El-Rufai requests govt officials enrol children in public schools, to set example with son/ El-Rufai

The Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has announced the intention of his administration to make its senior officials enrol their children and wards in government-owned schools, adding that he will show personal example with his son who will turn six in 2019.

Speaking in a broadcast details of which were released on Sunday, he said, “As we make progress, we will require our senior officials to enrol their children in public schools. And I will by personal example ensure that my son that will be six years of age in 2019 will be enrolled in a public school in Kaduna State, by God’s grace."

NVS is aware that public primary schools in Nigeria are largely poorly funded, ill-equipped and staffed with inadequate, and sometimes incompetent teachers, are usually attended by children and wards of low-income earners and the poor in the country.

This much was observed by the governor, who said public schools in Nigeria lack facilities and good teachers.

He explained that one of his goals is to have only graduates as primary school teachers, arguing that the educational attainments of a country like Finland shows that this is the way to go.

His words, “We do not agree that we should restore Grade 2 teacher training. But we must improve the intellectual capacity of teachers that the NCE should give way ultimately to first and second degrees as minimum teaching qualifications. Kaduna ranks first among the northern states, and 12th in the country overall in WAEC scores. We can be the best if we do not relent in reforming our schools."

“We said many schools did not have roofs, doors, windows, water and toilets, and we promised to fix it. As soon as we took office, we also sadly learnt that at least 50 per cent of school pupils sat on floors due to the absence of desks and chairs. Therefore, under no circumstance would we subjugate the future of the two million pupils in public primary schools, and those coming after them, to the interests of unqualified teachers."

He said the attitude of indifference to public education resulted in the recruitment of teachers at local government level without adherence to standards.

“We found that 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 unsuitable persons. 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,” he said.

El-Rufai stated that his government has spent more than N625 million on training since 2015 noting that thousands of teachers were trained in literacy, numeracy, reading skills and in other subjects of the teaching profession. It would be recalled that two-thirds of primary school teachers in Kaduna state failed to score up to 75 per cent when a competency test, largely made up of primary four questions, was set for them.

The governor stated that the competency test revealed that many of the teachers do not have the basic knowledge, and are incapable of imparting what they do not have.

He said, “the competency test results clearly showed that the training programmes had recorded, at best, only limited impact. The results of the competency test profoundly disappointed us. It showed that much of the monies spent on training teachers since 2011 had been wasted.

“The honest truth is that many of these teachers should themselves be adult education students, being taught basic literacy and numeracy. The government came to the conclusion that it is not further training that teachers who cannot score 75 per cent in a Primary Four exam require. In these circumstances, the government took the difficult, but necessary decision, to disengage all the teachers who did not meet the 75 per cent threshold. This has been done in accordance with the terms of their employment, and their entitlements will be payed, as appropriate".

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has accused El-Rufai of violating a court order on the controversial sack of 22,000
teachers in the state.

The body, in a New Year message by its president, Ayuba Wabba, regretted that the Kaduna state government proceeded to conduct fresh recruitment test for new teachers in defiance of the industrial court decision.

The message reads, “Despite the wise counsel of well-meaning Nigerians and protestations from the Congress, including an injunction from the National Industrial Court (NIC) which had ruled that the status quo should be maintained till the determination of the substantive suit brought before it by the unjustly dismissed workers and unions in Kaduna State, Governor El-Rufai, like all despots, has remained adamant.

“Last Friday, 29th December, 2017, Governor El-Rufai authorised Education Secretaries and relevant local government authorities to commence the distribution of sack letters to teachers and local government workers in the 23 local government areas of the state beginning from Tuesday, 2nd January, 2018.

“While some state governments are struggling to devise ways of bringing succour to workers and the people generally in the New Year, Governor el-Rufai’s Christmas and New Year gift to the working people of Kaduna State and their families is tears and sorrow.

“Under this atmosphere of disregard for the rule of law and decency, Congress is left with no other option than to use all legitimate means to challenge the crass impunity and despotism being displayed by Governor el-Rufai. It will therefore give effect to the Congress National Executive Council (NEC) decision to observe January 11, 2018 as a day of solidarity with the workers of Kaduna State, and shall mobilise Nigerian workers to march for the reversion of the sacked workers in Kaduna City.”


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