The Controversy That Is Kaduna Teachers, By Mukhtar Jarmajo
Posted On Nov 22, 2017
Usual of him, Mallam Nasiru Elrufai, the Kaduna state governor is yet to even indicate any sign that the decision by his government to sack about twenty two thousand primary school teachers may be revisited despite the hues and cries that greeted its announcement. But those who know the governor know that it is most unlikely that the government would even give the matter a second thought. The announcement of the decision, which followed conduct of a competency test by the state government, has already caused heated debate in the polity.
While many a commentator holds the opinion that in the interest of a greater Kaduna state, the teachers should be sacked, many other commentators appear to think that to save the future of Kaduna state, the teachers should rather be retired. Others however, expressed the opinion that the teachers should be transferred to other ministries, departments or agencies where they may fit in.
What is apparent meanwhile is that most of the commentators seem to agree that the teachers should not remain. How they should go is what has been a matter for the debate. And now, the world is waiting to see how Governor Nasiru Elrufai would end this controversy that is Kaduna-teachers. If meanwhile, the governor decides to begin to think that not all problems are resolved radically, some problems are actually resolved through dialogue and negotiations, the matter would be resolved amicably.
After all, this is democracy where all government policies and programs are expected to have human face and be people oriented. Thus, where the leadership and followership appear to be on different pages, it is the responsibility of the leadership to rally round all stakeholders in the matter to reach a particular level of understanding with a view to arriving at a solution that would be in the interest of all.
Governor Elrufai should be commended for identifying the problems in the Kaduna state education sector and insisting that the right thing should be done to save future generations. What the governor did is in line with the administrative thought that it is the responsibility of a leader to identify the right thing and insist on doing the right thing. Administratively, there is this idea of doing the right thing and doing things right.
While as indicated earlier, the leader insists on doing the right thing, his aides, advisers, staff and or subordinates are to work on doing things right. A right thing wrongly done becomes a wrong thing, let alone a wrong thing rightly done. Thus, the controversy that is Kaduna-teachers may just be lying between doing the right thing and doing things right.
Therefore, in order to do things right, the Kaduna state government was supposed to first holistically look at education and identify key actors whose actions or inactions have direct bearing on its quality. And these are parents, the society and the government. By this, it becomes quite clear that quality education is not determined merely by teacher qualification but also by the approach of parents, the society and government towards administration of education.
And it is true that the trio of parents, the society and government, not only in Kaduna state in particular, but also in Nigeria in general, treat matters of education with utter disdain. Today, many parents place education low in their priority lists. Much the same, in a manner as to show how low the society places education, unlike in the past, teachers are no longer highly placed and respected in the polity. Government on its part, hardly adequately fund and effectively administer education.
So in the attempt at resuscitating education, the first thing to do was to come together and ask that all stakeholders begin to treat education matters with the requisite attention and commitment. And being the policy maker and the main driving force of development, the government of Kaduna state under the able leadership of Nasiru Elrufai should have first rolled out and made public a plan on how it intended to revamp education. This would have earned the project public confidence and gave the people hope for a better tomorrow.
The plan would of course mention in plane terms how government intended to adequately fund education, increase teachers remuneration, pay more attention on teacher training and retraining and provide better learning atmosphere. The plan should also mention the level of rot in the Kaduna state education sector as the reason for the competency test.
And given that all matters relating to staff compulsory retirement or dismissal usually bring about industrial disharmony, for the purposes of confidence and credibility, the Kaduna state government was supposed to involve the National Teachers` Institute (NTI), Teachers` Registration Council (TRC), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and any other body deemed important in this regard to play identified roles in the conduct of the competency test that eventually disqualified about twenty two thousand teachers.
This wouldn’t have only given credibility to the exercise, it would have gone as far as answering the question to the effect that, aside the NTI, is there any other organization or committee that can either certify or disqualify anyone as a teacher?
Jarmajo wrote from Bauchi.