The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday said that its move to reintroduce the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) in the state was borne out of the need to further strengthen the education sector.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting on a `Bill for a Law to Provide for the Establishment of the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission for the Control and Management of the Teaching Service Matters and for Connected Purposes`.
Obasa, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni, said: “this all important bill tries to encapsulate all the things needed to make the transfer of knowledge in our schools seamless“.
The speaker said that all the suggestions of stakeholders would be factored in the final bill that would be passed by the House.
Doing an overview of the bill, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, the Majority Leader of the House, said it seeks to repeal the Lagos State Post-Primary Teaching Service Law Cap. L54, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.
According to Agunbiade, the bill will strengthen educational institutions and take care of the teaching and non-teaching staff as well as protect members of the commission.
“The bill has 56 sections and 5 schedules and the intendment is to strengthen educational institutions, especially the post primary.
“It is also to take care of teachers and ensure that only professionally qualified teachers will be teaching in Lagos State. This is noble and will prevent infiltration in the teaching profession,’’ he said.
Agunbiade said that the bill properly validated the creation of the six education districts in the state.
He said that the bill also provided for the establishment of the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission Board, consisting of five full-time members who shall be appointed by the Governor.
The bill, among other things, empowers the commission to exercise control over all the education districts by coordinating the management of districts.
Stakeholders took turns to commend the bill, but expressed some reservation on composition of the boards and creation of state registration of teachers unit among others.
In her contribution, Mrs Oyefunke Adepoju , the First Vice President of the All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) called for representation of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and ANCOPSS on the board.
Mr Segun Raheem, the Lagos State Chairman of NUT, who noted that the bill was important, however, said that the five-member board of the commission was inadequate to cater for the large population of the teachers.
Raheem also cautioned against tendencies to make Tutor Generals/Permanent Secretaries (TGs/PS) of the six Education Districts subservient to their counterparts in the commission and Ministry of Education.
On the bill’s establishment of the Teachers Registration Unit, the union leader said this was unnecessary as the teachers in the state had registered with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).
“If we want to put things right, the TGs/PS for the education districts should be appointed from the serving principals in the state, rather than choosing officers from the ministry,’’ he said.
Mr Gbolahan Enilolobo, the Coordinator, Lagos Chapter of TRCN, who noted that teaching profession has to be professionalised, also said the state Teachers Registration Unit was not necessary.
“Almost 96 per cent of teachers of both public and private schools in the state have been certified by TRCN and the certificates are internationally recognized,’’ Enilolobo said.
Speaking with newsmen, Mr Olanrewaju Ogunyemi, the Chairman, House Ad hoc Committee on Education said: “It is the wisdom the state government to harmonise two laws.
“By the time we look at the observations and comments, we will come out with a clean bill that would strengthen the education sector’’.
According to him, the intention is for the state to have a commission to look at promotion, transfer of teachers, discipline and others.
“We want to assure the parents that public schools would be properly operated and they can be sure that their children are in safe hands.
“There would be more discipline on the part of the teachers and that would translate to discipline on the part of the students and the education sector,’’ Ogunyemi said.
He said that the state education would be better than what it used to be.