The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has directed Kaduna teachers to ignore the competency tests organised by Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s government.
“The NEC had unequivocally resolved that no teacher should be subjected to any form of competency test under any guise or colouration but advised that issues of quality education should be pursued vigorously by the state government and teachers at all levels and at all times,” said the NUT’s deputy national president, Kelvin Nwankwo, in Kaduna on Wednesday during a meeting with teachers in the state.
Mr Nwankwo explained that the union issued the directive following plans by the Kaduna government to conduct competency tests for public primary school teachers in December.
According to him, the NUT affirms and relies on Section 1(d) Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) Act, CAP.T3 LFN 2004, which made provisions for the regulation and control of the teaching profession.
“As teachers who belong to a professional body, registered and licensed, we shall only subject ourselves to any professional recommendation issued by our Regulatory Council, but no other body,” Mr Nwankwo pointed out.
He advised state governments to embark on a mandatory continuous training programme in line with the practice in all professions, including nursing, medicine, and law.
Mr Nwankwo added that the teachers were available and willing to participate in refresher courses, workshops, seminars, or training to fill knowledge gaps in their various areas of specialisation.
“However, we are opposed to any political ploy aimed at easing teachers out of service, with the pretext that such teachers had failed examinations,” he said.
The NUT chairman in Kaduna, Ibrahim Dalhatu, stressed that only TRCN was legally empowered to conduct competency tests for teachers, adding that teachers would not subject themselves to any test conducted by any other body.
The Kaduna government had in January 2018 sacked 21,780 primary school teachers for failing a competency test conducted in 2017 and recruited 25,000 qualified ones.
The NUT deputy national president explained that the union’s NEC was behind the decision of the Kaduna wing. He insisted that the teachers’ competence had been proved by various accredited universities and colleges of education and were also tested before they were hired.
In July, the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) had announced plans to conduct competency tests for primary school teachers to ensure quality teaching.
Christy Alademerin, the permanent member at the Human Resource Management of Kaduna SUBEB, had disclosed that the competency test was to ensure the state has “the best of the best.”
“We are going to conduct the competency test to either weed out incompetent ones or whatever the outcome will look like, just to maintain the standards,” she said.