The Nigerian government says it would soon commence the recruitment of 500,000 graduates as teachers, in various institutions of learning across the country.
Minister of state for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka gave this notification in an interview with Voice of Nigerian shortly after leading officials of the ministry to the defence of the 2016 budget before the senate committee on education.
The 500,000 recruitment policy for graduate teachers was part of the campaign promises of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2015 Presidential election, and the Minister of state for Education insists that the government is not going back on its promise to Nigerians.
“Those who are not qualified, they will be recruited may be given a provisional appointment but they must attend the training required to be in our classrooms. So, from now on, if you are not qualified to be a teacher, by our preparation to be a teacher, you will not be in our classroom. So if you are aspiring to be employed under the present 500,000 teachers’ appointment scheme then you must acquire a teaching qualification in order to benefit but if you don’t acquire it, then you must go for a training to qualify before you benefit from the project.”
On measures being put in place to ensure that the policy succeeds, Professor Anwuka who is also a former Vice Chancellor of the Imo state university in south east Nigerian said, “We are working on it because we now have new hands on deck. Be assured that we would work on it to the satisfaction of Nigerians,” he stressed.
He reiterated Federal government’s commitment to repositioning the tertiary education sub-sector in order to meet specific needs of the dynamic world. Professor Anwuka assured Nigerians that the teachers’ recruitment exercise was part of measures to provide quality education to the citizenry.
Meanwhile, the Senate committee also queried a =N=10 billion increment in the 2016 Personnel Proposal of parastatals in the education sector as against =N=88, 199,311,758 appropriated in 2015.
The senate questioned why =N=98, 181,570, 230 was proposed for parastatals in the 2016 budget proposal, while Personnel Proposals of institutions like Unity schools and universities were reduced.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Aliyu Wamakko expressed displeasure at a situation where schools were losing while parastatals were gaining. He therefore directed the ministry officials to return at a later date to give a better explanation on why parastatals were given priority over schools.
“We will give you time to get us detailed answer because I am not comfortable with the answer given. Find time and give us detailed information about this. This must be addressed carefully,’’ he said.
Senator Wammakko said the committee would not rest on its oars in ensuring that the education sector, particularly the institutions met global education standard.
He expressed the senate’s readiness to ensure early release of funds to all the sectors to enable them implement the various projects itemized in the proposal.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan, who provided clarifications on some of the issues raised by the Senators, explained that the figures presented by the ministry were submitted by the various parastatals and institutions in the ministry.
She further explained that the variance in the proposals depended on the number of people enrolled in Personnel and Payment Information System (IPPIS).
“The variance depends on the number of people that still exist in (IPPIS). So it is an automatic thing that as people retire, automatically the balance comes down. So if they are not replaced by new staff then we have this variance, it is not that we lost some money.
This is an aggregate of all the parastatals, we will check to know which one has the increase or if there is marginal increase across board because what we have done is to put together all the parastatals.”
The 2016 budget defence exercise for all MDAs continues with their relevant Senate committees for the next two weeks.