By: Zailani Bappa –
In his adamant resolution to sack 23,000 primary school teachers in his state, the Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai is credited as saying:
“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”.
From the foregoing, the Governor seems to allege that in certificated teachers were employed or graduates of unrecognised institutions were employed. This is my deduction, anyway. If it turns out to be so, then he has every ground to sack them. It would have been colossal official fraud, however, if 23,000 out of 33,000 will be so employed in that state.
In any case, if all the teachers in question do have a minimum of NCE, and bear certificates from recognised institutions, but were not interviewed as he alleged, then they should be formalised by being interviewed as required by law and their appointments properly validated.
However, if they have the minimum certificates required, acquired from recognised institutions, and were properly engaged, the Governor has no moral right to sack them based on failing some hasty, questionable examination conducted on them by the same corrupt system he allegedly processed their appointments.
I have written earlier on this, faulting the decision. This Governor, today, reiterated his decision. I am faulting it again. Sacking them is not a solution to the decay in public primary schools. Neither employing new ones to replace them can be a solution to the problem. This is because the same “garbage” is milled out from the same institutions that earlier milled the same garbage he dumps.
I was privilege to be on an interview panel for some fresh graduates seeking for a job in one of the Federal establishments sometimes ago. The first person was asked to briefly say something about himself. He began, “I was completed my University…”! This is a reflection of the entire system in this country. And the Governor did not tell us if he was sourcing his new set of teachers outside the Nigerian system.
Moreover, the Governor, no matter how much he tries to screen the new employees, they are undergoing the same process the ones he will sack underwent, under the same officials he charged with all the allegations poor and corrupt recruitment procedure, under the same system.
Until we take an honest, decisive and a holistic approach to addressing the rot in our educational system at all levels, the only fair and sane option for the Governor as at now, is to retain these teachers and massively vote for intensive capacity building, re-training and multi tasking approach to value added lessons to these teachers. Sacking them will remain the most bizarre and clandestine decision to implement, irrespective of good intent.