From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
The governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, may have to brace up for a battle with Labour in the state following plans to go ahead with the proposed competency test for teachers in secondary schools in spite of resistance put up by the teachers’ union which sees the exercise as a means to downsizing.
Oshiomhole who announced the plan to go ahead with the action during a meeting with the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, ASUSS, in Benin City, said the exercise is not about downsizing but removing those unqualified for the profession.
“It is not an easy task but I have to do it. All I can promise you and I need to repeat it, nobody is in a hurry to sack anybody. If anything, I have directed that they should advertise for more teachers. We have to break from the past. Changes hurt but changes are inevitable,” he said.
He explained that it would be irresponsible for him to place the job of a few persons over and above the destinies of a whole generation, as the future of the child is something that cannot be compromised.
The governor said mistakes of the past which have been identified cannot be left to continue, stressing the state government cannot continue to knowingly put the future of its children in the hands of people who will do damage it.
“We have resolved, we are firm that the state cannot possibly continue to leave the children in the hands of those who will destroy their future. I will be surprised that those whose profession is teaching, setting examination and writing examination regard assessment as something degrading,” he said.
Oshiomhole noted that some states have already conducted similar tests for teachers and that there was nothing new in what his government is about to do.
In his remarks, the national president of ASUS, Charles Ifaluyi, commended the governor for the achievements recorded in the eduction sector, but urged him to re-appraise the situation and conduct an on-the-job assessment for teachers rather than the proposed competency test.
He said contrary to views that teachers are afraid of the assessment test, the teachers welcome the idea but believe that the process is flawed.
State chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Emma Ademokun, on Monday advised public school teachers in the state to shun the assessment test.