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ISSN : 2092-674X (Print)
ISSN : 2092-6758 (Online)
Asia-Pacific Collaborative education Journal Vol.12 No.1 pp.21-44

Gender Disparity in the Teaching Workforce in Public Primary and Secondary Schools in Nigeria

Asodike, Juliana D.
University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria


In recent years there has been a drop in the percentage of male teachers. The gender disparity is evidenced in many primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. This article is set to ascertain the nature of gender disparity in Nigerian publicly funded schools, the underlying reasons for the growing disparity, such as the feminization of the teaching profession, low teacher’s salary, flexibility of teaching of the profession, women as care givers, cultural belief, and sexual molestation. Challenges to the increase of male teachers in schools, such as low status of teaching, parental expectation, work policies and societal perception were explored. The implications of the absence of male teachers in the schools, among others, were failure among male students, academic under-achievement, under-utilization of male talent and indiscipline in school. Suggested courses for action to increase the presence of male teachers in schools include improving the condition of service, education policy reform, gender balance in other professions, publicizing a male friendly environment, and admitting men to educational programs. The aforementioned are efforts meant to encourage diversity in the teaching workforce. The article relied heavily on data collected from Education Management Boards of some Nigerian States’ for its discussion.



 Quality education is defined by the availability and accessibility of quality educational services which is backed up by the provision of quality educational resources. Resources are the live-wire needed for the success of any educational system (Kanwar & Trumbic, 2011). These resources can be human, material or financial in nature. However, among these resources, the human resource plays a significant role in the management of other educational resources. Every sector of the economy needs quality human resources to succeed. It is based on this premise that Akparobore (2011) revealed that the most important indicator of a nation’s success is the human resource. It is therefore, an indispensable tool in the achievement of a nation’s educational objectives.
Quality human resources are instrumental to the success of the educational system especially at lower levels. The absence of this educational resource is a bane to quality education in the whole of Africa (Adeniji, 2002). When the quantity of teachers needed to manage the education system is insufficient, it reduces the quality of education that can be provided for students in the school environment. However, the quantity of teachers is not the only determiner of the quality of education delivered. The quality of teachers employed also affects the quality of education delivered significantly. One factor that determines the quality of teachers employed in the school environment is the mix of teachers of different gender in order to provide a balanced educational service to students. Mcweeney (2014) pointed out that the teacher plays the function of a parent to the students, thus necessitating the presence of both male and female teachers for a balanced educational program.
The imbalance in gender has been an issue of concern in most sectors of the national economy drawing the attention of various stakeholders in terms of employee ratio. Teachers, whether male or female have diverse functions which they are expected to perform or play by their presence in the school environment. When this factor is not put into consideration in teacher recruitment, it can create a vacuum in the quality of education provided. The role of the teacher in the management and administration of education services in the country is very crucial as they play the role of enforcing the academic or nonacademic objectives of the school on the students; roles that are best handled by the different genders. While the male teachers serve as role models to male students, female teacher provides feminine guidance to the female students (Faulstich-Wieland, 2013).

Synopsis of Teacher Recruitment

Recruitment, like all aspects of human resource management, requires careful planning to be successful (Pynes, 1997). That notwithstanding, there are various factors which are often considered in the recruitment and deployment of teachers in schools. They include academic qualification, gender, social status, area of specialization, government policy, cultural and religious beliefs (Oghuvbu, 2007). The essence of this, even though the recruitment practices have been fairly limited in their search for candidates, is to create a balance in the staffing of the school. It is also intended to provide the best personnel that can help in the achievement of quality educational objectives.
 It has been pointed out that gender interaction between teachers and students has an influence on a student’s academic achievement (Dee, 2005). Teachers are the pivot of the entire education process. Therefore, for them to be efficient in their work they should have adequate professional information and skills, a sound work philosophy and a positive and favorable attitude towards the teaching profession (Shah & Thoker, 2013).

Gender Disparity in Teacher Population

The concept of gender is used to describe those characteristics of men and women which are socially constructed, while sex refers to those which are biologic ally determined. People are born male or female but learn to be boys and girls who grow into men and women (Asodike, 2014). Akhtar (2012, p.260) stated that “Gender is simply the state of being male or female”. The various States in the country are confronted with the problem of gender disparity in the school system emanating from the dominance of female teachers.
The genesis of this disparity stems from the students enrolling in Bachelor of Education programs offered by Universities and Colleges of Education in Nigeria. These institutions that serve as the main suppliers of teachers to primary and secondary schools, have more female students enrolling, and invariably graduating, than male students. Table 1 shows statistics of student enrolment in the six departments of the Faculty of Education, University of Port Harcourt between the 2010/2011 and 2013/2014 academic sessions.
Female students, who find it worthwhile to take to teaching as a profession, find their way to the classrooms while the majority of their male counterparts, who are always in search of the best jobs to support their families, end up working in organizations other than what they have been trained for – teaching is thus the beginning of gender disparity at these levels of education.
Table 1. Statistics of Students by Sex and Level of Study: 2010/2011 – 2013/2-14
Source: Faculty of Education, University of Port Harcourt (2016)
Table 1 shows a total of 559 female students and 377 male students in the 2010/2011 academic session, 2011/2012 had 593 female with 396 male students, 2012/2013 had 848 female with 433 male students while 2013/2014 had 672 female with 407 male students.
Table 2. Trend Analysis of Teacher Population in Lagos State Public Primary Schools 2003/2004 – 2012/2013 School Year
Source: Lagos State School Census Report, 2015
Table 2 shows that between the 2003/2004 to 2007/2008 school years, there were more female teachers than their male counterparts in public primary schools in Lagos State with each year having more than 80% of the teaching workforce.
Table 3. Trend Analysis of Teacher Population in Lagos State Public Junior Secondary Schools 2005/2006 – 2012/2013 School Year
Source: Lagos State School Census Report, 2015
Table 3 indicates a higher percentage of female teachers than male teachers in public junior secondary schools in Lagos State between the 2005/2006 and 2012/2013 school years. With the exception of the 2005/2006 school year, others had 70% and above percentage female teachers.
Table 4. Trend Analysis of Teacher Population in Rivers State Public Junior And Senior Secondary Schools, 2010/2011 – 2014/2015 School Year
Source: 1. Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Planning Research and Statistics Dept Sept 2010 2. RSUBEB, EMIS UNIT School Statistics, 2013/201
Table 4 indicates that there were more female teachers than male teachers in public junior secondary schools between the 2010/2011 and 2014/2015 school years. However, the reverse was the case in the senior public secondary schools where the percentage of male teachers was more than that of female teachers for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 school years.
Table 5. Trend Analysis of Teacher Population in Rivers State Public Primary Schools, 2001/2002 – 2014/2015 School Year
Source: 1. Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Planning Research and Statistics Dept Sept 2010 2. Government of Rivers State, Ministry of Education, Port Harcourt, Basic Education Sector Evaluation 2014.2015
Table 5 shows that the public primary schools in Rivers State in the school years between 2001/2002 and 2014/2015 had more female teachers. This difference was obvious in the 2012/2013 school year where the percentage of female teachers was 62% and that of their male counterpart was 38 %, showing a difference of 24%.
Table 6. Trend Analysis of Teacher Population in Abia State Public Primary Schools 2002/2003 – 2009/2010 School Year
Source: Ministry of Education, Umuahia, Abia State, November 2010 
Table 6 indicates that between the 2002/2003 and 2009/2010 school years there were more female teachers in Abia State public primary schools. The 2003/2004 and 2008/2009 school years had 74% and 77% female teachers respectively. There was an average of 66.5% female teachers in the state during the period under consideration.
Table 7. Trend Analysis of Teacher Population in Abia State Public Secondary Schools 2003/2003 – 2013/2014 School Year
Source: Abia State School System, Secondary Education Management Board Umuahia, (2015)
Table 7 reveals that there were more female teachers in Abia State public secondary schools. However, the 2003/2004 school year had more male teacher (65%) than female teachers (35%). Female teachers dominated the primary and secondary schools in Abia State (see tables 5 & 6).
Table 8. Trend analysis of Teacher Population in Imo State Public Secondary Schools 2005/2006 – 2012/2013 School Year
Source: Secondary Education Management Board [SEMB] Owerri (2015)
Table 8 shows the predominance of female teachers in the public secondary schools in Imo State between the 2005/2006 and 2012/2013 school years.
Table 9. Trend Analysis of Teacher Population in Public Secondary Schools In Akwa Ibom State 2005/2006 – 2013/2014 School Year
Source: Akwa Ibom State Secondary Education Board, Uyo (2015) 
Table 9 shows more male teachers than female teachers in Akwa Ibom State public secondary schools between the 2005/2006 and 2013/2014 school years. However, it was 50/50 in the 2014/2015 school year.
Table 10. Trend Analysis of Teacher Population in Public Secondary Schools in Bayelsa State in 2006/2007 – 2013/2014 School Year
Source: Bayelsa State Post Primary School Boards (2015)
Table 10 indicates more male teachers as opposed to their female counterparts in Bayelsa State public secondary schools between the 2006/2007 and 2012/2013 school years.
Table 11. Trend Analysis of Teacher Population in Public Secondary Schools in Delta State in 2006/2007 – 2013/2014 School Year
Source: Adapted from Ministry of Education (Basic & Secondary) Asaba, 2015
Tables 1-11 reveal that each State definitely has highly-feminized teaching workforce in terms of percentage at the primary schools, with varying levels of low-medium and high feminization at the secondary level.

Gender Balance in Teaching Workforce

The presence of both male and female teachers at these levels of education has diverse benefits on the quality of education provided. In any learning environment teachers have diverse roles that they must play in order to enhance, balance and sustain the quality of education provided. Suffice it to state here that, a child’s awareness of gender begins in early childhood. As noted by Chodorow, (1978) when most of the caregivers in early childhood education programs are female, young children may make stereotypical assumptions about male and female roles. It is important to note that the patriarchal society has defined women’s role as nurturers/caregivers and men as providers/ disciplinarians, therefore, there is the need for gender balance in the teaching workforce as a panacea for the provision of balanced education for students.
This dearth of male teachers should be a worrisome situation for policy-makers and educators. Schools need to provide a variety of perspectives to reflect the diversity of the student population and our wider society. It enhances the culture of learning when children see men and women teaching. Table 12 shows that in the 2014/2015 academic session, the Rivers State Public Early Childhood Care and Development Education (ECCDE) centers there showed remarkable difference in the percentages of male and female teachers, with some schools not having a single male teacher (Table 13).
Table 12. Teacher Population in Rivers State Public Early Childhood Care And Development Education 2014/2015 School Year
The breakdown of these figures by Local Government Areas is shown on table 13
Table 13. Teacher Population by Local Government Area in Rivers State Public Early Childhood Care and Development Education 2014/2015 School Year
Source: Gove rnment of Rivers State, Ministry of Education, Port Harcourt, Basic Education Sector Evaluation 2014/2015
Tables 12 and 13 indicate 81% female teachers against 19% male teachers with Obio/Akpor LGA having the highest teaching workforce and highly feminized at this level of education. Surprisingly, some LGAs had no male teachers in the schools. This is a key aspect of gender inequality, though it confirms the expectations of this paper. The reasons for this situation statistically represented in tables 12 and 13 cannot be far from what we have in the primary and secondary schools across the country.

The Feminism of the Teaching Profession

Feminism in the teaching profession has been applicable to countries where there are more women in the teaching workforce. The discourse on the feminization of the teaching profession has always centered on reviewing the reasons why the teaching profession had become gender imbalance in favour of women especially in countries where the situation is very obvious. The impact this imbalance may have on learning processes and the educational outcomes for students have been the major concern of educationist.
It must be stressed that statistically a profession or occupation that is predominantly women is said to be feminized (Bank, 2007). The Working Group of the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) in Wylie, (2000, p. 1) used the term feminization to “describe the phenomenon of largescale entry into the teaching profession by women…” Elucidating further, the ETUCE made three distinct clarifications: 1) a statistical meaning, used in calculation of percentages of men and women in a given profession; 2) a meaning related to the effects of the weight of numbers; and 3) the rate of access of women into a profession. Although this article does not attempt to portray the teaching profession in Nigeria as being feminized, it points to the fact that if adequate actions are not taken, it is heading in that direction based from a purely statistical standpoint as evidenced from the tables presented in this paper.
Gender disparity is one of the major problems facing the proper deployment of teachers in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. Confirming this, the Federal Ministry of Education (2003) in Alao (n.d.) noted that female teachers compose 53.8% of all teachers delivering basic education, while male teachers are 46.2%. The presence of more female than male teachers is an indication of improvement and increase in female enrolment resulting in the reduction of the gender gap in primary and secondary education as stipulated by UNESCO(1995). However, Oghuvbu (2008) was of the view that more of the school dropouts who re-enter the school system through Adult literacy programs such as National Teachers Institution, N.C.E., and Degree Programs were women. The much publicized Rivers State teacher recruitment exercise in 2013 also revealed that out of 13,118 recruited by SUBEB and SSB, 7,016 were female while 6,102 were male teachers, representing 53.5% and 46.5% respectively (Asodike & Enoch, 2015).
Studies from other African countries revealed that in Mozambique approximately 80% of teachers in primary schools are female, in Lesotho, almost 80% of teachers even in mountain areas account for 70%, while in Malawi 82% of urban teachers are female, while 31% of rural teachers are female (Mulkeen, 2005). As commonwealth countries are present in the majority of global regions, UNESCO (2010) in Kellecher (2011) reports that at a fundamental statistical level, regional statistics show initial indications of divergence when perusing female percentage with the teaching force as evidenced on table 14.
Table 14. Female Teacher Percentage at the Regional Level – Global Overview Region
Source: UNESCO, 2010 in Kellecher (2011, p. 16)

Women in Urban Schools

Statistically, as evidenced from tables 14-18 in this paper, women are increasingly dominating the teaching profession. The majority of these female teachers, especially the married ones, are placed in urban areas. The reasons for this high concentration of female teachers include, among others, harsh conditions in rural areas and the movement of women teachers with their husbands who work in urban centers (Okoroji &Anyanwu, 2013).
Supporting the posting of women teachers to urban area, Nworgu in Okoroji and Anyanwu (2013) opined that
In a home where the wife is a teacher and husband is working either in any of the public sector or in the private [sector] there is the need for them to stay together. This saves the family a lot of money, time and worry; moreover there have been cases where any partner may be found to be showing unfaithfulness to the other if they are separated by their jobs (p.23).
In table 15 to 19, the distribution of teachers has been organized by the Local Government Areas, Senatorial Zones, or location (Urban, semi-urban & rural areas). This corroborates the fact that more women teachers are posted to urban rather than rural schools.
Table 15. Number of Junior and Senior Secondary School Teachers by Sex and Local Government Area [LGA] in Lagos State, July 2013
Source: Lagos State School Census Report, 2015
Table 15 shows that at the junior secondary school level the percentage of female teachers was more than the male teachers in all the 20 Local Government Areas (LGA) in Lagos State. While at the senior secondary school level, 13 LGA had more female teachers than male teachers. The grand percentage from the table shows that 71% of the total teachers in junior secondary in July 2013 were women, while 56% at the senior secondary school were female. Female teachers dominate the teaching profession in Lagos State.
Table 16. Rivers State Summary of Teaching Staff in the Local Government Areas in Public Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) 2010/2011
Source: Rivers State Post Primary Schools Board
Table 16 shows that female teachers (2,758) outnumbered male teachers (2,320) in the 23 Local Government Areas (LGA), Rivers State. The grand total was 54% for female and 47 % for male teachers in July 2010. Critical analysis shows that only 10 LGA had more male teachers than female teachers.
Table 17. Distribution of Teachers by Zones in Imo State in 2011/2012 School Year
Source: Adapted from Analysis of Secondary Schools Staff Strength – Imo State (2015) 
Table 17 shows that the percentage of female teachers was 74% in Owerri zone 1 and 54% in Owerri zone 11, while Orlu 1 and 11 and Okigwe 1 and 11; a semi urban and rural zones had 58%, 55%, 47% and 51% respectively in 2011/2012 school year.
Table 18. Distribution of Teachers by Senatorial District in Secondary Schools In Delta State in 2008
Source: Adapted from Oghuvbu (2008)
Table 18 shows that there were more female (55%) than male teachers (45%) in secondary schools in Delta State in 2008. The Central district had more female teachers (67%), the Central senatorial district had 58% female teacher, while the Northern senatorial district had 47% female teachers.
Table 19. Distribution of Teachers by School Location in Secondary schools in Delta State in 2008
Source: Adapted from Oghuvbu (2008)
 Table 19 shows that the percentage of male teachers (67.6%) in rural schools was more than female teachers (32.4%) considering the number of teachers posted to rural schools. The overall percentage of teachers teaching in rural schools (20%) was less than those serving in semi-urban and urban schools. Only 29.5% of male teachers, compared to 70.5% of female teachers, are serving in urban schools.
Table 20 gives a recent distribution of teachers and by Local Government Areas in the Delta State.
Table 20. Distribution of Secondary School Teachers by Local Government Area in Delta State in 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 School Year
Source: Adapted from Ministry of Education [Basic & Secondary] Asaba, (2015)
Table 20 indicates that there were more female teachers in urban and semi urban areas and also the densely populated areas in the Delta State.

Reasons for the Shortage of Male Teachers in the School

The school environment has predominantly been dominated by more female teachers than male teachers as reflected in the tables in this paper. Some of the factors responsible for more female than male teachers in the school environment include the following:
Low Teacher’s Salary: The salary earned by teachers is unarguably one of the lowest in the country. Historically, men are discouraged from participating in the teaching profession due to the low wages or salaries paid in this profession (Carney, 2007). Prior to this assertion Cooney and Bittner (2001), have expressed that low pay is recognized as one of the factors that dissuades most males from considering teaching as a career. The benefits of teaching, both in the short and long run, are usually monetary. The low wages and salaries paid to teachers therefore discourage men from participating in this profession since it cannot provide the income needed for taking care of the needs of the family. The low wages can, however, be managed by the female teacher who only provide assistance to their husbands.
Flexibility of Teaching: Teaching is seen as one of the most flexible occupations. “Historically, society believed a woman’s place was in her home, caring for her husband and children as opposed to the workplace” (Domenico & Jones, 2006, p.1). While, most men search for an occupation that is challenging, believing that the higher the risk involved in a job the more the reward that can be gotten from such occupation. The flexibility of the teaching profession therefore makes it easy for it to be dominated by female teachers. This makes it possible for them to combine a career with their responsibilities to their families. Most women see teaching as an easy task that can measure up to their strength, provide them with the opportunity of working, and also have time for their families. The flexibility of the teaching profession offers a unique job opportunity to women.
Women are Care Givers: Female teachers have the attributes of passion, tolerance, and encouragement, which students need to excel in school (Thomas, 2002). Incidentally, students in the school environment require these attributes for them to learn effectively. Attributes such as tolerance, sympathy, passion, and honesty are necessary for students to relate properly with others in the school (Scerenko, 1997). Women are in a good position to provide these friendly attributes that enable them to guide the students on how to relate with their fellow students, teachers, and other members of the society.
Women teachers are less likely to use physical punishment. Even if physical punishment is not related to student achievement, it might have a critical negative relationship with the retention of students in the schools. The use of physical punishment in the classroom may have correlations to dropout rates.
Cultural Belief: Occupations with less value are believed to be reserved for women (Rich, 2014). Culture is another factor which contributes to why there are more female teachers than male teachers in the school environment. Cultural beliefs over the years have relegated the responsibilities of the woman to that of menial jobs such as cleaning, teaching and caring. The woman is therefore culturally positioned to be engaged in teaching professions for the sake of ease. The culture of a society may also discourage women from engaging in tedious jobs that conflict with their responsibilities to the family.
Sexual Molestation: One of the factors that has also contributed to the high presence and preference of female teachers to male teachers in primary and secondary schools is the level of sexual molestation recorded among male teachers on female students. Cruise (2004, p.96) stated that “Males perpetrate the majority (80–95%) of sexual abuse, though there are certainly some cases in which female offenders victimize male or female children”. Adding to these facts, Akanle and Asebiomo (2012) noted that in most cases, it is the male teachers who force the female students against their will. Most male teachers demand for sex from the female students as criteria for passing their examinations and providing other academic and non-academic assistance.
The school system at these levels is therefore more protected in the hands of female teachers than male teachers. Female teachers are less involved in the problem of sexual molestation on students and are therefore more preferred for teaching at these levels of education. Female teachers more often provide sexual counseling services for their students rather than take advantage of the students like their male counterparts.
In his own view, Chan (2006) stated that the reasons for more female teachers in schools could be intrinsic or extrinsic. The intrinsic factors include the desire to help others, interest to work with children, working for the nation, working to improve the quality of teaching, social work, improving the environment etc. The extrinsic factors include pay, vacations, and opportunities for advancement i.e. career progression and so on.
In a related view, Jones (2009) added that many reasons for the low participation of male teachers include cultural beliefs regarding childrearing, status, pay, stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. However, the presence of male teachers has been found to contribute immensely to the quality of education in the following ways:
Role models: It is commonly known that boys benefit from male teacher role models, providing fatherly help to them in the school environment (Faulstich-Wieland, 2013). “Men are considered good possible role models, not only for regular education students, but also for students in special education” (Wood, 2012, p.319). The education provided for the male students can only be balanced when they have teachers who can provide masculine help to them. Male teachers are indispensable in the upbringing of the male student; “a popular argument revolves around the idea that men can give boys the opportunity to engage in athletic competition and to let off steam by scuffling, wrestling and playing football” (Faulstich-Wieland, 2013, p.70). In addition, there are other fatherly responsibilities which the male students will find difficult to learn until they are guided by a male teacher. With the changes in family composition and the high rate of divorce, many young children now have little or no contact with men. When male teachers are also absent in schools, children may base their understanding of masculine behaviour on media portrayals, which are often violent and angry. Caring for and teaching young children is an appropriate and necessary role for both women and men.
Reduce Stereotyping: The level of discrimination in the access and provision of education to students can also be greatly reduced when there is a mix in the gender of teachers. Gender equality in the provision of education is a hot topic globally, ensuring that female students have the same access to western education as male students has become a major priority. There is also a need to balance the employment of male and female teachers in a school environment that is already dominated by women. This will help to reduce the level of stereotyping among male teachers and students. According to Scantlebury (2009), the dominance of female teachers in the school setting gives more female students the opportunity to succeed in subjects that are naturally their areas of strength, such as grammar, an area where male students might struggle. This means that the success of the male student in this situation can only be based on hard work rather than natural ability and vice versa (Scantlebury, 2009; Kahle, 2004). Apparently, there is need to provide teachers in the school system that will provide educational services for students based on their learning abilities. In this situation, only the male teachers can provide quality education for the male students, at their own pace, in their areas of comparative disadvantage.
Increased Discipline: Punishment has been perceived over the years as a tool that is needed to instill responsibility in erring students (Chianu, 2007). It is obvious that some deviant students will not be able to benefit from the objectives of education without the provision of discipline for them to control their behaviour while in and outside the school environment. This discipline that is needed to model the behavior of students to comply with the objectives of the school can however be difficult to achieve when the teaching workforce is dominated by female teachers. Nakpodia (2010) noted that discipline is a way of life that conforms to established rules. However, the caring, tolerant and friendly nature of female teachers may make the use of discipline ineffective when it is necessary and this necessitates the presence of male teachers in the school system. This is in addition to establishing order and compliance among students.
Writing on ‘Why we need male teachers’, with the aim of providing males with some reasons to consider becoming a teacher, MIT (n.d) lists the following among others:
● If pupils are taught mostly by female teachersthere is a risk that young people could associate education with females solely. This could significantly limit the type of person that stays in schools past the compulsory leaving age.
● All professions need a gender-balanced workforce and this includes teaching. If pupils do not come across a gender balanced workforce they may feel that teaching is only for a specific type of person.
● Recent studies show that parents want their children to be educated by both male and female teachers. They would welcome a change in the current gender imbalance.
● Male teachers have one thing that female teachers do not. They were once young male pupils. Their personal experiences could provide ideas and innovations that education is currently missing out on.
● Children learn from good role models. Both male and female teachers can be good role models. It is possible that some pupils may respond better to male role models. They should be given the opportunity to access them.
● Some young people do not have any positive male figures in their lives. That is not to suggest that male teachers have to become ‘father figures’, but they certainly can show young people what a responsible, caring and fun man looks like.
● Education has a responsibility to provide pupils with diverse learning experiences. A small part of this has to incorporate the type of teachers they are taught by.
● Female and male teachers may approach teaching from different perspectives. Male teachers may be able to reach disengaged students in a way that female teachers cannot and vice versa.

Challenges to the Increase of Male Teachers in Schools

Increasing the presence of male teachers in the school environment is important to educationalists, parents and guardians whose concern has been the challenge of how best to achieve educational goals and objectives. However, there are diverse challenges which have limited the interest and increase of male teachers in the school setting. Some of these challenges include:
Low Status of Teaching: The low status of teachers is a very common argument for why men have a negative attitude towards the teaching profession. The teaching profession today has a very low status compared to the colonial era and a few years after independence (Anangisye, 2009). The profession has been considered today as a last resort for those who are unable to secure either a white or blue collar job. The declining image of the teaching profession has therefore made it less attractive to male teachers who are constantly in search of a profession that can boost their image and provide other benefits. Wiest (2003) pointed out that increasing access to other occupations has also led to the decline in the choice of teaching jobs by men. The inability to reclaim this lost glory of the teaching profession has therefore led to the exit of male teachers or reduction in the number of male teachers in schools.
Parent Expectation: Parents of children in the school setting perceive the male teacher as incapable of handling the educational needs of their children to the level of their expectations. There is a common perception among parents regarding male teachers, “the idea that men are incapable of dealing with children e.g., for being different, young, rude, and authoritarian” (Rabelo, 2013, p.5). Most men therefore, find it difficult to gain entry into the school environment because parents prefer female teachers for their children to male teachers. Parent’s choice of teachers is therefore a challenge that has limited male teacher’s accessibility into the school environment.
Work Policies: Educational policies around the country in terms of employment quota, payment of salaries, granting of leaves and miscellaneous benefits are usually more favorable to female teachers than their male counterparts. d’Arcy (2004, p.4) stated that “employers are required to examine their policies and practices to ensure the service is male-friendly”. Without revisiting the policies and programs guiding the employment and management of teachers, very few male teachers will be present in the school system. The policies guiding the recruitment and retention of teachers need to be revisited to make it flexible for male teachers to be engaged in the school environment. These policies should also provide the opportunity for the male teachers to have career prospects that will enhance their social mobility in this competitive world.
Societal Perception: Society over the years has perceived the teaching profession to be a job reserved for women. Men who are engaged in teaching are seen as practicing a profession that is outside their prestige. Johnson (2010, p.45) stated that “Until teaching is viewed as a gender neutral profession and its diversity more representative of its student population, educational research on this phenomenon will continue”. This situation has made it difficult for most men to consider teaching as a choice of occupation.

Implications for the Absence of Male Teachers in Schools

The absence of male teachers in the educational sector has diverse consequences both in the short and long run. Some of these implications include but is not limited to the following:
Failure among Male Students: Pech (2011) revealed that the absence of male teachers as role models to boys may have accounted for the reason why more girls succeed in school than the boys. A recent trend indicates that there is an increasing drop-out among male students. Similarly, those who manage to complete their elementary education fail to continue on to higher levels. Pech (2011) similarly pointed out that this may be the reason why more girls obtain higher degrees while boys manage only to obtain a diploma. The absence of male teachers, especially at the elementary level, to encourage the boys to further their education makes it difficult for most boys to excel in school.
Academic Under-achievement: The level of academic achievement in the school can also be limited by the absence of male teachers. Male teachers have been known to be more effective in mathematics and sciences while female teachers perform better in grammar (Dickerson, 2013). It is therefore important that male teachers should be employed in the school system so as to provide a comprehensive educational curriculum for students. This will help the students to do well in all their academic and non-academic endeavours.
Under-utilization of Male Talent: Gormley (2012) noted that the failure to employ male teachers in the classroom would lead to the underutilization of male talent. This implies that it is not enough for the male teachers to be employed in non-academic positions in the school system; they should be employed into positions, such as the classroom, where they can have productive interaction with the students and contribute to the academic performance of students under their watch.
Indiscipline in Schools: The absence of male teachers will create a situation of indiscipline among students in the school. The discipline provided by the female teachers may not be sufficient to address the disciplinary needs of students in the absence of male teachers. Eastin (2003) pointed out that students require the presence of a male figure in the school environment that will help to control their juvenile delinquency. The youthful exuberance in students can be properly managed with the presence of both male and female teachers providing parental functions to the students in the school environment.

Increasing the Presence of Male Teachers in Schools

The presence of male teachers in schools has been highlighted as an important tool for enhancing the quality of education. It is therefore important that effort should be made to encourage the presence of male teachers in the school for a balanced education system. Some of the strategies for increasing the participation of male teachers in the school environment include the following:
Improve the Condition of Service: The condition of teaching needs to be improved in order to encourage more male teachers in the sector. Rich (2014) pointed out that if educators wish to get more men into the classroom, the condition of service must be improved and the pay increased. Housing schemes, health facilities, transport allowance and other benefits that will make the teaching profession lucrative should be provided in order to increase the interest of male teachers in the education system. In Nigeria, salaries should be paid on time.
Educational Policy Re-formation: Most developed countries have enforced policies that enables certain percentages of male participation in the provision of formal education which is set by different governments from year to year to increase the presence of male teachers in the school system (Owen; Peeters; in Jones, 2009). The policies guiding the recruitment and placement of teachers should be made more favorable to male teachers. Male teachers should be given the opportunity for easy employment and should also be provided with a reasonable level of authority and responsibility that will help them build interest in their chosen career.
Gender Balance in Other Professions: Gormley (2012) noted that women in the 21st century have been given the opportunity to thrive in other professions such as business and politics. This step has decentralized the possibility of any individual gaining employment in any sector of the economy. With the presence of more women in other professions, it will become easier for more male teachers to gain employment in the school setting. The teaching profession will be made a competitive profession like the others when more women are considered for elective positions in other sectors of the economy.
Publicize Male Friendly Environment: There is need for increased publicity on the presence of male friendly school environments within the society. This can be done with the use of articles, newsletters and conferences (Wardle, 2008). Schools and other educational institutions with job opportunities that will meet the needs of male teachers should be publicized and advertized on all media outlets that will give the male folk the opportunity to signify their interest.
Admitting Men to Educational Programs: It is important that more male students should be given the opportunity to study in educational programs in the colleges of education across the state. Colleges of education have been perceived as an educational institution for female students. However, when the number of male students admitted into these institutions is increased, it will increase the number of male students who can become teachers in any of the educational levels in the state.


It is important that the salaries of teachers should be subjected to seasonal upward review and the teaching job made as lucrative as possible with other benefits attached. These will make the profession attractive to both male and female teachers who have requisite knowledge in educational programs and teaching experience. The recruitment policies of the government presently should also be reformed in such a way as to provide more male teachers with opportunities of being employed to bridge the gender divide. Educational institutions such as Colleges of Educations and Universities of Education in the country should also reserve some admission slots for male students. This will provide some of the male students the opportunity of acquiring the required knowledge to be gainfully employed as teachers.




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