Sir, It should be understood that encouraging educational pursuit especially, in the northern region of Nigeria can’t be over-emphasized. This is because the myriad of the socio-economic challenges confronting the region were undoubtedly due to the low literacy level in the North. In relation to this, it was the former Ivory Coast president Houphouet Boigny that once said: ‘’Freedom for a freed man requires knowledge, otherwise he becomes a permanent danger to others and to himself.”
It is a statement of fact that any society that neglects the education of its youth is heading for doom. Meanwhile, the Federal Government has recently announced through the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) that by December 31, 2019, all teachers who are practicing without the relevant teaching qualification and those who did not sit for the Professional Qualification Examination (PQE) will be expelled from the system.
The PQE was intended to sanitize the teaching profession, thus, allowing only qualified and licensed teachers to teach in our schools, while sanctioning the unqualified ones among them. It is imperative that the dateline issued by the federal government has to be taken seriously, especially by most northern states, where the absence of the minimum teaching requirement is more prevalent among its teaching personnel.
Recall that Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai first took the drastic step to remedy the situation by sacking thousands of unqualified public school teachers and replacing them with more qualified ones who possess the requisite qualifications. His action was then viewed by many to be too punitive, but what needs to be done has to be done for the good of the people without prejudice.
In Kano State too and well ahead of time, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (OFR) had directed the state Ministry of Education and the Kano State Primary Education Board to take inventories and verify the qualifications of the state teaching staff. At the end of the rigorous exercise it was discovered that 25,000 teachers from across the state were not in possession of the required minimum teaching qualification, as most of them only possessed teachers Grade 2 certificates while others had only secondary school certificate.
That was a big problem, but in solving that problem, Ganduje took into consideration the socio-economic impact of sacking the 25,000 unqualified teachers with families. Instead, the governor partnered with some institutions to retrain the teachers and equip them with the relevant knowledge so as to prepare them academically to teach the state’s teeming pupils.
In that regard, the state government facilitated the admission of these teachers into institutions such as Bayero University, Kano, Kanao State College of Education as well as the National Teachers Institute (NTI).
• Mohammed Isa Bilal, wrote from Jos, Plateau State