The Federal Government has restated its commitment to flush out unqualified teachers from teaching in all the government-owned and private schools across the country.
The assurance comes as about 17,141 teachers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, wrote the professional qualifying examination, PQE, administered by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN.
While supervising the conduct of the exercise in Abuja on Saturday, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc Sonny Echono, noted that the move is to ensure professionalisation of teachers.
Echono warned that nobody should be employed as a teacher if he or she does not have a teaching qualification, adding that if you are not qualified as a teacher, you cannot teach.
“We have commenced the process of enforcing and implementing the policy of allowing only qualified teachers in all our schools across the country. We are starting with government schools and will thereafter move to private schools.
“We are already in good discussion with both states and private proprietors to ensure that this is done because this is the single largest investment you can make to your country, the future generation in ensuring that they get good quality education”, he said.
The permanent secretary added that the conduct of the examination has been encouraging due to some new IT features introduced to checkmate issues of malpractices.
“The process is seamless and with the introduction of technology, we also improving efficiency and innovations. We believe that going forward, this is something that people can look up to in a regular calendar and as a prerequisite for you to become a teacher in this country. So if you do not have this certification, you are not a teacher; you do not have the right to practice.
Echono also disclosed that the ministry is collaborating with Ministry of Communication, National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, and other agencies that require data to have a situation where the identity of all primary school children will be stored as soon as a child registers in any primary school in the country.
“Our ultimate goal in the education sector is to be able to collaborate. We have been doing this with Ministry of Communication, with NIMC and also with other agencies that require data.
“We want a situation where from the point where a child registers in any primary school in this country up to death, you have your records, you can update them as you move on but you cannot change your identity,” he said.
According to him, a database of all qualified teachers has been compiled, adding that the government will make available the database to states to facilitate employment of qualified teachers who are not currently engaged.
On the new salary structure of teachers approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, he said.“Now, even in the public service, every day I am inundated with requests by people who originally studied education but find themselves working in different agencies and ministries, wanting to return to their original careers because now the remuneration will be higher than the civil service scale, and they even have a tenure that extends five years more than what the average civil servant will do.
“And again, we have commenced the implementation of this; we are working closely with the head of service; she’s been wonderful and very supportive, and salaries and wages commission to as we speak, computing those rural allowances, science allowances, hazard and so on to ensure that teachers get their reward her on earth and not hereafter.
Earlier, Mrs Jacinta Ogboso, TRCN Acting Director, Specification and Licencing disclosed that about 17,141 were to participate in the batch ‘A’ examination nationwide.
While disclosing that Osun state has the highest number of candidates, she added that all teachers must sit and pass the examination before they would be considered as qualified teachers.
Speaking on the issue of teachers with special needs, she said that the TRCN chief executive has been addressing the issue.
“The issue of people with special needs among the teachers is something that cannot be overlooked. However, there are certain issues that one cannot wake up and deal with in just one day.
“We have commenced the process of addressing, identifying and knowing them. The number of those with such needs especially the visually impaired. We are already in discussion with institutions that specialise in that area like the federal college of education Oyo”, she added.