Nigeria: El-Rufai-Make Public Schools Great Again

“Under no circumstances will the future of 2 million public elementary school students and their subsequent students be subject to the interests of unqualified teachers.”-El-Rufai (December 2017)

Leadership is about foresight, concentration, and making tough decisions. Over the last five years or so, Governor Nacil Elulfai has demonstrated these qualities in Kaduna. For example, his decision to reform public schools brought all three characteristics to the fore, which made him oppose persistent interest and hypocrites. The story began in 2017 when the Ellufay administration conducted a proficiency test on elementary school teachers to eliminate unqualified teachers. What triggered this decision?

After winning the election in May 2015, the government was briefed by Nigeria’s Education Sector Support Program (ESSPIN). This is a DFID program that conducted a survey of teacher and student competence levels. According to the survey, 83% of teachers scored less than 25% on math and literacy exams. For Governor El Rufai, this was unacceptable.

To address this issue, the government took steps to fill this gap during the 2016/2017 session by arranging training and retraining programs for teachers. Through SUBEB, 11,315 classroom teachers were trained in literacy and math skills, and an additional 3,733 were trained in reading skills through a global partnership for education. Similarly, another 5,945 people were trained by UBEC on pedagogy, lesson planning, and the use of teacher guides.

The Kaduna state government then conducted a proficiency test for elementary school teachers. All primary 4 tests were conducted, 75% were secured as passing scores, and only 11,591 teachers, equivalent to 33.9%, achieved the required grades. As a result, those who failed were dismissed, and after passing the qualification exam, 25,000 new talented teachers were hired.

In 2012, the late Patrick Yakova administration at the time fired 4,000 teachers who were not qualified for positions or used fake credentials as a result of screening. The government then gave unqualified teachers a five-year period to qualify for the required Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE). The grace period ended in 2017, around the same time that the Ellufay administration conducted a proficiency test and then dismissed unqualified teachers.

For opposition members, the dismissal of 21,780 unqualified teachers was considered “political suicide” for Governor Ellufay. Similarly, the Kaduna branch of NUT threatened a strike to force the government to overturn that decision. In November 2017, the NLC joined the fight by marching in solidarity with the NUT, but the government did not move.

In a December 2017 state broadcast, the governor said, “Some of our critics are threatening us with election results because they are making harsh but necessary decisions in favor of the general public. Our inauguration and our personal principles refuse to do the right thing for political calculations. Because we are right, not to provide political benefits. We condemn the falsehood of critics who send their children to private schools but claim retention in public schools. The right to decent education for poor children I want to remind such people that there is! ”In fact, not only did the strike fail, El-Rufai won the reelection in 2019.

However, NUT continued the “war” with Ellefay in court. Chair Audu T. The body of a teacher, led by Comrade Amba, dragged the governor to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, seeking to invalidate the dismissal of teachers who failed the proficiency test. Plaintiffs dismissed teachers at public primary schools in Kaduna and challenged the defendant’s authority to dismiss them without the support of a simple majority of the Kaduna state legislature.