The recent move by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to sack about 22,000 primary school teachers in the state who flunked a competency test based on a primary four entry level examination is not only commendable but a step in the right direction. The plan which also involves replacing the sacked teachers with qualified ones who have been thoroughly screened and tested will go a long way in sanitizing the rot in our educational system and saving the future of the next generation.
Over the years, there have been hues and cries by several Nigerians complaining about the rot in our educational sector. Various educational summits have been organized by both private and government institutions seeking a redress of the imbalance and rot bedeviling education in this country. Our Universities now produce graduates who are at best certified illiterates since most of them cannot defend the certificates that they possess. The situation is not different both at the secondary and primary level of education. Cheating to pass examinations has now become the order of the day resulting in a society with an abundance of certificates but with a low level of knowledge. Most of the teachers that the Governor plans to sack were recruited by past political leaders in the state who saw the education sector as a dumping ground for all shades of characters including supporters, thugs, acolytes, associates,e.t.c in blatant disregard of their aptitude and qualification.
That is why i am stupefied by the opposition from various quarters to the Governor’s bold move to cleanse the Augean stable. Most of those opposing the planned sack of the teachers are either doing so out of ignorance of the fact that the sacked teachers would be replaced by qualified teachers which means that there is no increase in the labour market or are doing so out of mischief, malice, blind political opposition or an amalgam of the afore stated reasons. What they are doing unbeknownst to them is placing sentiments above merit. Many of them have their children schooling overseas or in private schools in this country so they cannot contemplate the level of decay in the education sector. The hypocrisy of the labour unions in Nigeria is openly manifest since they did not deem it fit to carry out protests in over 20 states of the federation that are owing workers salaries and allowances for over a year now but are quick to respond to a move to replace unqualified teachers with qualified ones in Kaduna.
In the words of the Governor,“We are not sacking teachers. We are only replacing unqualified people who are unfit to be called teachers to save the future of the next generation”. Former Governor Adams Oshiomohle of Edo state tried a similar move some years ago when he discovered to his chagrin that a teacher in a secondary school in the state could not read a text in a Literature textbook. However, he soft pedaled on his plan due to widespread opposition and political exigencies. That is why i commend the endorsement of El-rufai’s messianic move by President Muhammadu Buhari.The endorsement by the President will no doubt go a long way in strengthening the hands of the Governor against the hoaring voices of his traducers.