Scholarships alone are not enough to get more qualified female teachers into Nigeria’s schools

Sara Humphreys, Máiréad Dunne, Naureen Durrani

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Abstract

Nigeria’s northern rural regions suffer acute shortages of both female teachers and female pupils. UNICEF estimates that over half of all girls are not in school in the north while under a third of all primary school teachers are women.

To boost the numbers of female teachers in rural locations, an ambitious scholarship scheme was established to train young women from these areas to become teachers in their home villages. It was hoped this would encourage more girls to enrol in school.

The Female Teacher Training Scholarship Scheme was a joint venture between five Nigerian state governments, the UK government and UNICEF, between 2008 and 2015. Scholarships were offered to young women from poor, rural areas to undertake the three-year pre-service teacher education programme at state teacher training colleges.

The only condition was that after graduation, they returned to their home village to teach for a minimum of two years. Over 7,800 young women benefited from these awards.

To help improve the programme’s operation, we conducted a study in the colleges of education in Bauchi and Niger states. As a team of Nigerian and UK based researchers, we identified the programme’s successes and challenges, and made recommendations for the future.

We found that there were both academic and other obstacles to the trainees’ success, including financial worries. This was because the scholarship stipend was too small and payments were often delayed.

Based on these findings, we suggest that improving the quality of teacher education is more important than just increasing teacher numbers. We also recommend that such programmes pay attention to non-academic difficulties.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - Jan 22 2021

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