The fate of 5,502 teachers in Bauchi State now hangs in the balance following their recommendation for sack by the state Universal Basic Education, SUBEC, for not living up to expectations in terms of performance and the quality of their certificates. The affected teachers have however fought back by reporting SUBEC to both the Nigerian Union of Teachers and the state House of Assembly for immediate intervention to serve their jobs. Najib Sani, reports on the looming sack that has the potential to further draw the state backwards educationally.
“Can you imagine a situation where someone who claims to be an English teacher cannot speak or read English fluently? And can you imagine an Islamic teacher who cannot recite any Hadith of the Prophet?.”
That was how the Chairman of the Buachi State Universal Basic Education, SUBEC, Alhaji Abdulahi Dabo, summed up the frustration of the board, after screening over no fewer than 12,000 persons who are teaching in various schools in the state.
At the end of the exercise, the board was shocked by its findings and it quickly decided to wield the big stick against those it considered unqualified to continue to teach in the state. It immediately served notice on 5,502 teachers to quit the service with immediate effect.
Explaining the rationale behind the action, a permanent member of the board, Alhaji Kassim Ibrahim, explained that those who were penciled for sack were those with National Certificates of Education, NCE, who could not defend their certificates.
“So what knowledge do you think these people can impart to the children?” he asked.
Dabo insisted that apart from those who were employed with fake credentials, many others were incompetent and should be sent out of the school system.
But the action of the board has inflamed the teachers, who have decided to challenge the decision with the ferocity it deserves.
“We are not going to leave the matter lying low in view of the negative effects it portends on our future,” one of the affected teachers said.
A few days after the teachers got wind of what the board was doing against them, they mobilised and got the state branch of the Nigerian Union of Teachers to issue a stern warning to the SUBEC to withdraw its sack threat on the affected teacher or face a showdown. It also asked the teachers not to leave the workplaces, accusing the commission of witch-hunting its members.
The NUT maintained that most of the affected teachers had been teaching for over 16 years without any blemish and wondered how the board could just wake up and decide to sweep them away without any justification.
The teachers’ union also accused the board of grievous injustice, since according to them, some of their members with NCE certificates and the National Teachers’ Institute, NTI certificates as well as those with the Special Teachers’ Upgrading Programme, STUP, were also penciled for sack despite the recognition of such papers nationally.
A part from that, the Bauchi state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers [NUT] had in its reaction to the development issued a three weeks ultimatum to the state Universal Basic Education Board [SUBEB] to discard its plan of retrenching the over five thousands Teachers or face both industrial and legal action even as it alleged that the union was not invited to per take in the screening exercise.
A joint statement by the NUT chairman Mohammed Maude and secretary Aminu Ahmad, described the plan by the SUBEC to sack their members as an ‘ugly scenario’, which was detestable and unacceptable to them union. They also said the action amounted to the prosecution of their members.
They therefore described the development as detestable, unacceptable and a persecution to their members.
But as the face-off between the teachers union and the board deepens, the state House of Assembly has waded into the matter and asked both parties to sheath their sword in the interest of industrial peace.
The house has already summoned the two sides to a reconciliatory meeting, during which the two sides stated their cases before the members.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Alhaji Mukhtar Abdullahi, has assured that they will study the report of the screening committee with a view to addressing the grievances of both parties amicably.
It is not however clear if the lawmakers would opt for the quack doctors to continue to impart wrong information to Bauch State pupils or whether it can sum up courage and ask the fake teachers to look for something else to earn a living.
Whatever the outcome of the lawmakers’ intervention may be, the teachers’ fate and the future of the state education now hang in the balance.