With the date secondary school teachers are to sit for a competency test in Kaduna State still unknown, a number of the teachers are said to be expressing serious fear of flunking out.
Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i of the state recently disclosed that exam for secondary school teachers would be conducted to get rid of those that are incompetent. “We have finished tests for primary school teachers and we are going to administer competency tests for secondary school teachers too,” he said.
It would be recalled that the state government last year conducted a similar test for over 30,000 primary school teachers in the state out of which 21,780 failed as they were unable to obtain 70% pass mark set by the government.
Those that failed the competency test have been replaced with newly recruited teachers. The competency test for primary school teachers and the subsequent sack of those that failed generated a lot of brouhaha with the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) describing the action of the state government as unfair to the teachers.
Plan to conduct a similar test for secondary school teachers is already beginning to arouse anxiety as the teachers fear that it might be like that of their primary school counterparts and will not augur well for them.
A secondary school teacher with the state government in Zaria said she is not scared of the planned competency test but noted that competent teachers can only be known if they are tested on micro-teaching.
“It should be a test on micro-teaching where the teachers will be assessed in the classroom. There are qualities a teacher needs to possess and this can also be seen in the classroom because some people are very intelligent but are not good teachers,” she said.
“Majority of secondary school teachers are specialized on different subjects, so this should be put into consideration so that a teacher that specializes in English Language will not be assessed on Economics or another subject.
“If the test will be like the one conducted for primary school teachers, competent teachers cannot be found that way,” she added.
Another teacher who gave his name as Ibrahim appealed to the state government to engage the body mandated to regulate the affairs of teachers to conduct the exercise so that teachers can be assessed based on their areas of specialization unlike what obtainable during the test conducted for primary school teachers.
He added that the pass mark should also be fair enough so that the state government does not end up losing competent teachers in the process of trying to keep good hands.
A teacher at Kargi in Kaduna who pleaded anonymity said she is not in support of the competency test for secondary school teachers. “I don’t just like that test and I don’t want it conducted,” she said.
When contacted on the preparedness of NUT towards the test, the state chairman, Comrade Audu Amba, said the union has never kicked against competency test for teachers but has always insisted that such tests be conducted by the right body mandated to regulate anything that has to do with teachers, which is the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).
“We are not the employers of the teachers. NUT is a trade union that is also after quality and not quantity. If the state government intends to test teachers, it should engage the right body to do so and since government has agreed to engage TRCN, we don’t have any problem with the conduct of the test because that has always been our position.
“Every profession has its regulatory body, so if anything will be done to teachers, it should be through TRCN. So, we are happy that the state government has officially written to TRCN to come and conduct the test,” he said.
Source: Daily Trust