By Imam Imam
In a bid to justify the action of Kaduna State Government to sack certain class of its teachers who it said failed a competency test, Professor Pius Adesanmi made disparaging remarks about Sokoto state government’s decision to retrain its teachers and move those not good for classrooms to other parts of the civil service.
In his intervention, he wrote: “Then, you have a silly Governor from Sokoto, whose primary school teachers make those who failed the Kaduna test look like Harvard graduates, talking populist nonsense.”
Sorry Prof, neither Sokoto Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, nor the state government, is talking populist nonsense. What has become glaring is that our social media-loving Professor has lost touch with basic elements of social commentary, which is that you don’t compare apples and oranges.
A public commentator like Adesanmi holds a position of trust. Whenever he picks his pen to write, he should espouse that which is factual. In this case, Adesanmi failed in that regard.
My initial thought was that Prof didn’t read the report of the committee set up by Sokoto state government to assess the needs of its schools, and why Governor Tambuwal took the decision he did. If Prof had cared to ask for the copy of the report, he would have arrived at a different conclusion. He would have understood that the basics of the Sokoto and Kaduna scenarios were completely different.
But to sum it up, Sokoto state government set up schools needs assessment committee to identify most pressing needs of public schools in the state. The sub-committee was part of the technical committee on the state of emergency declared in the education sector in Sokoto in 2016. The technical committee is headed by Professor Risqua Arabu Shehu, a former Vice Chancellor of Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto.
The school needs assessment sub-committee visited 360 public schools out of almost 9000 public schools in Sokoto state, and submitted a report detailing what needs to be done to fix them. In the 360 schools assessed, the committee discovered that 31% of the teachers were graduates but without the REQUISITE TEACHING QUALIFICATIONS like BEd or NCE. For instance, one may be a Chemistry graduate but is not registered with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), in effect, not qualified to be in the classroom.
The government then decided to give this category of teachers the opportunity to acquire teaching qualifications, but if they can’t after series of trainings and professional upgrading, they’ll be moved to other areas in the civil service.
What’s silly or political about that?
Let me however quote Dr. Shadi Sabeh, the chairman of the schools needs assessment sub-committee, on what he and his members did:
“How can a Professor of such repute and standing make sweeping comments without understanding the basics of both the (Sokoto and Kaduna) scenarios? I will leave out the Kaduna analysis due to lack of adequate information on variables and data collection instruments that gave the emanating results.
“However, Prof should be aware that competency test and data collection on teachers’ qualification are two different things. While Kaduna set out to test the competence of teachers, Sokoto embarked on a preliminary study to a sample 360 schools which had data instruments that targeted QUALIFICATION not COMPETENCE.
“Prof should know that every study has a specialized question it intends to address. Kaduna set questions for all teachers regardless of qualification while Sokoto just generated data to analyze the level of qualified or not teachers in the system.
“Results from the field in the Sokoto scenario revealed 31 % of the teachers to be unqualified, this means these categories of teachers did not possess a teaching qualification and were recommended for further training.
“The two cases are different and each adopted a different methodology in arriving at its results. Prof should have done his homework better so as to understand these differences and the results, rather than ignorantly expressing an opinion that portrayed him as someone who has lost touch with basic research methodology.”
I rest my case.
*Imam, spokesman to Governor Tambuwal, is on Twitter @imamdimam