Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Fake Teachers, What Next?

editorial

WHY the alarm about the number of fake teachers in Kaduna State? What would be done beyond the alarm? Are we terrified because we do not know the total number of fake teachers in the country?

Kaduna State has unqualified teachers, and some teachers, who got into the service with fake documents. It is nothing to be proud of, but it is a situation replicated in most States that do not take anything, including education, serious.

The recruitment processes into the civil service do not care much about quality of credentials. The two most important criteria are applicant's sponsor and how much bribe applicant will pay. We do not think Kaduna State is exceptional in these.

Last December, the Commissioner for Information and Home Affairs, Saidu Adamu, told a newspaper that more than 18,000 teachers in the State possessed fake certificates; they were sacked, not prosecuted!

Yet in October the Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Muhammad Usman said many of the State's primary school teachers did not have the minimum teacher's qualification. Are they fake or unqualified?

According to Governor Patrick Yakowa, a recent verification revealed more than 2,000 public school teachers with fake certificates. The conflicting figures of unqualified teachers (Governor Yakowa also quoted 4,000) confirm burgeoning challenges with statistics. Is the state government sure the sacked teachers are not already back in service with more fake credentials? The challenges are deeper than sacking them. Are there more people working with fake certificates? Should the sources of fake certificates not bother the authorities?

Fake teachers are frequently under focus in Kaduna State because it hosts the National Teachers' Training Institute. The state government in its yearly address at the graduation ceremonies sees matters affecting teachers from the prism of fake teachers.

Does it know the number of unqualified civil servants across its services? What would it do to improve the quality of teachers and teaching in the State outside reeling out depressing statistics?

Too many things around us are fake. From election results to medications, Nigerians have a bounty of fakeness. Could the preponderance of fakeness be responsible for governments not recognising crimes or tackling them in any profound manner? Should someone involved in forgery not be prosecuted? It is bad enough to use forged certificates, but worse if such a fellow is a teacher. What would he teach?

Does Kaduna State Government know it is guilty of promoting crime by freeing forgery suspects? Should it not have thought of prosecution as deterrent or it has other reasons for letting the suspects off so easily?

Governance takes more than parroting statistics. Kaduna State Government can do more to sanitise its teaching service.

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