It was indeed an amazing time with Mr Fayomi Joseph Ajayi, as he took his time to talk about the current education trends in Nigeria. Hailed from Ogun State Nigeria, Joseph Fayomi describes himself as a passionate educator with solid experience. Before proceeding to study Educational Technology at the University of Ilorin, Fayomi earlier had an NCE in Computer Science and Mathematics Education from the Federal College of Education Technical, Akoka, Lagos. He is currently about completing his master’s degree in Instructional Technology with a specific focus on Teachers Education at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He is a researcher, teacher trainer, a part of Teacher Education Sustainability in Sub-Sahara Africa and also a member of Chartered College of Teaching, London.
Interview excerpts below:
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR TEACHING EXPERIENCE BRIEFLY?
I started teaching in 2008 as an auxiliary teacher, then I was not experienced. After my NCE teaching practice, I worked for some time as a contract teacher at the Federal Science and Technical College in Yaba. From there I moved to a primary school where I worked till I got back to school, having secured a scholarship from the African Development Bank. During my degree program, I worked in some Nursery and primary schools, handling nursery classes to primary six. The only time I had to teach in the Senior Secondary School level was towards the end of my bachelor’s program. I also taught further mathematics in some schools around Ilorin environment.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU INTO EDUCATION FIELD?
First, I loved some of my secondary school teachers, specifically my economics teacher. He’s the best I have seen in the field and I try to keep up with that standard. Also in church, I used to teach in the Sunday school classes. Those were parts of the things that motivated me to go into education.
WHAT ARE YOUR CHALLENGES AS AN EDUCATOR?
Yes, there are challenges. One of them is the image and the way teachers are being perceived in the country, and also the way teachers are trained. That informed my decision to actually move from being a teacher to being a teacher educator. So I decided to focus more on teacher education, training teachers. But generally, the way teachers are being viewed… in fact you see people come around and tell you that anybody can teach. That is one point I stand to argue with. Teachers are made – they are taught. I have been a part of the process as a student and I have also been there as a teacher, but the challenge is just the image and the way they are being perceived.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT KEEP YOU GOING IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATION REGARDLESS OF THE CHALLENGES?
I will say I am a born teacher, and apart from that, I undergo the process of teacher training, making me one of the best in my field. Looking at it, if I were to be in another field I am not sure if I will be as outstanding as I am in the field of education. Of course, it might not be well appreciated but I try as much as I can to make sure that everyone that knows me, irrespective of their profession, knows that I am passionate about education and I am passionate about being a teacher. I was even surprised the day a friend made a reference that if you are looking for anyone who is passionate about the teaching profession and about education, he can easily give a recommendation that I am one of such. So the fact that I am talented in that field and I can teach well is a motivation that yes, I would be part of those who will promote the teaching profession and education generally.
WOULD YOU CONSIDER QUITTING TEACHING IF YOU GET A JOB OFFER THAT PAYS WAY-BETTER THAN TEACHING?
Well, as much as pay matters, job satisfaction matters too. There are jobs that I can take, it might not really be a teaching job but linked to education. Take for example research jobs or learning and development. Those are similar opportunities that if they come my way I will also key into them. And I have been involved in various places working as a training officer, so there are other opportunities that are linked to education but not classroom, such I will actually embrace as well.
WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE FUTURE OF NIGERIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
For now, what we have on ground is not so encouraging, I must be frank with you. But in the future, if the priorities are placed right, when we have it from the federal level to the state level, education in Nigeria will become as good as what we have in other developed countries of the world. I have always said this that, one sector that can never go down or go out of demand is the education sector. The reason is that procreation continues, children are given birth to every day and there is always a need to educate them
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE NEAREST FUTURE?
I see myself as one of the top leaders in my field, being a prominent figure in the field of education. I see myself being a top educational consultant. I am passionate about the provision of educational services as well because I look at it that we have many schools and educational institutions but few educational services providers. So I see myself becoming one of the leading educational services providers in the country and worldwide.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR OTHER EDUCATORS IN THE FIELD?
One of the things I will advise is, follow the current trends in education. For example, one of the reasons Covid-19 hit us more in Nigeria and maybe some other African countries is because we have been so analogue in our methods and approach to education. So what I will suggest is that we observe other countries. There is a course in education called comparative education where you observe and compare practices in other countries to what is obtainable in your country, see what can be borrowed. I will therefore suggest that we move on with the current trends in education and the changes. And one of the changes that are evident and available everywhere is the introduction of technology into education from the lowest level to the highest.