On Kaduna’s 4 working days

Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Rufai

It is no longer news that Kaduna state government has migrated to four working days. With the new policy, civil servants are expected to work from Mondays to Thursdays. Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i said the new measure is designed to boost productivity, improve work-life balance and enable workers to have more time for their families, rest and undertake agricultural activities.

I think these are good reasons to warrant the adoption of the policy. Besides, in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic, it is reported that some advanced countries have adopted the four working days policy and which is paying off.

Tthere is nothing wrong for developed countries with strong institutions and effective workforce to migrate to such a new policy. Those countries have trained and experienced manpower. By reducing the working days, nothing will change.

In the case of Kaduna, the first state in Nigeria to adopt it, the policy seems to have come at a wrong time. With the extension of the policy from ministries to education sector, which means public schools can only open for four days, one is forced to disagree entirely with the state government’s action.

The governor must have known that schools operate using syllabus and curriculum developed by National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC). The syllabus is being used by private schools. If our poorly funded public schools are to continue with the four working days policy, it means their counterparts in the private sector and other states will move far ahead of them.

This is a sad development. I have learnt that the state government wants to adjust the closing hours to augment the lost day. While the move may temporary address the rising concern, psychologically, increase in working hours will have negative impact on both the teachers and students. They will be exposed to stress. In addition, the state may incur financial burden. The government will spend millions of naira to pay overtime allowances.

My concern about the policy is that unless it is quickly reversed, education sector which has multiplier effects would suffer greatly. Since the advent of the El-Rufa’i administration, various policies are being pursued to transform the education sector. In 2017, a competency test was conducted for primary school teachers leading to the sack of over 27,000 teachers said to have scored less than 70%.

Though, the state government recruited new teachers, statistics indicates that there is acute shortage of teachers across the state. While the state is struggling with this problem, comes the four working days policy. One expected Governor El-Rufa’i to have consulted widely before adopting the policy. The policy lacks the support of Kaduna state people and should be discarded.

Ibrahim Mustapha,
Pambegua, Kaduna state