El-Rufai Vs NUT: The Battle For Educational Reforms

By Segun Ojo

From the beginning of civilisation until now education has been the major propellant behind man’s voyage in all spheres of life. We all can testify to the spectacular jump in human knowledge and its applications particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Though, our mediocre education has taken us this far, if we can call where we are far. But how much farther can it take us in an ever competitive world. It is sickening to see that we are bent on making education totally irrelevant to our quest to be counted among the biggest economies of the world.

Looking at the trending educational crisis in Kaduna state between Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, relating to the competency test organized by the state government for 33,000 primary school teachers out of which 21,780 teachers woefully failed the primary four pupils examination organized for them. One begin to wondering ,even asking a rhetorical question that who really is a teacher and who could a pupil be when teachers who were supposed to be a role model for the pupils in primary school, to give basic and qualitative education they deserve, could act so disrespectful to the profession that gave birth to them. …who really is a teacher?

The teacher stands at the most important point in the educational process and must be well versed in the act of teaching. This means that a person called teacher must have acquired the skills required to perform his/her role. A teacher should be someone who had undergone a long period of socialized training and is regarded as a moral instructor, moral educator and a moral model for his/her students. Teaching as a profession has to do with impacting skills, knowledge, information, and attitude among others to the learner. The quality of teachers found in our primary schools goes a long way in determining the quality of pupils from this level of education.

Therefore, teaching cannot be done by just anybody because it involves a body of knowledge being impacted to a less experienced or immature person through conscious and deliberate approach, that teaching as a process requires some knowledgeable personalities, who offer the necessary knowledge and skills to another person. No education can rise above the quality of its teachers.

Developing a functional pool of trained intelligence that will drive the building of a virile nation is a daunting and time consuming exercise which unfortunately never ends. And no country can depend on the human capital of other countries to provide solutions to its development challenges. The critical importance of a locally available highly trained workforce in nation building is undeniable.

And as being posited that a unionist is always believe to be someone who sees reasons to every situation and believes in truth and plight of members in a reasonable manner. Therefore, there is need for the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Kaduna state chapter to see reasons why the 21,780 teachers who failed the primary four pupils examination have not done well to motivate a true spirit of unionism to fight for them but to rather leave the system for the competent and fresh brain to come in, because the hands that build do not destroy and teachers are known as small god who preach knowledge in any society. A house built on faulty foundation cannot stand.

Many things may go wrong between the state government and the teachers but the fact  still remains that education reform is a necessity that all need to embrace, as government, teachers, unionists, stakeholders, parents and other members of the society, qualitative and basic education is as important as the daily meal to any human.

Disappointing, when the NUT Chairman, Kaduna state chapter, Audu Amba was claimed to have said those failed teachers are his members and they have duty to protect them, the question that may come to mind is that, is Kaduna NUT happy with how their members failed an exam that was meant for primary four pupils in the state, or do they enjoy the song of failure people are singing for their members?

NUT should look beyond protecting members’ course but rather think of the children whose lives will be affected in the system. Unionists and teachers are also parents to some children; they should imagine what their notion will be if their wards are being thought by some set of teachers who could not only speak good English but also failed a primary four pupil examination in a larger number. Lord Lugard said if a tree is cut in the forest imagine what your reaction will be if such an act is done to you. A blind does not lead a blind.

Every state of the nation need to go back to the drawing board of education reform because we cannot continue politicizing the process of educational sector and want a better result. Making a reference to some states of the nation who take the lead in the education reform particularly at primary school level, Osun is one of those states who is in forefront for education reform per excellence.

Considering the quality of primary school teachers in Osun state one will have to commend the efforts of the government and the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his kind hearted in making qualitative basic education a necessity for children in the state. Construction of ultra model schools with modern facilities for the pupil across the state in order to ensure a conducive learning environment.

What a comparison! There is a need for Kaduna NUT and umbrella body of workers – NLC to give a full support to Governor El-Rufai in his fresh campaign to revive the primary school education from unqualified teachers who could not pass the basic assessment of their pupil. If the teachers and the NUT failed to see any good in what the Governor is doing then they should realize that a blind does not lead a blind.

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