Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah at a parley with journalists on his 65th birthday decried the deterioration of teaching in the nation’s educational system, arguing that, though Nigeria is “not doing so badly, we have not yet evolved a very stable system.
“Our teachers’ education is not yet where it should be, and I have been singing it like a song since accepting this responsibility, that we must have quality teachers in our school system. And what does it mean to have quality teachers? You must have teachers who are trained to be teachers.
“Right now, the education system in terms of teachers is almost populated by more than 50per cent of people who are not trained to be teachers. We must develop the act of teaching; you must be trained as a teacher,” he said.
Anwukah explained that “if you want to be a teacher, you must be trained, you have the requisite skills, and this runs from our primary schools to our universities. You must train people on how to teach, the way we are doing it now is like half measure,
“If you do not have the teaching qualifications, please do something about it within the next one year or two to acquire the basic skills you need as a teacher, if you have to continue to function in the classroom. If not, we are urging government to look at that sector very seriously.”
The minister maintained that “there is a law presently in this country that says that if you are not trained to be a teacher you cannot be in the classroom and if you are found in the classroom, you are subject to be taken to court and nobody is enforcing it.”
He told journalists that the forthcoming recruitment of 500,000 teachers across the country will be highly restrictive, open only to NCE and B.Ed. holders. He warned that persons without basic teaching qualifications should not contemplate applying, as the system will filter them away.
The minister also stated that the Civil Service Commission will not take charge of the 500, 000 teachers recruitment exercise, given that, the recruitment is purely an educational task.
Anwukah explained that government will not listen to sentiments in support of the commission recruiting the teachers.
He added: “we will not listen to, ‘oh, they are civil servants, so they must be recruited by the Civil Service Commission,’ that cannot be obtained, all of those things must have to wait, we will do the right thing,” Anwukah stressed.
The minister also informed journalists that henceforth, government will not treat lightly any private school teaching American or British curriculum in Nigerian schools.
“How do you understand or take a private school in this country that teaches in our primary and secondary with a British curriculum?” he asked.
“What our children are studying in these private schools, they are not curriculum derived from the Nigerian school system, they are teaching them the British curriculum. That, under my watch, must stop.
“If you are so desperate of your child being a British, send him or her abroad. Unfortunately, this time, it is not easy to get foreign exchange,” he noted.
The minister also stated that the federal government had received the investigative report on the alleged rape case in Queens’ College, Lagos.
“I just received the committee here in the office, the committee has been working, they have submitted the report. I received the report some thirty minutes ago.
“The ministry will now look at the report and in the next couple of days be able to direct the final action. With that, we can inform the agitated public about the committee’s report and our final decision on the rape case,” Anwukah submitted.