The Federal Government has assured qualified teachers of improved working conditions for optimum productivity.
Mr Sonny Echono, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, disclosed this in an interview with journalists, after monitoring the Computer-Based Test (CBT) teachers Professional Qualification Examination (PQE), in Abuja on Saturday.
NAN reports that the PQE was introduced in 2017 for teachers. Only those who passed the written examination are certified qualified to teach in the country.
Echono said that the Federal Government was looking at ensuring a strong foundation for education, stressing that ensuring quality teachers was the starting point.
“We must have committed and qualified teachers; we also want to ensure that the teaching environment is in order.
“We have done a lot in terms of our curriculum and we will continue to enhance the curriculum to make it more responsive to the needs of tomorrow and the future.
“Teachers welfare will be our top priority in order to attract more hands into the teaching profession and to avoid migration to other greener pastures,” he said.
Speaking on Local Government Autonomy Bill, Echono said that President Muhammadu Buhari had teachers’ welfare at heart and had ensured they got their salaries and other allowances in good time.
“We are pushing that they should have direct fund charge so that they will be paid the same way as our legislators and judiciary officers
“We are looking to other allowances to encourage teachers in the area of science and rural posting; we are going to be rolling out big Adult Literacy Programme in 2020.
“We discovered that over 50million of our people missed out first opportunity to get an education. We do not want to waste money and build new schools or facilities. We will use existing facilities across the country, ” Echono stated
He further stated that the programme would be run in the evening or weekends to help promote adults education for those working to support their family.
“Our teachers will now have additional work and income by teaching the curriculum that we have developed.
“The programme will also focus on girls child and we have 11 focused states.
“We have a lot of efforts to make to correct the negative figures we have in terms of access to education and quality learning,” he said.
He commended the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) for organising what he described as “transparent exams process” in 47 CBT centres across the country.
“More than 77,000 candidates are writing the PQE across the 36 states including the FCT under the close supervision of TRCN,” he said.
According to him, the Dec. 31 deadline to end quackery in the teaching profession in Nigeria still stands.
He added: “The exams will continue, but today is just a final exam before Dec. 31 deadline. After this, we are going to move those who are not qualified outside the system.”
The permanent secretary said that the government was working on creating a teachers database to collate the data of certified and qualified teachers.
“Anyone not certified or qualified to teach will not have any place in our classroom. We will begin the implementation in January 2020.
“We have also asked the TRCN to continue PQE to accommodate individuals who are just registering or who intend to write the exams,” Echono added.
He said that computer literacy was now compulsory for anyone aspiring to be a teacher.
Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, the Registrar of TRCN, in his remarks, said that Africa alone had a deficit of seven million teachers and that Nigeria accounts for the largest number.
“We need a lot of teachers in our schools. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 year; when you get to some schools, you will find only four teachers in the entire school.”
He said that the test was smooth across the states, except in Ekiti where it was postponed due to technical issues at the CBT centres.
Josiah assured candidates in Ekiti that the exams would be rescheduled in the next few weeks.
NAN reports that Lagos State has the highest number of candidates with 8,224, followed by Oyo State with 5,599, Ogun 4,448 and Adamawa, 3,779.
Sokoto State has the lowest numbers of candidates with 360 candidates.