El-Rufai to make senior Kaduna officials enroll wards in public schools

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said that his administration will ask its senior officials to enrol their children in government-owned schools.

Public primary schools, largely poorly funded, ill-equipped and staffed with inadequate, and sometimes incompetent,  teachers, are usually attended by wards of low income earners and the poor across Nigeria.

Mr. El-Rufai revealed his plan in a state broadcast on Thursday to explain reforms being undertaken by the state government.

Details of the broadcast were made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, just as the NLC accused Mr. El-Rufai of violating a court order on the controversial  sack of teachers in the state.

Speaking on his plans, Mr. El-Rufai said, “As we make progress, we will require our senior officials to enrol their children in public schools. And I will by personal example ensure that my son that will be six years of age in 2019 will be enrolled in a public school in Kaduna State, by God’s grace.

He said one of his goals is to have only graduates as primary school teachers, arguing that the educational attainments of a country like Finland shows that this is the way to go.

“We do not agree that we should restore Grade 2 teacher training. But we must improve the intellectual capacity of teachers that the NCE should give way ultimately to first and second degrees as minimum teaching qualifications. Kaduna ranks first among the northern states, and 12th in the country overall in WAEC scores. We can be the best if we do not relent in reforming our schools,” Mr. El-Rufai said.

He said public schools in Nigeria lack facilities and good teachers.

“We said many schools did not have roofs, doors, windows, water and toilets, and we promised to fix it. As soon as we took office, we also sadly learnt that at least 50 per cent of school pupils sat on floors due to the absence of desks and chairs. Therefore, under no circumstance would we subjugate the future of the two million pupils in public primary schools, and those coming after them, to the interests of unqualified teachers,” he said.

He said the attitude of indifference to public education resulted in the recruitment of teachers at local government level without adherence to standards.

“We found that unqualified teachers entered the system because the recruitment of teachers was politicised. The local government council chairmen and other senior politicians and bureaucrats saw teaching as a dumping ground for their thugs, supporters and other unsuitable persons. 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,” he said.

Mr. El-Rufai said the current government has spent more than N625 million on training since 2015 noting that thousands of teachers were trained in literacy, numeracy, reading skills and in other subjects of the teaching profession.

“The competency test results clearly showed that the training programmes had recorded, at best, only limited impact. The results of the competency test profoundly disappointed us. It showed that much of the monies spent on training teachers since 2011 had been wasted,” he said.

He said the competency test revealed that many of the teachers do not have the basic knowledge, and are incapable of imparting what they do not have.

“The honest truth is that many of these teachers should themselves be adult education students, being taught basic literacy and numeracy. The government came to the conclusion that it is not further training that teachers who cannot score 75 per cent in a Primary Four exam require. In these circumstances, the government took the difficult, but necessary decision, to disengage all the teachers who did not meet the 75 per cent threshold. This has been done in accordance with the terms of their employment, and their entitlements will be payed, as appropriate,” he said.

He said that in place of the 22,000 teachers disengaged by government due to failure in the competency test, 25,000 qualified teachers are to be recruited.

“This week, SUBEB conducted tests for the over 43,000 applicants that have indicated interest in the teaching positions. The ongoing recruitment process will sieve these applicants to ensure that only bonafide teachers are recruited.

“Education is a leveller, it gives the children of the poor a chance to rise above the condition of their birth. And a nation of well-educated people offers immense opportunities for social mobility, enabling the poor to move out of poverty by the sheer force of talent and hard work,” he concluded.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how two-thirds of primary school teachers in Kaduna failed to score up to 75 per cent when the test, largely made up of primary four questions, was set for them.

In November, the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, explained that such teachers can ask for their answer sheets to be re-graded.

The SUBEB chairman, Nasiru Umar, said the affected teachers who have spent more than five years in the public service will be allowed to retire while those who have spent less than five years will be sacked. All the affected teachers can also reapply in the ongoing recruitment process.

EL-RUFAI VIOLATES COURT ORDER – NLC

However, on Sunday, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, accused Mr. El-Rufai of violating a court ordering a halt to the planned sack of the 22,000 teachers.

The labour union said despite an order of the industrial court, the Kaduna government proceeded to conduct fresh recruitment test for new teachers.

“Despite the wise counsel of well-meaning Nigerians and protestations from the Congress, including an injunction from the National Industrial Court (NIC) which had ruled that the status quo should be maintained till the determination of the substantive suit brought before it by the unjustly dismissed workers and unions in Kaduna State, Governor El-Rufai, like all despots, has remained adamant,” the NLC said in a New Year message by its president Ayuba Wabba.

“Last Friday, 29th December, 2017, Governor El-Rufai authorised Education Secretaries and relevant local government authorities to commence the distribution of sack letters to teachers and local government workers in the 23 local government areas of the state beginning from Tuesday, 2nd January, 2018.

“While some state governments are struggling to devise ways of bringing succour to workers and the people generally in the New Year, Governor el-Rufai’s Christmas and New Year gift to the working people of Kaduna State and their families is tears and sorrow.

“Under this atmosphere of disregard for the rule of law and decency, Congress is left with no other option than to use all legitimate means to challenge the crass impunity and despotism being displayed by Governor el-Rufai. It will therefore give effect to the Congress National Executive Council (NEC) decision to observe January 11, 2018 as a day of solidarity with the workers of Kaduna State, and shall mobilise Nigerian workers to march for the reversion of the sacked workers in Kaduna City.”

Speaking on the NLC’s stance on Sunday, Mr. El-Rufai’s spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, said the process for the recruitment of new teachers was already on before the industrial court decision.
“The process of recruiting new teachers has been ongoing and those that will be leaving also will have their entitlements fully ready.

“One interesting thing about this is that many of those who failed the competency test also reapplied and were among those who wrote the first recruitment test that took place in Kaduna last week.”


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  • Jimi

    I have always said public officials must enroll their children in public schools up to first degree to ensure that they pay proper attention to the development of our academic institutions. I hope the governor will enforce this policy and maybe talk to Baba-go-slow about doing the same at the federal level.

  • Yego V

    El-rufai should tell the world where his children went to school and that of all his relatives

    • Jimi

      wherever they went to school was then and El Rufai was not the governor. Now he is the governor and is making the policies. Blame him if he continues to enroll his children in schools abroad.

      • Yego V

        I wish to know. It’s very RELEVANT to ME. fyi. El-rufai does not have children anymore.

  • thusspokez

    The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said that his administration will ask its senior officials to enrol their children in government-owned schools.

    El-Rufai tries to cultivate an image of ‘man-of-the-people” except that it is fake. Instead of investing heavily in education, he comes up with yet another silly populist directive or policy to excite gullible people in Kaduna. His senior officials can always hire private tutors for their children for extra tutoring.

    • Liberty

      Investment?
      Yes! But, the best investment in this circumstance, as it is true with numerous other challenges that have crippled the lofty dreams of the founding father’s of this nation, is not material if you ask me.
      El-tufai’s different approach to governance issues could be the sure way to go.
      How can we keep doing things the same old ways and expect to have different outcomes?

      • Otile

        He is just saying it for votes, he knows very well that he cannot fire dumb Muslim teachers and replace them with Christians and still be alive in the state. Seeing is believing.

    • So oju abe niko

      If you went to school earlier than 1980, you will realize that El-Rufai is just trying to go back to what worked well in the past. It is ethically unacceptable for public officials to manage public institutions they do not patronize. Those in ministry of education will not watch schools go bad, when they have their kids in the same school system. Government will improve health infrastructure when public officials are banned from foreign medical tourism.

      • thusspokez

        Don’t public officials use the hospitals, roads, schools, airports, etc., why then are they all in poor state? El-Rufai, as I said earlier, should be seeking a holistic solution to a long-term problem and not seeking cheap publicity.

        The Nigerian constitution protects every Nigerian’s freedom. I am sure El-Refai knows, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is ignorant, that neither he nor anyone can dictate to any public officials how they should manage their private affairs, including deciding which schools their children should attend.

        Further, it is against the law to threaten to sack any of them for refusing to send their children to state school.

  • Opekete

    I may not be a fan of El Rufai but on this issue of having qualified teachers to teach our children I gave him my unflinching support. It is morally wrong for unqualified people to mold the future of our children. It is only in Nigeria that teachers are not licensed to teach. Teaching is the most important profession because that was how the future of a nation is shaped. I ask that this same thing be replicated in all the states of the nation.

    • thusspokez

      I may not be a fan of El Rufai but on this issue of having qualified teachers to teach our children I gave him my unflinching support.

      The Kaduna unqualified teachers problem has been talked about long enough –, but what are his solutions. After all, he was elected to solve problems – not only talk about them repeatedly.

      • Jimi

        He has implemented the solution. Fire the unqualified and hire qualified ones – sorry if you are one of the unqualified.

        • Otile

          Get real man, if you fire the dumb unqualified teachers where are you going to find intelligent qualified people willing to leave their place to teach in violent North? Don’t look toward SS SE, we are tired of loosing our people in the violent North in the name of One Nigeria.

          • FineBoy

            The most dangerous place today is Ahoada West, not even Sambisa Forest.

            If you doubt me, take a trip there and spend a night.

            I will pray we locate your dead body

        • thusspokez

          sorry if you are one of the unqualified

          Be very careful now. From 2018 onwards, I don’t intend to take any more nonsense from you Nigerian posters!

          • So oju abe niko

            What do you plan to do? – will you bring your bulala 🙂 Happy new year to you and yours. All the best in 2018.

          • thusspokez

            Block them, of course! If you have used other non-Nigerian websites, you can’t fail to realise the absence of decorum and civilisation on Nigerian Internet forums. Off-topics and anarchy rules .

  • So oju abe niko

    I really want to dislike this twat due to many of his past antics, but it is just impossible to disagree with his initiatives to sanitize Kaduna State schools. I can’t but applaud the move to ask senior government officials to enroll their kids in public schools. That would eliminate the us vs them mentality, that allow government officials to preside/manage over public institutions in which they have absolutely no vested interest. They will strive to maintain standards in schools, hospitals, and other public institutions when they and their families are also clients of those institutions. Next, I want to see another progressive governor ban foreign medical treatment for public servants. Kudos to El-Rufai for leading the way on the education sector.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    WHAT IS THE FASCIST DWARF UP TO ?

    • So oju abe niko

      I have applauded you many times in the past, despite your obvious ethnic bias, because I see you as a genuine humanist. El-Rufai is onto something here, and he should be applauded. Happy new year to you and yours. All the best to Nigeria in 2018.

      • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

        I do not judge any politician from what they are doing now but what they have done in the past. This man played an active part in the weak cover up of the atrocities committed against the Shiites . He is religiously biased and has made comments which suggested disdain for Christianity in the past. IN ADVANCED DEMOCRACIES, POLITICIANS ARE JUDGED ON HISTORICAL BASIS .

        HAPPY NEW YEAR SIR, I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND .

  • Curtx Maccido

    Brilliant!!! This move should be replicated to ensure all public officers (including the legislatures) send there children to public schools, use public hospitals, use public transport…of course, it simply means the public schools, hospitals and infrastructure will be sort, improved and competitive. In fact I will support legislating this policy to ensure any public officer (including legislatures) who contravene is prosecuted!