed through promotion in the public schools after serving for some years either as an Assistant Headmaster or vice principal. In Nigeria, it is being alleged that this upon a time tradition which has helped to prepare and train future bureaucrats in the schools, is thrown to the dogs. Rather the spirit of inhumanity has taken over the appointment system, such that seniority and experience are made irrelevant. People are now appointed school bureaucrats over and above their seniors largely because of political patronage, dependent loyalty and other unholy criteria. This is why there is unprecedented wave of leadership conflict in Nigeria educational institutions.

Administrative Functions of the Educational Bureaucrats in Teacher Education

Bureaucrats are accounting officials in any organizations. Organizationally, bureaucrats have as their basic functions the following: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, controlling, coordinating, reporting and budgeting. Gulick and Urwick popularized these administrative functions with the acronyms "POSDCORB". As reported by Nwadiani (2003), functional authority affects to a large extent the way these functions are performed by bureaucrats at any level. External pressures and influences arising from the political context of educational management affects bureaucrats job performances. Dependent loyalty which characterizes the behaviour of most education bureaucrats related to pattern of rise to management power. The result is that their functional authority is externally manipulated by their "godfather".

Reese (1973) listed the major functions of bureaucrats which also include the educational bureaucrats. These functions are setting objectives for using available resources, formulating plans for achieving these objectives, identifying the activities to be performed, organizing the activities into departments, defining the tasks to be done, staffing the job with people, Initiating work activities and supplying incentives to stimulate productivity.

Evidence from the field has shown that educational bureaucrats neglect a host of these functions largely because of poor working environment, resources and government's utter neglect of public schools. The school organization is a unique one largely because it is learning and knowledge based institution. Consequently, the bureaucrat of a school performs some distinct functions that are geared towards the enhancement and efficacy of teaching and learning. The school is child- centered with various interest groups whose values are diverse. These interest groups (stakeholders) that tend to shape the functions of the education bureaucrat are: the Ministry of Education, the students, the education personnel in the school and the public-examination bodies; PTA; employers of labour, mass media, law enforcement agencies, the church, corporate organizations, etc. The following are the administrative functions of the education bureaucrat in fostering teacher education:

Planning and Policy Making

The essence of planning by educational bureaucrats is to prepare for and predict future events. Planning goes beyond attempting to attain stated organizational objectives and it involves the development of strategy and procedure for effective realization of the entire plan. It entails determination of control, direction and methods of accomplishing the overall organizational objectives. It also involves the establishment of objectives, strategies to achieve the objectives and a step by step determination of the activities and resources necessary to achieve them.

Improving the Educational Programme

One of the important roles of the educational bureaucrat is that of improving the educational programme. The educational bureaucrat provides a climate of efficiency, cooperation, service and stimulation within which programmes in the educational institutions can operate most effectively. In addition, the school bureaucrat provides leadership and coordination in periodic and continuing evaluations of the effectiveness of the total educational programme in meeting the needs of the stakeholders.

Provision and Maintenance of Fund and Facilities

This also referred to as school business administration and is one of the most crucial roles of the school bureaucrats. Though, most educational bureaucrats have limited control over the source of funds for the schools, many of them, of course, influence the provision of funds and facilities by careful and studied budgetary system, accounting, reporting and effective negotiations. Educational bureaucrats must ensure that the funds and facilities are effectively used and well maintained to achieve a desired goals and objectives.

Selection and Developing Personnel

The ideal educational bureaucrat identifies and indicates the staff needs of the school or educational system as well as the specific type of personnel needed to meet the needs. He also collaborates with the state and local school boards or Ministry of Education in making decisions related to the educational personnel. Having participated in the selection of the staff, the school head should involve the staff in developing and operating the regular and proper personnel policies.

Curriculum Development

The other important role of an educational bureaucracy is in curriculum development. Curriculum as the name indicates is not a record of what has happened but a plan for what will happen. It is concerned with what students will do in learning situation. It deals with the learning outcomes intended to be achieved through the experiences or opportunities the learner is expected to be exposed. The school curriculum is therefore, all the learning experiences or opportunities designed for the learner under the leadership roles of school.

Instructional Improvement

School programme management constitutes one of the most important roles of the educational bureaucrat. The ultimate goal of educational administration is the improvement of learning and learning opportunities. The educational bureaucrat works with the classroom teachers, students and supervisors in the selection of appropriate curricular or school activities, choice of subjects, textbooks, work scheduling, use of teaching aids and facilities, teaching methods and methods of evaluating school and students progress.

Student Personnel Services

This role also is very important in the schools. It involves the selection, orientation placement, guidance and counseling of students which constitute an important aspect of the educational administration. The ideal educational bureaucrat ensures that every student is given adequate opportunity and motivation to learn. The schools encourage extra-curricular activities as well as ensuring that adequate school health services, transportation, boarding facilities (where applicable) moral and civic orientations, discipline and adequate inter-personal relations are maintained.

School Plant

This relates to issues of orderly growth and improvement of school facilities and equipment. It also involves the staff who is officially assigned to take care of the school plant.

School Community Relationship

Development and administration of policies and procedures for parent and community with parents' school participation in community organization and cooperation between the school and community agencies like Parents Teachers Association. The school bureaucrat should be outreaching regularly in contact with opinion leaders and relevant figures and agencies within and outside the community. The community through a healthy working relationship with the school bureaucrat and the entire school community would get to know the school strength and weaknesses. Community support becomes easier in this situation.

School Record Keeping and Retrieval

Educational management in Nigeria is faced with the problem of poor record keeping and retrieval. Available records are usually incomplete, inaccurate, obsolete and under estimated. School bureaucrats are required to keep at least six statutory records for effective and efficient educational planning in particular and management generally. These records are: the log book, staff records, the school budget, attendance register, admission register; including school plant and equipment records. These school records are very useful in educational institutions, yet most bureaucrats do not keep them with enthusiasm. The above functions vividly show the various areas the educational bureaucrat directs his attention to while performing his duty. He is involved with the totality of the education enterprise. Therefore, the educational bureaucrat, whether in the ministry, school board or individual school is concerned with the welfare and progress of the students, staff and the efficiency and effectiveness of the instructural programme, funds and facilities of the school.

Education Bureaucrats and Teacher Tasks in Teaching Strategies

The basic task of school organization is teaching. Although, these task can be describe in a variety of ways. It is generally viewed as a three-sequential-phase task comprising a planning component, a learning activity component, and an evaluation component. In support of this, Jacobsen, Eggen, Kauchak and Dulaney (1981) described the vital phases of the teaching task as planning, implementing and evaluating instructional activities which educational bureaucrats must take into cognizance.

Planning

Any activity that aims at bringing about effective learning among students of varying abilities, interests, and previous knowledge, requires skillful planning. Therefore, teachers should spend as much time in planning any teaching activity as they spend in actually teaching it. During the planning, the teacher targets some specific contents that pertain to the instructional goals of the class. He then translates the contents into instructional goals and determines the extent to which the class can achieve them. Some of the important steps in planning include: deciding instructional goals, diagnosing the learners and specifying instructional objective.

Implementation

The implementation component is concerned with putting the plan into operation. It, therefore, involves what takes place during the time the teacher spends with the students in activities directed at meeting the instructional objectives. Successful implementation requires at least three teacher-skills such as: structuring skills, reacting skills and eliciting skills.

Selecting Evaluation Procedure

Evaluation is an important part of teaching, and the selection of evaluation procedures ought to be done when other important decisions about instruction are made, because at this stage the instructional objectives are still fresh in the teacher's mind. More so, decisions about methods of evaluation are closely tied to the selected instructional goals and objectives.

Education Bureaucrat and Teachers' Behaviour in Classroom Performance

One of the aims of both management and supervision as expected by education bureaucrats is to encourage teachers to engage in the types of behavior or activities that result in effective classroom performance. It is, therefore, necessary educational bureaucrats to be concerned with teachers' knowledge, skills, attitudes and motivational need, (Caldwell and Spinks, 1992).

Knowledge and Skills

Teachers need to be well versed in basic knowledge areas, subject matter, and teaching process.

Subject Matter Knowledge: This refers to the knowledge of the subject matter to be taught. It is concerned with the teacher's mastery of concepts and principles of the subjects in his own area of specialization.

Process Knowledge: This refers to the knowledge of the process by which the subject matter is transmitted to students, such as classroom management techniques; inquiry, behavior associated with programmed instruction, discovery approach to learning and interpersonal skills.

Both subject matter knowledge and process knowledge are complementary to each other, and as such, both are imperative for effective teaching to occur. There exist, however, deficiency problems for the teacher such as:

The brilliant scholar who cannot communicate what he knows to the students; or

The process teacher with nothing to communicate; or

The disciplinarian who does little except maintain order,

Borich (1977) classified the skills required of a teacher into three competency areas:

Knowledge Competencies: These specify the cognitive aspects which the teacher is expected to demonstrate;

Performance Competencies: These specify the teaching process which the teacher is expected to demonstrate; and

Consequences Competencies: These specify the student behaviours that are seen evidence of the teacher's effectiveness.

The three competencies form a sequence of interrelated behavior that work together to produce a comprehensive set of teacher and student outcome in the classroom. The interdependence of these is needed to achieve the performance competencies, and performance competencies. Management and supervisory practices should involve efforts that recognize the interrelationship and interdependence of knowledge, performance and consequence competencies.

Attitudes

Teachers' attitudes are capable of influencing classroom behavior either positively or negatively. These include attitudes towards students, the teaching, superiors and colleagues, and themselves. Indeed, these attitudes are often at the root of most classroom problems. Different types of students produce attitudes of attachment, concern, indifference or rejection in their teachers, and these teachers' attitudes are linked to different patterns of teacher-student interaction. For instance, when teachers exhibit negative attitudes towards students, they tend to be indifferent towards such students. However, when teachers' attitudes towards students are positive, they treat the students in ways that are likely to reinforce the positive feelings. Therefore, teachers' attitudes influence their behavior, and behavior influence attitude. Thus, in order to diagnose causes of problems in the classroom, it is necessary to examine the roots and consequence of the teacher's attitudes to events that occur in both the school and the classroom, and to the people that are involved in the interactive processes in the teaching-learning situation.

Motivational Needs

Motivation is not completely a new term. What is interesting about it is that community assured to be a good thing that goes in influencing individual's behaviour and performance at work. Stiggins (1991) sees motivation as all those inner striving conditions described as wishes, desires, urges etc. it is therefore an inner state that stimulates and triggers behaviour of educational bureaucrats and teachers in the school system. In order to predict the effects of a teacher's behavior in a teaching-learning situation, it is necessary to understand the basic needs that motivate the teacher's behavior in the classroom. This understanding will help both education bureaucrats and supervisors to draw teachers into ongoing school programmes in ways that will challenge their interests and stimulate their maximum commitments and efforts in our educational institutions. Providing the type of conditions that motivate teachers and satisfying their basic needs can lead teachers to perform at levels beyond the minimum expected of them. Educational bureaucrats are aware of the factors that motivate teachers or that produce both satisfaction and dissatisfaction in teacher education because the needs and motives are often related to a teacher's behavior in the classroom. They can enhance teacher-motivation and satisfaction by allowing teachers more freedom, authority, and responsibility in the improvement of instruction. This will make the teaching job more challenging, enjoyable and rewarding to teachers.

The educational bureaucrats and Nigerian educational system

Educational bureaucrats are senior persons in teacher education such as the school head who come closest to the people who are responsible for overall school system. In any sense, some claims made on educational administrator would sound inferior but it is a fact that educational bureaucrats are rarely supermen but they do represent an experience other than any man could achieve. In teacher education, the school head such as the principal is regarded as the educational administrator in the secondary school system and he is the key person in the administrative organization. The principal is appointed as a result of such friction and seniority. It is his duty to oversee the proper running of the school in terms of staff and student welfare, development and implementation of educational programmes, provision of proper instruction, school-community relations, discipline and proper keeping of school records. Other duties include students' admissions, proper documentation of school finances and the creation of a conducive atmosphere.

The National Policy on the educational system in Nigeria is government way of realizing that part of the national goals which can be achieved using education as a tool. No policy on education however can be formulated without first identifying the overall philosophy and goals of the nation that is, to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible, indissoluble and democratic nation and for a free and democratic society. About two-thirds of the universities are federally owned and a majority of the others are state-owned.

A Way Forward for Educational Bureaucrats

Having identified some of the roles of the educational bureaucrats on one hand, it becomes imperative on the other hand to highlight the new challenges with a view to getting our educational bureaucrats prepared such as:

Providing Focused Instructional Leadership

Having a list of essential teaching skills is not enough. Instructional leaders must internalize exemplars of effective classroom practice so that they can make accurate judgment about, and give useful feedback.

Result-oriented leaders

Among the factors responsible for the failure of the educational policies and programmes is leadership that lack managerial and administrative skills required to succeed. These skills can only be acquired through learning and experience.

Leading Change

School leaders are change agents. Systemic change is not well understood even by experts and school leaders who have little training to prepare them for the challenge. For educational bureaucrat to succeed as a change agents additional training is required.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, the educational system in Nigeria has become so complex that its administration cannot be left in the hands of those who have no formal training in administration. The education system needs those bureaucrats (school manager) who can harness the human, physical and material resources available to achieve the see objectives and in enhancing teacher education in the country. In addition, practical efforts have been made to train educational bureaucrats and planners to ensure orderly development of teacher education and proper implementation of educational programmes.

In fact, there are several individuals and organizations providing in-service training programmes for educational bureaucrats. Some of these organizations have not faintest idea about the programmes they are organizing. They are well subscribed because of their closeness to those in government. There is therefore the need for the accreditation of education management consultants either by the Ministries of Education or the Association of Management consultants of Nigeria to regulate activities of these organizations. This will ensure that quality in-service training is given to education bureaucrats and to enhance teacher education.

The National Policy on Education (NPE) on the other hand, recognized this when asserted that no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers. Therefore, it cannot be ignored that teachers stand at the centre of success of the educational process at any level of the system. Hence, the thorough training and retention of teachers require funding. The environment where teachers operate must be improved. New infrastructure should be put in place while old ones are rehabilitated to enhance teaching and learning both where they teach. Teachers need to be remunerated to ensure they are motivated and retained in their job. Also, the regular scenes of teachers strike for non-payment of salaries and allowances and attrition to other occupations should be addressed by bureaucrats of education because they constitute great obstacle to success of education at all levels of the system.

Once the education bureaucrats of the school system are convinced of the need to adopt any model that can enhance teacher education in a state or even a nation, the major question will now centre on how to get it stated. They have to demonstrate open commitment to its adoption. It is in order therefore, for school bureaucrats to endeavor to know more about this approach to planning and consider recommending it for system wide adoption. An appropriate policy demanding its adoption will be necessary. Workshops and seminars, involving training sessions need to be organized for educational bureaucrats and cater for teachers to intimate them with the modatories of designing and developing school development plans. Once the school bureaucrats are committed to its adoption in their schools, it is likely that their teachers will comply.