By BEN. AGANDE
KADUNA – The governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El Rufai has vowed that no amount of threat from labour union would make his government back down from sacking the 22,000 teachers who failed competence tests and replace them with 25,000 new qualified ones.
In a live interview with radio stations in Kaduna monitored by Vanguard, governor El Rufai said every body that has the interest of the education of the citizens of the state in mind should be embarrassed by the failure of teachers who could not answer questions meant for primary four pupils.
The Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT Kaduna chapter recently threatened that its members would embark on strike if the state government goes ahead to sack the 22,000 teachers.
But reacting to the threat in a network radio interview in Kaduna, governor El Rufai said rather than threaten to go on strike, the NUT should be embarrassed by the incompetence of its members adding that “there is no bigger evidence of the crisis in our society than that a union whose members failed a Primary 4 examination thinks it can create problems over the issue rather than be a part of the solution.
“Everybody knows that we will not be deterred in doing what is right for the future of our children. The NUT thinks this is about politics, making a public show of opposing what they know to be right. Shouldn’t everybody be embarrassed by the test results? Where is the sense of shame? I hear some people say the pass mark for a Primary Four exam should be 60%; the same people say the state government has no right to test the competence of its employees. There is no bigger evidence of the crisis in our society than that a union whose members failed a Primary 4 examination thinks it can create problems over the issue rather than be a part of the solution.
“We are not people that bow to threats. We will respond appropriately. What will be point of that strike? To force us to violate our oath of office and knowingly retain as teachers those that are not qualified? That will not happen” he vowed.
Going into the details of how the state degenerated to the level, El Rufai said the recruitment of teachers was politicized, allowing politicians and local government chairmen to turn the primary school sector to a “dumping ground for their thugs”.
“Unqualified teachers entered the system because the recruitment of teachers was politicised. The local government council chairmen and other senior politicians and bureaucrats saw teaching as a dumping ground for their thugs, supporters and other unqualified persons
“Teachers were employed at local government level without adherence to standards. In many instances, no examinations or interviews were conducted to assess the quality of recruits. Political patronage, nepotism and corruption became the yardstick, thus giving unqualified persons a way in. Teaching jobs were given as patronage to those connected to politicians and bureaucrats.
“The Kaduna State Executive Council has approved the recruitment of 25,000 primary school teachers. Recruitment notices have already been advertised by the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB). This time around, there would be standardized tests for the recruits and a further training programme before the new teachers take over the classrooms. No unqualified person will scale through. And we will vet certificates very closely and very often. The future of our children is so important that we will not take chances. We will be vigilant in ensuring that only good people teach in our public schools” he said.