National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has rejected the sacking of 2,357 of its members.
The union has therefore, threatened to embark on a national wide strike should Kaduna system government refuse to reverse its decision
It would be recalled that the teachers in Kaduna State, including its national president, Audu Titus Amba, were sacked by the Kaduna State government for failing a purported competency test.
But addressing the press in Abuja yesterday, the deputy president of NUT, Dr Kelvin Nwankwo said its president, Amba did not fail test as announced by the state government and therefore remains its national president.
The union also said the action of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai is clearly to intimidate the NUT president and embarrass the teachers in Nigeria, while accusing the governor of using the tactics not to pay owed salaries.
The NEC urged Kaduna State government to rather embark on continuous teacher training programme, which would at the end of the day improve knowledge and service delivery by teachers in the public schools of Kaduna State as obtained in other professions such as nursing, medicine and law.
“The very concept of competency test is an aberration and absurd having regards to the fact that the teachers in Kaduna State have prior to their recruitment in the State Public Service attended schools and institutions statutorily saddled with the responsibility of teacher education and these institutions have certified them to be competent, fit and proper to be teachers.
“In addition, the selfsame Kaduna State government had subjected the teachers to scrutiny and test to ensure their suitability or otherwise for employment as teachers before they were recruited by it.
“It is in the context of the above that the whole concept of a competency test which is only peculiar to Kaduna State is akin to a cocktail of absurdities and leaves a sour taste in the mouth, thereby validating the position of NUT that the intentions of the Kaduna State Government on this issue is everything but altruistic.”
Nwankwo said Kaduna State is the second most indebted state in Nigeria and the state government is on a free roller coaster move to satisfy the conditionalities handed down to it by its creditors, which normally includes downsizing of the public service without even the remotest regards to our peculiar circumstances.
He continued, “The whole concept of competency test was designed by the Kaduna State Government to achieve its inglorious aim of casualization of the teaching profession in Kaduna State.
“Otherwise, how else can one attempt a rationalization of the fact that the selfsame Kaduna State Government in the year 2018 dismissed/retired in one swoop 21,780 teachers purportedly for not passing its unilaterally and arbitrarily administered competency test and purportedly in replacement thereof recruited about 20,000 new teachers, who according to it were subjected to vigorous test and confirmed to be competent before they were recruited into the Kaduna State Public Service.
“In accordance with the Kaduna State Public/Civil Service Rules, these purported 20,000 Teachers were employed on a temporary basis and placed on a ONE YEAR probationary period.
“Their appointments were to be made permanent and pensionable after the one-year probationary period. However, rather regrettably five years down the line, these teachers are still under temporary appointment with the result that the Kaduna State Government can whimsically and shamelessly ask them to leave the public service without any terminal related benefits.
“These selfsame 20,000 constitute the bulk of the 2,357 teachers, who are said not to have passed the latest in the series of competency test in Kaduna State,” he said.
The NUT scribe added that the manifest intention of the Kaduna State Government is to prey on the rather unfortunate existing non employment status of our teeming school leavers by recruiting them as teachers only to subsequently subject them to the raw deal it subjected the purported 20,000 teachers, thereby achieving its aim of casualisation of the teaching profession in Kaduna State.
The union also said the case of its president, Amba, clearly establishes the fact that the whole concept of competency test in Kaduna State is arbitrary and lacking in certainty.