El-rufai’s Education Policy And The NLC’s Resistance

IT is no gainsaying stressing the fact that Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has a strong determination at improving the quality of education in that state. In this regard, he deemed it imperative to conduct a competency test for the teachers in the public primary schools.

The objective of this test was to determine the levels of competence, efficiency and commitment towards realising the set-goals and objectives.The government, by this action, has not gone beyond its mandate as being canvassed by some observers.To the utmost surprise of the discerning minds, the outcome of the exercise was horrible.

Most of us in the education field are yet to recover from the shocks which we experienced at the scenario of this unfortunate development in which the teachers failed the tests meant for the pupils in primary four.

It is an irony of tragic and monumental proportion to observe that the teaching personnel who are supposed to teach the pupils the correct academic inputs are caught in the web of failing the same tests as administered.Most of their pupils have been discovered to be academically better off than their teachers comparatively.What a paradox?

The option left to the disappointed Governor is to ease them out of the system to prevent further damages to the education sector in the state. Also, the government is poised to replace them with qualified, competent and better tutors with the significant objective of taking the education to a better level.

The furore generated by this development was anticipated, but, quite unfortunate. Ordinarily, one is fatally disappointed at the NLC’S selfish approach to the whole saga.The NLC and NUT leaders unwittingly resorted to cheap and open blackmail, propaganda, campaigns of calumny and villification, threats and intimidation to armtwist or hoodwink the government into rescinding its decision on this matter.

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They carried out these actions without putting forth suggested solutions at improving the quality and standard of education in Kaduna state and by extension the whole Nigeria.The trade union leaders acted as if nothing went wrong with the education system. Should it not have behoved on them that the teachers woeful performance in the academic exercise is an indictment on the union?

It depicts the body as an organisation of dead woods whose professional competences and abilities are in serious doubt.To them, their dullard-colleagues have no faults.The trade union leaders are more interested in the check-off dues being deducted from the monthly salaries of their incompetent collegues and paid to the coffers of the unions on regular basis.

It is conjecturing asserting that the trade union leaders have their wards in the public schools.One can reasonably infer that the trade union leaders have acted in bad faith.

It is indubitable that sending 21,000 able bodied personnel into joblessness can be counter productive in the sociological sense and context. But, relegating merit to the background to appease the gods of mediocrity is totally unacceptable. Reabsorbing the sacked teachers into the system is not a viable option.

In this circumstance, one can only appeal to Governor El-Rufai to commute their dismissal from service to retirement with benefits.This shall give them soft landing and set them from stigma.Hence, they won’t be parts of the social problems confronting us in Northern Nigeria. An idle hand is a devil’s workshop.

Better still, the government may revert to the re-grading system and offer the few better performers a second chance of re-writing another test. I am of the conviction that this diplomatic approach shall calm down the strained nerves.

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At this juncture, it is meet and proper to observe that the incompetence of the teaching personnel is not limited to Kaduna state alone, the rot permeates the entire teaching- learning system in the Nigeria’s education landscape.By extension, there are dead wood in other professions, viz; engineering, law and medicines, just to mention a few.

Hence, the professional teachers across board in Nigeria should see the Kaduna episode as a challenge and brace up to improve themselves on their various areas of specialisation and general knowledge. Governments at all levels in Nigeria should be proactive in the training and retraining of the teaching personnel and other professionals to improve their lots in terms of ability, competence and efficiency.

The leaderships of the various trade unions in Nigeria should synergise with the governments on ways of improving the professional competence of their members.



By Akeem Adebiyi, Ibadan.

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