Mr Felix Hassan Hyat, former aviation minister and PDP Chairman in Kaduna State, has cautioned the Kaduna government against sacking 22,000 primary school teachers said to have failed a competence test.
“Sacking 22,000 teachers in one swoop will create chaos in the entire educational system of the state; government’s insistence on doing that is wrong-headed,” Hyat told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Jos.
NAN reports that the state government has begun the recruitment of 25,000 teachers to replace 22,000 others that failed a competence test it carried out recently.
Gov. Nasir El-Rufai has declared that the decision to sack them was based on government’s commitment to entrenching quality, arguing that most of those in the system were not competent and lacked basic teaching requirements.
But Hyat, who declared government’s position as “brash and too hasty”, said that government had no moral right to sack teachers it had never trained to improve their quality.
“Teachers require constant training and retraining to meet rising and changing demands, but there is no record to show that Kaduna State primary school teachers were ever trained.
“A lot of them have not been promoted for decades, while some do not receive salaries regularly. That has affected morale and should worry government. Sacking them will further destroy an already bad system,” he said.
Hyat also faulted the process through which the competence test was conducted.
“The integrity of the process is still being questioned. Some people have suggested that government officials that conducted the test may have been instructed on what to do.
“I feel that the exercise would have been more credible if it was conducted by the National Teachers Institute (NTI) and supervised by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), to ensure fairness to the teachers,” he said.
The PDP chairman said that government should have taken advantage of the presence of NTI in Kaduna to train teachers found to be incompetent, so as to improve their capacities.
“Those said to be incompetent should be trained and not sacked because the new ones being recruited are products of those being sacked.
“Government should have carried out a thorough assessment to determine the kind of training required by each teacher.
“Efforts should have also been made to help those with deficiencies because there is provision for such in-service courses during holidays. A massive sack of teachers will create a huge imbalance in the system,” he opined.
The former minister also advised government to investigate the allegations that names of dead and retired teachers were included in the list of those said to have passed the test.
“The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has said that retired and dead teachers, as well as messengers and security personnel were among those that passed the teachers’ test.
“Government should dig into that allegation because the NUT mentioned names of specific schools in Zaria and Igabi. Government should investigate further to ascertain the truth so as not to ridicule itself,” he said.