Sacking of Teachers Predated  My Administration —El Rufai…Insists on Education Reforms

Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State has said that the sacking of incompetent teachers predated his administration as previous governments have also sacked teachers ,who were caught with fake qualifications.

The Governor ,who made this clarification in a state broadcast, revealed  that  the government of Sir Patrick Yakowa had dismissed 4000 of such teachers who had fake results.

 Governor El Rufai who spoke extensively on education  reforms, recalled that the Yakowa government responded to reports that 50% of primary school teachers were not qualified,  by giving such teachers a five-year deadline to acquire the appropriate qualifications.

‘’The Kaduna State Executive Council, at its meeting of 8th August 2012, after considering the report of the committee on the verification of teachers’ qualifications, gave a five-year window for under-qualified teachers to acquire the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE),’’ he said.

According to the Kaduna State Governor,  this five-year grace period has now expired and that was why his administration weeded out teachers who didn’t have the requisite skills and qualifications to teach, from public primary schools.

EL Rufai also recalled that as  his administration was preparing   to take office in May 2015 from the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP)-led government of Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero, he  received briefings from the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), a DFID programme.

The Governor who noted  that the report was appalling,  said that the summary of pupil and teacher competence levels provided by ESSPIN indicated that 83% of the teachers scored less than 25% in Maths and literacy exams.

In addition, the report also showed that primary two pupils had an average score of 14% in English and 27% in Maths, while primary four  pupils had an average score of 13% in English and 17% in Numeracy, he said.

El Rufai said that ‘’Government responded to the implications of the ESSPIN report by getting the National Open University of Nigeria to conduct a survey of teacher competence. We took further steps to address gaps by arranging training and retraining for the teachers, as follows during the 2016/2017 session. ”

According to him, 11,315 classroom teachers were trained in Literacy and Numeracy through SUBEB and another 3,733 teachers were trained in Reading Skills through the Global Partnership for Education.

Similarly, UBEC trained 5,945 teachers in Pedagogy, Lesson Plans and use of Teachers’ Guides, the Governor further said.

‘’Afterwards, on 3rd June 2017, the Kaduna State Government conducted a competency test for primary school teachers. This test assessed the literacy and numeracy levels of the teachers through a Primary Four test. The government considered that giving teachers a 75% threshold for a Primary Four test was an extremely generous decision,’’ he added.

According to Governor El Rufai,  government seeks to hire 25,000 teachers to replace the disengaged 22,000 and eligible applicants have already applied, adding that all of them university graduates and some even have Masters degrees. In spite of their qualifications, they will still undergo  a written competency test’’, he further said.

Emphasising his passion to improve public schools, the Governor noted that  education is the number one item in the All Progressives Congress(APC) manifesto because it ‘’is a fundamental component of human capital development.

 According to him, ‘’education is an aspirational asset, a tool that enables every human being to widen their horizon, develop skills and lift themselves up. Education is a leveller. It gives the children of the poor a chance to rise above the condition of their birth.’’

 The Governor pointed out that ‘’ a nation of well-educated people offers immense opportunities for social mobility, enabling the poor to move out of poverty by the sheer force of talent and hard work. ‘’

According to him, he has excelled in both his academic pursuits and professional calling owing largely to a sound education which he had received in a Local Education Authority(LEA) primary school, a  public secondary school and a government university.

‘’I had my primary education at Local Education Authority (LEA) School, Kawo. The foundation my teachers gave me in primary school was reinforced by very wonderful teachers at Barewa College, Zaria. The knowledge and hard work of these teachers nurtured the confidence and study habits that enabled me to earn First Class Honours at the Ahmadu Bello University, another public school.

‘’I had not gone to any private school before I established my professional practice in Quantity Surveying in which Allah enabled me and my partners to enjoy considerable success.

‘’I have subsequently acquired further degrees from foreign, private universities, but I am a public school product and a very proud one at that. The other leaders of this government also went through the same public-school experience,’’ he added.

According to El Rufai, his Deputy, Architect  Barnabas Bala also went to LEA Maiduguri Road, Federal Government College, Warri, University of Lagos and Ahmadu Bello University, where he graduated with distinction in Architecture.

The Governor further said that Alhaji Balarabe Abbas Lawal, the Secretary to the State Government and Bashir Saidu, our Chief of Staff, are also products of the public school system.

‘’The irreplaceable Professor Jonathan Andrew Nok started life in LEA Ungwan Rimi, and went on to become a scientist of international acclaim. As our Commissioner of Education, Prof. Nok capably drove our programme to give the younger generations the opportunities we had as children,’’ he added.

El Rufai further said that his generation has been  blessed  by free, quality public education, adding that ‘’while in school, we rubbed shoulders with the children of the rich and the offspring of the top government and military officers.’’

‘’ And we went into the world with the skills to compete with anyone. In fact, people of a certain age will remember that at a point, the standards of our public universities were so high that those who could not get in had to go abroad.’’

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