Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has said that no amount of blackmail and propaganda will stop him from reforming education in the state.
He made this assertion on Thursday during a consultative meeting with members of the National Assembly from Kaduna State.
Controversy trails the decision of the state government to sack about 22,000 teachers who failed the competency test conducted for them in June.
However, the governor maintained that “the education reform is necessary hard work, and will not be derailed by propaganda, blackmail, and deliberate misrepresentation of facts; reform is not restricted to recruiting and retaining competent teachers.”
“We are constructing and reconstructing schools, classrooms, updating the curriculum, providing facilities, teaching aids and teachers’ welfare. We removed the career barrier for teachers in 2015; teachers in Kaduna State can rise to Grade Level 17 (Permanent Secretary grade) without having to stop being teachers.”
Governor El-Rufai further called on the lawmakers to help save future generations from ‘servitude’ by ensuring that quality public education is offered in the state.
He informed them that government has received 43,806 applications from prospective teachers in public primary schools in the state, adding that all shortlisted applicants would be subjected to oral and practical examinations.
According to him, interview and final verification would also be conducted to ascertain the authenticity of their qualifications, while those who scale through the screening would undergo further training before their deployment to classrooms.
“The issue of ensuring quality and competent teachers in public schools is something crucial and doable, but it requires courage, sincerity and honesty as guiding principles.
“We are all products of quality public schools and can compete anywhere in the world – we are beneficiaries of quality education from public schools and we have achieved a lot from the sacrifices made by previous leaders.
“Having benefitted from quality public education, we must be committed to reviving our public schools. The unqualified teachers that are being replaced will get all their rights and entitlements,” he said.
The governor thanked the lawmakers for their immense support for the state government irrespective of their political parties.
He further explained the rationale behind government’s decision to sack the teachers who failed the competency test, saying the future of the younger generation was unsafe in their hands.
He said: “We all agreed that we must pursue this cause as a path to free present and future generations. There is no future for a country that consigns most of its people to ignorance.
“The key issue here is that we must make sacrifices and provide our children and future generations a quality of education that can give their life prospects, and guarantee self-reliance for all our people. This can only be feasible with quality education in all our public schools at primary and secondary levels.”
The Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, Yakubu Barde, who led the lawmakers to the meeting, assured the governor of their support.
He said they would continue to work assiduously with the government in championing the progress and development of Kaduna State.