The planned sack of about 22,000 teachers who failed to pass competency test by Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna state was a right decision to sanitise the education system, President Muhammadu Buhari, said on Monday.
The President said this in Abuja when he declared open a Special Retreat of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the Challenges Facing the Education Sector in Nigeria.
“To digress a little bit so that you know that I meant what I read. Having been an orphan, I still feel that whatever I did in life so far was built by boarding school. For nine years was in boarding school, three in primary and six in secondary school. In those days, teachers treat their students or children like their own children. If you did well they will tell you, you did well, if you don’t do well they never spared the rod.
“When I finished my secondary school, I didn’t work for a day, I refused to work for a day, I left home, I refused to work in the local government, and then I joined the army. And the army of that time we went through all we went through up-to the civil war. And then I listened to one of the Nigerians I respect, he said after his training here in Nigeria and the United States, he went to his alma-mater, his primary school to see what he could contribute. I won’t mention his name, but when he went, he couldn’t differentiate between the students, the children and the teachers.
“And what El-Rufai is trying to do now is exactly what that man told me about 10 years ago. It is a very, very serious situation, when teachers cannot pass their exams that they are supposed to teach the children to pass. It is a very tragic situation we are in and this our gathering together to me is one of the most important in this administration,” he said.
The President said drastic measures need to be put in place to salvage the nation’s educational system, saying that stakeholders should not feign ignorance that the quality of education in the country has dropped and would require greater attention and improvement.
He said the All Progressive Congress-led federal government was committed to all the electoral promises made to revamp the education sector, stressing that the current statistics of out of school children stood at 13.2million up from the 10million estimated by the United Nations few years back.
“We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future. This administration is committed to revitalizing our education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive,” he said.
The commended officials of the Ministry of Education for the education summit to overcome the numerous challenges facing the nation’s education sector and strengthen the Ministerial Strategic Plan that had already been developed by the ministry.
“The significance of this summit is obvious. We cannot progress beyond the level and standard of our education. Today, it is those who acquire the most qualitative education, equipped with requisite skills and training, and empowered with practical knowhow that are leading the rest.
“Education upgrades the living standard of citizens and enables people to become better and more productive citizens. It is a human right that creates a safe, healthy and prosperous society. These efforts are justifiable only to the extent that schooling is effective in promoting the realization of national objectives, attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Education For All (EFA) by 2030.
“These targets are, happily, in harmony with the manifesto and the CHANGE agenda of our Party, the All Progressive Congress (APC),” he said,
The President challenged participants at the retreat to come out with strategies that would address the challenges of basic and secondary education, teacher training and professional development; technical and vocational education.