President Muhammadu Buhari has thrown his weight behind the move of Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, to sack 21,780 teachers, who failed the competency test conducted by the state government.
The plan of the state government had sparked controversy, with many calling on the governor to back down because of the economic implication on the affected civil servants.
But speaking at a special retreat of the federal executive council (FEC) on the challenges facing the education sector, Buhari said it was no longer a secret that the sector was in crisis.
The president said the effect of decay in the education sector is glaring, vowing that his administration would change the situation for the better.
“Being an orphan, I still feel that boarding school moulded me. I spent nine year in boarding school, three in primary school and six in secondary school.
“In those days, teachers treat students like their own children. If you did well, they will tell you, you didn’t, they wouldn’t spare the rod.
“When I finished my secondary school, I didn’t work for a day, I refused to work for a day. I left home, I refused to work in the local government, and then I joined the army.
“And then I listened to one of the Nigerians I respect, he said after his training here in Nigeria and the United States, he went to his alma mater, his primary school to see what he could contribute. I won’t mention his name but when he went, he couldn’t differentiate between the students, the children and the teachers.
“And what el-Rufai is trying to do now is exactly what that man told me about 10 years ago. It is a very serious situation when teachers cannot pass the examination that they are supposed to teach the children. It is a very tragic situation we are in, and this our gathering is one of the most important ones in this administration.”