By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja & FUNMI OROYE ADERINTO, Kaduna
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday expressed concern over the inability of some teachers in Kaduna State to pass an examination that they were supposed to have taught their pupils and students to pass.
“It is a very very serious situation, when teachers cannot pass their exams that they are supposed to teach the children to pass. It is a very tragic situation we are in and this our gathering together to me is one of the most important in this administration, Buhari noted.
He spoke at the Banquet Hall of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa during the Presidential Retreat on Education for for Ministers.
The President’s remarks have been interpreted as a tacit support for the plan by Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el Rufai to sack some 22000 teachers for failing an examination that was meant to test their competences..
Buhari had first read a prepared address where he had enumerated government’s plans to urgently intervene in the education sector, following a gory picture painted by the Education Minister, Adamau Adamu in a speech he presented earlier.
The President received a standing ovation and a command performance by the Guards Brigade Band signaling the end of his speech but unknown to the audience, he was not done yet.
Rather than go back to his seat, he adjusted himself on the podium as the loud ovation was thining down, cleared his throat and began to talk off the curve.
He stared by informing the audience that he needed to digress a bit to recount an experience for them to know that he truly meant what he had read in the prepared speech.
He said: I have to digress a little bit so that you know that I meant what I read.
“Having been an orphan, I still feel that whatever I did in life so far was built by boarding school. For nine years I was in boarding school, three in primary and six in secondary school.
“In those days, teachers treat their students or children like their own children. If you did well they will tell you, you did well, if you don’t do well they never spared 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 the army of that time we went through all we went through up-to the civil war.
“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 Mata, 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.”
In the speech he read earlier, President Buhari noted that education remained the launch pad of the nation an no socio economic and political advancement could be achieved without it.
His words: “No nation can achieve economic, social, political and cultural prosperity without a sound and functional education system.
“We should also bear in mind that the security and stability of the country hinges, to a large extent, on its ability to provide functional education to its citizens.”