While attempting to make Kaduna great again, there are critical questions we must answer to help weigh intents of the government and objectivity of critics. These questions range from: Is there need to reform the educational sector in the state? [Yes]. Do we have incompetent teachers teaching in schools? [YES]. Was there need for a competency test? [YES]. Was El-Rufai right to have conducted a competency test? [YES]. Was the competency test meant to reform our education system, or meant to reduce the number of teachers by sacking them so as to minimize cost? [Let’s x-ray that]. Be patient while we take a careful study of some facts and figures made available by the government.
Based on result sheets made available, the total number of teachers who wrote the competency test were 34,201. And based on witness accounts, the test was conducted in three (3) groupings, which allows a teacher to only sit for only one of such groupings, namely: GENERAL TEST, ARABIC TEST, and CRK TEST. 27,629 teachers wrote GENERAL test, 4,934 teachers wrote ARABIC test, and 1,638 teachers wrote CRK test.
Now, this is how the competency test took place; those who teach Arabic took their test on ARABIC, likewise, those who teach CRK also took their test on CRK. GENERAL test comprised of all other teachers whose line of teaching is neither for Arabic, nor CRK. It means they were teachers ranging from those teaching Mathematics, English, Fine Arts, Hand Writing, Social Study, Physical Health Education, amidst other subjects taught in primary schools.
From the aforementioned, check with me to understand whether or not there was fairness and justice in the mode with which the tests were grouped. My analysis will be restricted to only the pass mark of 75% pegged by the Kaduna state government. 2,995 teachers passed the ARABIC test, this represents 60.7% of those who wrote ARABIC test- [very impressive, I must say]. 1,158 teachers passed the CRK test, this represents 70.7% of those who wrote CRK test- [impressive too, I must say]. 7,438 teachers passed the GENERAL test, this represents only 26.9% of those who wrote the GENERAL test- [Damn!, this is so terrible]. The facts and figures are there for every sane mind to crosscheck. Based on the above performance level, I give a pass mark to the government for conducting ARABIC and CRK test, but adjudge the government as being wicked and irresponsible for conducting the GENERAL test. What exactly were they thinking? It means from what we have of Arabic and CRK, we can say, we have a good number of teachers who are good in their field of specialization. We can also categorically say, there is mass failure in the GENERAL test because the government decided to be irresponsible in ushering teachers questions which weren’t related to their field of study. For example, why would you test a Mathematics or English teacher on current affairs or politics? Is current affairs or politics what they are expected to teach pupils in their classes based on the educational system curricular? To be honest, it was bad to conduct the General test in such a manner without concentrating on Subjects as excellently carried out for ARABIC and CRS tests.
The strength of the competency test is that it can truly be used to sack those who performed woefully [very bad], while those on the average can be trained for better output, but we are faced with challenges of intents which apparently points at sacking the huge number of civil servants to cut cost than intents of reviving the educational standard. Well, some would want to question the above opinion and say there is a proposal ongoing to employ teachers. Good as it may sound, I will ask of what importance will it be to sack about 22, 610 teachers to employ 25,000 teachers when of a truth the system is the problem and not the teachers?
With respect to the rot in the system, it is very true that in our schools, a teacher is apportioned about 4 subjects to teach, this is not to state the fact that most of this teachers are not even employed to teach what they studied in their various Advanced Level of education. One of the reasons why some teachers don’t get it right is because of lack of enough teachers in some schools, hence overburdening those within the system. This has left us with a situation where a teacher who went to college or the university to study CRK, ends up employed by the government to teach Mathematics or English. Tell me then, how will teachers perform when the system is the real problem. So, should we say the government is being fair to teachers, especially those made to write the GENERAL test? [Absolutely No!].
In conclusion, I will simply appeal that the educational system be truly overhauled in its true sense of being overhauled, than exerting more pressures on the teachers. Those who took the GENERAL test will need to be tested based on their subjects just as done to ARABIC and CRK teachers, that in my opinion will be rationally fair. The idea of teachers teaching more than one or two subjects and even progressing to teach 4 to 5 subjects should be looked into, for therein lies the source of unproductiveness of employed teachers. If truly the Millennium Development Goal’s proposal is to be followed in having a good and sustainable educational system, then, each class should have at least a sizable number of teachers to cover all the subjects and this should also be based on their fields of study. The Kaduna state government will need to get back to its drawing board and set a standard for private schools to follow and not vise versa. The government needs to first make what it has work. The teachers are an infinitesimally small problem compared to the system which the government has directly or indirectly permitted.
The performance level in both the ARABIC and CRK tests leaves me with no doubt that Kaduna state has competent hands considering 60.7% and 70.7% respectively. The problem is the GENERAL test, and should be revisited again in the interest of all- the state government and its mass citizens.