By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
The hopes of 21, 780 Kaduna state sacked teachers to get President Muhammadu Buhari assistance in appealing to their state governor, Nasru El-Rufai, to reinstate them was on Monday dashed after the president threw his weight behind the ongoing education reform in the state.
Buhari, who was apparently cad over standard of education in the country, described the present state of education in the country as pathetic considering the outcome of the competency test conducted for teachers in Kaduna state where teachers coyuld not pass the exam they set for their pupila.
Buhari, who spoke at a special retreat of the Federal Executive Counicl (FEC) in Abuja, endorsed the primary education reforms being carried out by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state.
“It is a very tragic situation we are in, and this our gathering is one of the most important ones in this administration. I listened to one of the Nigerians I respect, he said after his training here in Nigeria and the United States, he went to his alma mater, his primary school to see what he could contribute. I won’t mention his name but when he went, he couldn’t differentiate between the students, the children and the teachers. And what el-Rufai is trying to do now is exactly what that man told me about 10 years ago.”
The president said the effect of decay in the education sector was glaring, vowing that his administration would change the situation for the better.
Buhari, while comparing the standard of education in the country few years after independence, hinted that as an orphan, the boarding school he attended helped shaped his career.
“I spent nine year in boarding school, three in primary school and six in secondary school. In those days, teachers treat students like their own children. If you did well, they will tell you, you didn’t, they wouldn’t spare the rod. When I finished my secondary school, I didn’t work for a day, I refused to work for a day. I left home, I refused to work in the local government, and then I joined the army.’’
It would be recalled that as part of the reforms, Kaduna state government carried out an assessment test on all its 33,000 primary school teachers to determine their suitability as teachers.
Of the number that engaged in the test, no fewer than 21,000 of the teachers fail to score the mandatory 75 per cent of the primary four examination administered.
Effecting the outcome of the test, the governor sacked the teachers that failed the test, just as he announced plans to employ no fewer than 25, 000 teachers as replacement.
The organised labour is currently inflamed by the decision of Kaduna government, but the government warned that there was no going back in the interest of posterity.