Bayelsa Gov, Dickson Vows Not To Lay-Off Teachers

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has said that his government will not sack any teacher in the state as from January 2018.

The Governor said that the government would rather train and retrain the teachers in the state’s primary and secondary schools as well as others for greater productivity.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, on Thursday, said that the governor gave the assurance during the inauguration of the governing councils of Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education, Sagbama, and the Bayelsa State College of Health Technology, Otuogidi.

He, however, said that only teachers with fake certificates or those who refused to be at their duty-posts to work should have reasons to be afraid of being sacked.

He urged the chairmen and members of the new governing boards to ensure that only people who should be in the institutions were engaged.

Dickson stressed that the previous practice in the state where unborn children, octogenarians and retirees were dubiously included in the payroll should not be tolerated.

He said the government would provide grants to all state-owned tertiary institutions with effect from January 2018 as well as beef up their infrastructure and enhance their revenue generating capacity.

Nasir -Rufai And The Question Of Mediocrity, By Sonola Olumhense

I wholeheartedly applaud the decision of Kaduna State governor Nasir el-Rufai to fire nearly 22,000 of his teachers and replace them with tested ones.

The decision followed a process in which two of every three teachers could not pass a Primary Four competency test. On Twitter last Thursday, the governor published some of the atrocities produced by some of the teachers in the test.

Read some of those papers, Senator Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna Central Constituency), and you should be ashamed. The senator rushed to the press, describing the firing plan as the “height of lunacy,” and as “a plot to employ political loyalists of the governor.”

According to the Senator, “(Governor El-Rufai) promised the people of the state that he will enroll his children in public school when he becomes governor, he has not only failed to do that but he is destroying the educational future of those who chose to send their wards to public school. Incompetence is not a reason but an excuse to sack thousands of teachers owed salaries for months.”

I subscribe fully to holding political office holders to account, and the senator has questions he should be asking the governor. But blackmail is not a question, it is a crime. And it is a particularly bad strategy for eliciting transparency.

The truth is that what El-Rufai is combating is not simply bad or unqualified teachers. It is the scourge of mediocrity in Nigeria, beginning with the public services. The scandalous examples of those teachers published by the governor last week to illustrate his determination to fire them underscore the scale of the problem.

I have chosen the word, scandalous, carefully. It is scandalous that anyone would have hired such “teachers” in the first place. Queried the governor, “Would you allow someone like this teach your child?”

It did not seem to matter to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which authorised the Nigeria Union of Teachers in Kaduna to organise a protest rally.

It is not surprising that there are some people and institutions, exemplified by Senator Sani and the NLC, who seem to believe that a teacher is a teacher. The extension of that argument is that it does not matter what quality of education a child gets.

It is a stupid argument, but not one that is difficult to understand: we have become a nation of poor values. But you simply cannot suggest that a child is entitled to unqualified teachers and claim to have faith in the future at the same time.

Governor El-Rufai has explained that the debris in teaching in Kaduna State was emptied into the system because teacher-recruitment became a victim of politics, with politicians, bureaucrats and local government officials finding it to be a dumping ground for a variety of unqualified persons. It is a story that other state governors should learn from.

“Teachers were employed at the local government level without adherence to standards,” he said last week. “In many instances, no examinations or interviews were conducted to assess the quality of recruits. Political patronage, nepotism and corruption became the yardstick, thus giving unqualified persons a way in. Teaching jobs were given as patronage to those connected to politicians and bureaucrats.”

It is the truth. The same explanation applies in the civil service, but it is in teaching that the greatest danger exists because the damage is replicated and multiplied with each damaged child.

Which leaves Governor El-Rufai’s basic question: “Would you allow someone (who does not know how to teach or what to teach ruin) your child?”

Now, would you? In effect, anyone who says the fired teachers should be allowed to keep their jobs answers that question in the affirmative. We summon cheap arguments and blackmail to disguise the point that you need a leader to make the difficult decisions.

Anyone can make the politically-convenient ones, but if the future is to be any better than the present, the difficult decisions, including eliminating thugs and semi-illiterates masquerading as trained and competent teachers, must be made.

But the challenge is far bigger: the situation in Kaduna over unqualified teachers is really the question of standards in Nigeria, and the prevalence of mediocrity in public service.

When presidents and governors, rather than seek the most qualified and motivated, choose party hacks, relatives and mistresses for critical appointments, ministers and commissioners and permanent secretaries and managing directors—as well as those hacks and relatives—do the same.

In turn, when ministers and commissioners and permanent secretaries and managing directors choose party hacks, relatives and mistresses over the most qualified and motivated, they use the same template to poison their offices. The job is either an award or a reward, and competence and accountability are not suggested, let alone demanded.

Everyone knows that this: the practice and persistence of poor and wrong appointments, is largely why Nigerian public institutions fail. Only last week, for instance, following a newspaper story that 81 of President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments are from three northern states, the presidency responded with a 159-person submission it described as a ‘full list’ of all his appointments.

“To claim, suggest or attempt to insinuate that the President’s appointments are tilted in favour of a section of the country is simply untrue and certainly uncharitable,” said spokesman Femi Adesina.

But the presidency was wrong, a close examination of the list showing it to be littered with sundry errors and misrepresentation.

Questioned, Mr. Adesina said his “full list” was not “completely exhaustive,” there being appointments he had not reflected. “It’s just to show that the paper that published 100 and said 81 was from the North is not right. It was a mischievous story.”

Perhaps. But that would make the 159-person claim of a “full list” a fabrication. Nothing prevented the presidency from telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in one intervention.

And official fabrications, including appointing unqualified teachers, have made Nigeria a joke for nearly 60 years and crumbled our institutions. Eighty-one or 200 persons of the most demonstrably qualified and committed, even if they are from the same local council area, will lead a nation to great heights.

In Nigeria, the international capital of hypocrisy, the job of such appointees is persistently to explain not how great things were accomplished, but why failure was the only option. For a living, they construct excuses rather than structures and institutions which elevate the people.

Think about it: preceding the presidency’s 159-person howler was its fugitive Abdulrasheed Maina reinstatement-with-promotion-and-four-year-back-pay scandal. That was preceded by the mess in the Ministry of Petroleum.

Think about it: only last week, the World Internal Security and Police Index, an initiative of the International Police Science Association and the Institute for Economics and Peace, announced its rankings of 127 of the world’s police forces. The Nigeria Police ranked the worst, at 127th.

Similarly, the World Health Organisation has ranked Nigerian roads among the world’s most dangerous for driving. And yes, unlike 2016 when we had only one airport listed among the world’s 10 worst, this year we have two!

A speech is not an achievement.

Teachers’ Empowerment: Beyond Lip Service

World Teachers Day is celebrated annually worldwide to bring together governments, multi- and bilateral organisations, NGOs, the private sector, teachers and experts in the field of teaching. Held annually on October 5 since 1994, World Teachers Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.  In commemoration of this year’s World Teachers Day, governments across the country once again, and characteristically so, waxed lyrical about the need to empower teachers with the requisite tools and training. Leading the pack in this annual ritual of smooth talking is the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu who while relating to the theme of this year’s World Teachers Day, Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers, said teachers deserved to be appreciated for their role in nation building. Irrespective of any sector, whether formal or informal, everything depends on teachers, he said.

The truth, however, is that there is really nothing new about all that was said about the value and status of teachers in the course of this year’s Teachers Day celebration. They are all stale stuff. Sadly, nothing has been done to actually bring about a fundamental change in the teaching profession as well as the status of teachers. If we are to move beyond the annual rite of merely uttering niceties about teachers, we swiftly need to soberly reflect on the status of Nigerian teachers and the conditions under which they work. To this end, all stakeholders need to place priorities on major issues facing the teaching profession and how they can be urgently addressed.  Considering the overall relevance of teachers to nation building, much still needs to be done to uplift the profession. It is an open secret that nowadays every child wants to be something else but teacher which is a sad reality on current the low esteem of the profession.

Now that the euphoria surrounding the World Teachers Day event is over, it is pertinent to properly address matter concerning education in the country.  For any nation to attain lofty heights, close attention must be paid to the teaching profession. Teachers hold the key to the future since they help to mould future leaders. They don’t just teach, they nurture the younger ones to mature, to understand the world and to understand themselves.

Hence, every investment in teachers is a worthy one. According to 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousefzai: One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen, can change the world. A society that refuses to empower teachers will only be promoting ignorance. Ultimately, the price that a nation might have to pay for encouraging ignorance almost often exceed what it needs to do to uphold education. This is why every nation of the world must fully come to term with the need to further enhance the competence of teachers at all levels. It is in doing this that the critical issue of nation-building, especially in Third World countries, could be effectively tackled. In other words, building a nation without first building teachers would basically amount to chasing shadow.

Therefore, beyond the pomp and pageantry of this year’s World Teachers Day, all stakeholders in the education sector need to reflect on the state of teachers and education. This is the time to go beyond paying lip services to capacity building for teachers. Concerted efforts should be made by appropriate authorities to improve the working conditions of teachers. We need to do everything to restore the dignity of the teaching profession. The private schools, in particular, must stop the dehumanisation of teachers. Some of them pay peanuts to teachers as salaries. Perhaps, more hurting is the fact that some teachers even work without any clear-cut terms of engagement with their employees.

A nation that toils with the well being of its teachers inadvertently puts her future in serious jeopardy. Without putting in place the proper machinery to improve the working condition of teachers, all efforts to bring about the realisation of the national mass literacy project would simply go down the drain. Consequently, the successful execution of the mass literacy project could only be made possible with the active participation of a well motivated, properly trained and competent teaching force. Appropriate governmental and non-governmental organisations, therefore, need to intensify efforts towards developing the competence of teachers across the country.

It is, however, important that teachers do not desecrate the integrity and dignity of the teaching profession by getting involved in indescribable acts that could easily dent the image of the profession. Globally, teaching is regarded as a noble profession. Ours must not be an exception. A nation could cope with half-baked engineers or lawyers. But, no nation desirous of making meaningful progress could survive with mediocre teachers.




Source: The Guardian

Kaduna Teachers Fail Primary Four Exam

About 21,780 out of 33,000 teachers failed the primary four test administered to test their competence by the Kaduna State government.

The state is therefore shopping for 25,000 new teachers as one of the plans to restore dignity and quality to education.

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State unveiled the planned recruitment when he received a World Bank’s delegation in Kaduna on Monday.

“We tested our 33,000 primary school teachers, we gave them primary four examination and required they must get at least 75 per cent but I am sad to announce that 66 per cent of them failed to get the requirements.

“The hiring of teachers in the past was politicized and we intend to change that by bringing in young and qualified primary school teachers to restore the dignity of education in the state,” the governor said.

He stressed that teachers would be redeployed across the state to balance the issue of teacher-pupil ratio.

“We have a challenge with the teacher-pupil ratio in the urban schools; there is concentration of teachers that are not needed.

‘’In some local government areas, it’s a teacher pupil ratio of 1-9 while in some places it’s 1-100,” he said.

The governor said that in a bid to improve the education sector, the school Directors decided to enrol their children in public schools starting from this academic session.

Speaking earlier, the World Bank representative, Dr Kunle Adekola, expressed appreciation to the state for investing in education and for the priority given to the girl child.

“This state has demonstrated and supported us to achieve our goals,” he said.

Adekola said the Bank would invest N30 million in Rigasa Primary School, which has a population of about 22,000 pupils, as part of its support for the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Education Intervention Fund by the World Bank and other collaborative development partners, is rendering support to about 13 Northern states and a state from each of the other four geopolitical zones of the country.


The Need For Teachers’ Redistribution

I want to use this opportunity to ask the government of the State of Osun on the need for redistribution of teachers in public schools in the state.

It has been noticed that in some public schools, there are more than enough teachers, while in some, there is a shortfall. The schools that have been at the receiving end of this discovery are the ones at the rural areas.

Since it is difficult for the government to employ more teachers for now due to the economic situation, the government can still do with the ones already on the ground and get the best out of them by ensuring that they are evenly distributed.

It seems that many teachers have cultivated the habit of manipulating their ways, when they are posted to rural areas and this has been affecting the system in the rural areas, hence the need to take action.

While I commend the government for the infrastructural development in the education sector, it will amount to waste of resources if the best is not gotten out of the pupils who should be the direct beneficiaries.

Besides, I commend the government for ensuring effective monitoring of activities in public schools in the state, particularly elementary and middle schools.

It has been established that the government, through SUBEB is doing well in the monitoring of elementary and middle schools, more than the High Schools.

Another established fact is that, in any public establishment, without effective monitoring, civil servants, including teachers naturally show care free attitude to their job, and I must say that this is badly affecting the quality of our education system.

While the SUBEB should strengthen its activities towards monitoring of schools activities at the elementary and middle levels, I want a call on the government to task officials in charge of the High Schools to do the same for the High Schools in the state.

Katsina Govt Promotes 19,600 Teachers

Katsina State Government says it has promoted 19,600 teachers as part of an effort to enhance teachers’ welfare and boost education sector.

Alhaji Lawal Buhari, the Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board ( SUBEB ), made the disclosure in an interview with in Daura on Friday.

He said the promotions were outstanding of 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“We are now working on the 2016 and 2017 promotions,” he said.

Buahri said out of the number, 13,000 teachers concerned had been notified, adding that other beneficiaries would soon receive notifications.

The executive chairman also disclosed that government had commenced interview for the recruitment of additional 1,900 teachers, to complement the existing teacher strength.

He said the exercise cut across the 34 local government areas, assuring that only qualified applicants would be considered for the job.

According to him, the results of the interview would be released within week to ensure proper and timely deployment of successful recruits to schools.

Buhari called on teachers to be committed to their duties with a view to motivating government toward enhancing their welfare.

The state government recently procured teaching and learning materials worth N600 million, to promote education.


Six Year Old Student Raped, By Her Teachers

Two teacher have been arrested by the Bauchi State police command in the state for allegedly raping a six years old pupil in their school.

The suspects, Sani Abubakar, 39, and Usman Hassan, 33, allegedly lured the victim at Dutse Tashi Primary school in Bauchi Metropolis and raped her, the police said.

Commissioner of Police, Bauchi State command, Garba Baba Umar, disclosed this to journalists at a press briefing in Bauchi on Thursday.

Umar revealed that the police have also arrested a 20 years old man for allegedly defiling a four years old girl who happens to be his relation.

The incident happened at Magani ward in Burra town of Ningi Local Government Area of the state

“Victim was rushed to Burra General hospital for medical examination,” he said.

Kwara Denies Sacking Teachers

The Kwara State government has refuted a report by an online medium, ‘The Point, that 700 teachers that were recruited into the State Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) in 2014 without approval have been laid off.
The state government through a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Communications, Dr. Muideen Akorede, described the report as false, misleading and lacking any basis in fact
Akorede said that the government had neither sacked the teachers nor has any intention to terminate their services.
He clarified that the State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed had directed TESCOM to regularize the employment of the affected staff based on qualification and needs.
The Governor’s media aide noted that the State Executive Council (SEC) had approved sanctions for the officials, including serving and retired personnel, that facilitated the unauthorized recruitment of the workers.
According to the statement, TESCOM will conduct relevant process for the normalization of employment of the affected staff with emphasis on those with appropriate qualifications in Mathematics, English and the core science subjects.
Akorede referred to a Government House statement issued last Tuesday, which noted that Governor Ahmed ruled out sacking the affected workers in order not to worsen the unemployment situation in the State.
He, therefore, urged the public to disregard the false publication by The Point.

Aregbesola Commended For Teachers Redeployment

By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo
Coordinating Director of the Teachers Establishment and Pension Office in the State of Osun, Mr. Adeolu Oyebayo, has commended the efforts of Governor of the State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for taking the bold step of addressing shortage of teachers in public schools by deploying qualified teachers from the civil service into the teaching profession.

Oyebayo gave the commendation on Wednesday February 10, 2014, during a screening exercise for civil servants in the state with relevant teaching qualification that were deployed from the Civil Service to the State Teaching Service.

According to him, the government had realized an increase in the number of students in public schools across the state. hence the need to recruit more qualified teachers.

He further stressed that with this development, more qualified personnel will be available in the schools and this will ultimately enhance the performance of students.