John Shiklam in Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, has said no amount of propaganda, blackmail and deliberate misrepresentation of facts will derail the reforms in the education sector.
Speaking at a consultative meeting with the state members of the National Assembly in Abuja, the governor appealed to the lawmakers to support the reforms to ensure quality education in public schools.
Spokesman to the governor, Samuel Aruwan, in a statement yesterday in Kaduna after the governorâ€™s meeting with the lawmakers on Wednesday, quoted the governor as saying that the reform is not restricted to recruiting and retaining competent teachers but includes the construction and reconstructing of schools, class rooms as well as updating the curriculum and providing facilities.
About 2,000 teachers said to have failed competency test are to be sacked.
This has pitched the governor against the teachers and labour unions, especially, the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) who have vowed to resist the sack.
El-Rufai disclosed that 43,806 applications had been received from prospective teachers.
The state government plans to recruit 25,000 teachers to replace those to be sacked.
The governor said shortlisted applicants would be subjected to oral and practical examinations to be followed by interview and final verification to ascertain the authenticity of their qualifications.
According to him, those who scale through will undergo training on teaching before their deployment to classrooms to teach.
However, the three senators from the state – Danjuma Laah (PDP), representing Southern Kaduna senatorial zone; Shehu Sani (APC), Kaduna Central and Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC), Kaduna North who kicked against the policy were not at the meeting.
The governor said: â€œThe issue of ensuring quality and competent teachers in public schools is something crucial and doable, but it requires courage, sincerity and honesty as guiding principles.
â€œWe are all products of quality public schools and can compete anywhere in the world; we are beneficiaries of quality education from public schools and we have achieved a lot from the sacrifices made by previous leaders.â€
He added: â€œHaving benefitted from quality public education, we must be committed to reviving our public schools.
â€œThe unqualified teachers that are being replaced will get all their rights and entitlements.
â€œThis reform is a necessary hard work, and will not be derailed by propaganda, blackmail, and deliberate misrepresentation of facts.
â€œReform is not restricted to recruiting and retaining competent teachers. We are constructing and reconstructing schools, class rooms, updating the curriculum, providing facilities and teaching aids and teachersâ€™ welfare.
â€œWe removed the career barrier for teachers in 2015. Teachers in Kaduna State can rise to Grade Level 17 (Permanent Secretary grade) without having to stop being teachers.â€
The governor thanked the lawmakers for their immense support irrespective of political parties.
â€œWe all agreed that we must pursue this cause as a path to free present and future generations. There is no future for a country that consigns most of its people to ignorance.
â€œThe key issue here is that we must make sacrifices and provide our children and future generations a quality education that can enhance their life prospects, and guarantee self-reliance for all our people.
â€œThis can only be feasible with quality education in all our public schools at primary and secondary levels.â€