THE Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has alleged that Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s government is pushing to casualize the teaching profession in Kaduna State.
The union made the allegation in reaction to the government’s dismissal of 2,357 teachers in the state service last weekend for failing or not participating in a competency test.
NUT secretary in Kaduna State, Adamu Ayuba, said in an interview with The ICIR on Monday that the sack was a witch-hunt of teachers in the state.
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He said after sacking over 21,780 teachers in 2018 for allegedly failing competency tests, the state took the latest decision over the same allegation.
The sack affected the new national president of the NUT, Audu Titus, who hails from the state.
Titus, a former national publicity secretary of the union, took over the leadership of the NUT in May after the union’s national president, Nasir Idris, emerged as the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Kebbi State.
Speaking with The ICIR, Ayuba said the state government usually employed many of the teachers it had sacked to deny them the opportunity of getting pensions and other retirement benefits.
He frowned at the involvement of management staff of schools in the competency test, including the punishment the state government meted on those it said failed the test.
According to Ayuba, it is easy for anyone to impersonate and write the competency test for whoever they want.
“It is possible for one person to write it for about ten people within one hour.”
He said teachers expected the competency test’s result to be out within a short time, but the government released the result of a test written last December, six months after. “They can manipulate the result.”
He questioned the rationale behind the government repeatedly sacking teachers and re-engaging them.
“These teachers were adjudged competent when the same government employed them in 2017. But now, the government says they are no longer competent.”
He also said the duty of verifying teachers’ competence rested with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), not the state government.
Following the latest sack, Ayuba said the state executive council of the NUT met on Monday and expressed dismay over the government’s action.
The council said the state government would have waited for a pending court case involving the government and the union.
He urged teachers in the state to be patient because the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has waded into the matter.
Ayuba, however, stated that if the government failed to resolve the matter with the NLC, his group would head to court.
There are over 30,000 teachers in the state, according to Ayuba.
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