The Kaduna State wing of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, says its members will proceed on an indefinite strike from November 23, to protest the sack of 21,780 teachers.
The state chairman of the union, Audu Amba, said this at a news conference in Kaduna on Monday.
Mr. Amba said that the union had issued a two-week ultimatum to the state government to reverse its decision to disengage 21,780 primary school teachers for failing its competency test.
He explained that the decision to embark on the strike was taken after the union’s executive council meeting, with the support of the national body of the union.
He said that if the government failed to reverse its decision, the entire public secondary and primary schools in the state would be shut down.
“We supported the competency test on the grounds that 60 per cent would be the pass mark and those that failed would be re-trained.
“The Governor (Nasir el-Rufa’i), however, pegged 75 per cent as pass mark and released the names of 21,780 that failed for disengagement.
“We wrote a letter to the governor to reconsider his decision, but he went ahead to announce the list of teachers to be disengaged.
“We have even approached the National Industrial Court to determine whether the state government had the mandate to conduct competency test for teachers,” he said.
Meanwhile, pupils of Local Government Education Authority Primary School, Kawo, Kaduna, on Monday, took to the streets to protest the disengagement of 77 teachers in the school. The pupils said they would not return to school until the governor rescinded his decision.
A teacher, who confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria, on condition of anonymity, said that the protest began when the pupils learned that 77 teachers had been pencilled down for disengagement.
“There are 103 teachers in this school and based on the list released yesterday, only 26 teachers passed the competency test, meaning that the remaining 77 teachers would be disengaged.
“When the people heard that most of their teachers would be disengaged, they became emotional and began hugging their teachers in tears.
“Before we knew it, all the pupils came out from their classrooms and took to the streets in protest of what they described as “unfair treatment” of their teachers.
‘”They said they would not come to school again until the government reversed its decision.”
The teacher, who said she had been teaching for 22 years, said: “I was shocked when I didn’t find my name on the list of those that passed the test.”
Also, a headmistress at a public school in Mahuta, Kaduna, said that 18 names of the 23 teachers in the school were missing in the qualified list of teachers, including her own name.
She expressed fears about the welfare of her family if she lost her job as she is the breadwinner.
NAN reports that the state’s Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, had on Sunday released the names of about 11,220 primary school teachers who passed the competency test.
The board chairman, Nasiru Umar, told journalists that 33,000 primary school teachers sat for the examination while 21,780 failed the test.
Mr. Umar added that those who are above five years would be retired but those below five years would be disengaged.
He said that three months’ notice would be given to those who failed the competency test for disengagement.
Nonetheless, he said that all teachers, including those who failed the test, should continue with their working pending for further directives.
The chairman said that the Kaduna State Executive Council had approved the outcome of the teachers’ competency test and had directed the immediate commencement of the process of recruiting 25,000 new primary school teachers.
“No more sharing of appointment of teachers among the officials. This time around, government is determined to employ competent teachers as part of efforts to revive education in Kaduna State.
“We have so far received over 13,000 applications at the SUBEB headquarters.
“Some applicants submitted their applications at the local government headquarters for the recruitment of new teachers,” Mr. Umar added.