President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday declared support for the primary school reform being undertaken by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State.
The governor has announced plans to sack about 22,000 teachers who failed a competency test. The Kaduna government has also commenced the process to recruit 25,000 competent teachers to replace the ones to be laid off.
The move to lay off the 'unfit' teachers has been condemned by labour unions in the state as well as a senator, Shehu Sani, who accused the governor of trying to replace the teachers with his cronies.
On Monday, President Buhari expressed his stance at a special retreat of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja held at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa.
"I visit one Nigerian I respect. He said after his training here in Nigeria and United states, he went to his primary school to see what could he contribute, I will not mention his name; but when he went, he couldn't differentiate between the students or the children and the teachers," the president said.
"And what El-Rufai is trying to do now is exactly what (the respected Nigerian) told me 10 years ago. It is a very very serious situation when teachers cannot pass the exams they are supposed to teach the children to pass. It is a very tragic situation we are in and this gathering together to me is one of the important (things) in this administration," Mr. Buhari said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how two-thirds of primary school teachers in Kaduna State failed to score up to 75 per cent when asked to write examinations. Most of the questions contained in the examination where those of primary four students, the state government said.
Scripts of some of the teachers released by the state government showed they had difficulty answering questions like the full name of the governor and the three states of matter.
Despite the opposition to the move the sack the 'unfit' teachers, Mr. El-Rufai has said there is no going back, while the state government has started receiving applications for the 25,000 teachers to be employed.