Reps fault presidency on 500,000 teacher recruitment, school feeding

•As UNESCO says Nigeria needs $1.8bn annually to address teacher deficit

THE chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education, Honourable Zakari Mohammed, has faulted the decision of the Presidency to “hijack” the implementation of the proposed recruitment of 500,000 teachers and school feeding programme.

He said the programmes, being handled by the Office of the Vice President, Professor  Yemi Osinbajo, instead of the Federal Ministry of Education that had all the agencies and capacity to conduct the recruitment and execution of the school feeding programme was wrong.

He spoke while delivering his goodwill message at the ongoing 61st National Council on Education (NCE) with a theme: “Teacher Quality: A Tool for Sustainable Human Capital Development.”

This came on the revelation by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Otganisation (UNESCO) that the Nigeria needed to allocate extra $1.8 billion every year, in order to address the current teacher shortage in the country.

Honourable Mohammed observed that if the two laudable projects initiated by the Federal Government would succeed and not fail like other projects in the past, execution of the projects should be moved to the Federal Ministry of Education.

He said: “We might not avoid the mistakes of the past if those programmes, as laudable as they are, are not handled by competent agencies of government.”

Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, however, said it was the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure that those employed were well trained before they were deployed, in order to make them effective in the classrooms.

He noted that in recognition of the death of teachers in academic institutions from basic to tertiary level, President Muhammadu Buhari initiated the policy for the recruitment, training and deployment of 500,000 unemployed teachers as an emergency measure to address the chronic shortage of teachers in public primary schools.

He said: “The decision to recruit so many teachers by the Federal Government could not have come at a better time when, according to UNESCO Institute of Statistics, the global demand for teachers stood at 25.8 million to achieve Universal Primary Education by 2030.

“There is no gainsaying that funding teacher education in a depressed economy, as is the case with Nigeria, is a serious challenge,” he added.