Union asked the state to recall 926 teachers sacked on account of their age declaration.
The National President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Michael Olukoya, on Tuesday described the competency test organised for teachers in Edo as a ploy to weed out teachers.
Mr. Olukoya made the statement in Lagos at a news conference, organised by the Lagos State Branch of the NUT.
He said that the competency of an employee was determined at the point of appointment.
“It must be emphasised that teaching is a service industry and not a product industry like breweries and textile manufacturing, where products pass through quality control mills to qualify for the market,” he said.
According to Mr. Olukoya, in teaching and other service industries, competency is behavioural and not mechanical.
“In teaching, which is powered by the science, principles and work of teaching, the competency of a teacher takes very many dimensions. These include the knowledge of the subject. The knowledge of the subject must conform to appropriate methodology, class management and control. A teacher in his approach must understand the psychology of his pupils or students which includes the home background, individual differences and intelligent quotient to determine the gifted and mentally challenged.
“The question is: Given these many competencies that must combine to make effective teaching, which of the competencies is our Edo State comrade governor intending to test? If he must test all, how many hours examination is required?” he asked.
Mr. Olukoya said that on December 4, 2013, a letter was given to the Edo State Branch of the NUT titled, Competency Test for Teachers in Edo State. He said the letter was signed by the Edo Commissioner for Basic Education, Agunede Patrick.
The letter’s intent, Mr. Olukoya said, was to enable the government determine the level of competence of teachers with principal intent of upgrading their capacity.
Mr. Olukoya said that in response to the letter, the Edo State NUT said the best way to flush quacks out of the profession was not through aptitude test. The union, he said, had advised that the action should be behavioural in strengthening the supervisory organ of education-the inspectorates.
“Our professional advice as it was, is that the competency of a teacher can only be behaviorally determined through effective inspectorate system and not the aptitudinal testing,” he said.
Mr. Olukoya said that the NUT was ready to submit its teachers to professional competency testing by a legally-constituted body but not to political licensing by the Edo State Government.
“It is with passion in our heart that we also call on the state government to recall the 926 teachers sacked on account of their age declaration. Their sack lacks equity and justice,” Mr. Olukoya stated.