Kaduna State government says there is no going back in its decision to sack the 21,780 teachers who failed competency test.
The ‘Primary Four Test’ was administered by the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) in June to access their quality in terms of service delivery.
Addressing a news conference in Kaduna over the weekend, SUBEB Chairman, Nasir Umar, said out of the 33,000 teachers that sat for the exam, 21,780 failed to score the 75% agreed benchmark while only 11,000 got 75% and more.
He said no qualified teacher would be affected in the exercise, except those that failed the test which was conducted more than four months ago.
“We started training of those teachers. Unfortunately, we realised that no matter how much we put into the training and monitoring, it will not have a positive result because there was a wide gap between the teachers and the pupils – that was one of the reasons why we conducted the test,” he added.
“This government is doing everything possible to ensure that there is sanity in our public primary schools and due to that, a list of teachers who scored 75 percent and above was released; this does not mean that those who didn’t see their names to remain at home.”
Mr Umar said affected teachers who have served less than five years would have their appointment terminated without benefit while those from five years above would be retired from service with their entitlements in line with the Civil Service Rule.
He hinted that the teachers have been given three months’ notice to prepare for their exit from service, noting that they have become a liability for the state and were no longer trainable.
Explaining how the government arrived at the figure, he said: “This competency test which we organised involved all stakeholders in the education sector, the SSG was the chairman and supported by the Head of Service; Other members include members of the press, members from the NUT, Teachers Registration Council.
“After the conduct of the examination, we fixed the date for the marking, we invited those who mark NECO and WAEC examination to mark our own exams and we told them we want conference marking, that no marker should take any script outside the hall.
“After they finished the work, we still invited other educationists to vet the scripts and they came out with that result. So, it was not something secret and we have the script of each teacher, and if any teacher is not satisfied, we are ready to bring out the script and remark”.
However, the decision to disengage a large number of teachers did not augur well with the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers(NUT) in the state.
NUT Chairman in the state, Titus Ambah, who said although they support the sack of quack teachers from service, alleged that government had breached their agreement on the cut off for the test.
He said, “As a professional body, we supported government to find a way of fishing out people who ordinarily have no business on the teaching profession and as the leader of the teachers, I will not stand here and see quack teachers among us and keep quiet.
“We went into the field, conducted this very exam, came out with the result and agreed that this is the cut off mark – for every teacher that calls himself a teacher, this is the cut-off mark. Later we heard it in the media that government said the cut off mark is supposed to be 75 against what we agreed.”
Ambah, however, accused the government of victimising members of the union, saying they would resist the decision by embarking on an industrial action.
“So, it is sending fear and agitation our members, so we need to speak so that our members will understand our position.
“We have resolved as a union that if by this very exam that was given to our teachers – which it was not even what we all agreed at our committee level headed by the SSG – if any teacher is being relieved of his or her appointment, the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Kaduna State wing may not guarantee industrial harmony with the government of Kaduna State,” he added.
Meanwhile, the State Ministry of Education said it has declared a state of emergency in the sector due to the decay of infrastructure and lack of competent manpower.
The ministry also informed that it has commenced the recruitment of qualified teachers with the sole aim of bringing back the dignity of education in the state.