The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufa’i, on Monday said the State has secured a major victory for public education by defeating an indefinite strike by the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT without recalling any of the sacked teachers.
The NUT, supported by the Nigeria Labour Congress, had called the strike to demand the recall of 21,780 primary school teachers sacked by the State Government for failing a competency test.
In his first public reaction to the collapse of the NUT strike, el-Rufa’i said there was no time to dwell on the euphoria of removing trade union obstacle to better standards in the education sector.
In a statement signed by the Governor’s Spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, el-Rufa’i at a meeting with the State’s 23 local Government Administrators and their Education Secretaries, said the focus must now be on implementing the education reforms in a way that upholds standards and improves the welfare of teachers.
At the meeting, the State Universal Primary Education Board, SUBEB, Chairman, Nasir Umaru, reaffirmed plans for the first batch of new teachers to be appointed by February 2018.
SUBEB informed the meeting that interviews for applicants who passed the recruitment test conducted on 20 December, 2017 will commence on Wednesday, 24 January.
“The interviews will be conducted across the 23 Local Government Areas by panels comprising experienced personnel from the Teacher Development Programme and other professionals,” Mr. Umaru said.
Governor el-Rufa’i said that the education reforms in the state require that a commitment to standards be sustained and new incentives provided for teachers.
“Among these incentives would be a new salary scale for teachers and provision of houses for teachers posted to rural schools,” he said.
The Governor observed that the difficulty in securing decent accommodation in rural areas has led to over-concentration of teachers in urban centres.
He said the Ministry of Education will provide designs for construction of buildings with at least six flats for teachers and a bungalow for head-teachers in rural schools.
On education standards, he said the State had passed a law to establish the Quality Assurance Board to uphold standards in schools, while the State-owned Kaduna State University, KASU, had been directed to establish an Institute of Education to provide continuous training for teachers.
He further said that the current recruitment exercise will prioritise teachers of English, Mathematics and the Sciences. To expand the production of such teachers, the Governor disclosed that the College of Education, Gidan-Waya, will will adjust its curriculum so that most of its products are trained in Primary Education Studies, Mathematics, English and the Sciences.
The Local Government Administrators and Education Secretaries commended the Governor for the unwavering manner in which the State Government is implementing its education reforms.
They noted that the Governor’s determined stance had defeated trade union power that was being used improperly, and that teachers are now ready for a new phase.