By Tope Sunday
Despite the mega rally staged by the coalition of the labour unions on Thursday to protest the sack of over 21,000 primary school teachers, Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has declared that his administration will not rescind its decision to sack teachers who failed the competency test.
Blueprint Weekend recalls that the orgainsed labour led by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, on Thursday grounded the state to protest the mass sack of the teachers, who were laid-off as part of education reform embarked by the governor.
Featuring on Channels Television news on Thursday, which was monitored in Abuja, the governor said that he knew there would be resistance towards the reform in the education sector before he started it.
He said: “We knew that there will be resistance, any attempt to improve a bad system meets resistance and we know that trade unions are not interested in national interest, they are interested in promoting the narrow interest of their members. So we knew that all these would happen but we are ready for it.
“We have already taken second, third and fourth look at this situation. We have studied what previous governments have tried to do and there is no going back. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are not going to reverse our decision; these teachers are gone, we are going to employ new teachers.
“The process of testing and interviewing the 25,000 teachers we are hiring to replace the 21,780 that we have fired is on and we are going to go ahead with it.
On the strike embarked upon by the teachers to protest their colleagues’ sack, El-Rufai vowed that those who joined the strike would be sanctioned and replaced.
“As I said, it is the children of the poor and ordinary people of Kaduna State that go to public schools. We are committed to ensuring that they get decent public education as I got when I was growing up in Daudawa in Katsina state.
“I went to a public school and I got decent education. I was orphaned at the age of eight but I got free, basic education and that is why I am where I am. I intend, at whatever price, at whatever cost to bequeath that to children of ordinary people in Kaduna state. There is no going back.
“We will not compromise on that. We will not be blackmailed; we will not be intimidated. No amount of strikes or protests will make us change our position on this matter. We will do whatever it takes, and I say this with all sense of responsibility. We will adjust the school calendar to ensure that our children get the full term of school.
“We will do whatever it takes to ensure that we restore the quality of public education”.