The Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, has said the Lagos State Government is not conducting any competency test for teachers in its primary and secondary schools.
It was reported last week that the state government would carry out an assessment of teachers in public primary and secondary schools, to ascertain their skills and competence.
But in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, Oladunjoye said the state government would not be conducting test in the real sense of it.
She said, “We are not conducting any test.” Rather she said, “what the government has done was to sensitise the teachers about the plans it has for them.”
She said the plans include putting in place competencies that teachers who want to come into teaching profession must possess, and for them to earn promotion in the course of service.
She had responded in a text message on enquiries on the issue: “We want to put in place competencies that our teachers must possess to be eligible to come into the system and to be promotable.”
She said the ministry and other relevant agencies were still working on the details, and as soon as they were ready, it would be made public knowledge.
She added, “The Ministry of Education, Teachers Employment Pensions Office and, to a large extent, the ministry of Establishment, Pensions and Training will be involved.
“It is aimed at putting round pegs in round holes and to promote professionalisation of the teaching profession.”
She said in conducting such competencies, no penalties would be applied; but those who did not measure up, “will have reduced opportunity of going higher (in the teaching profession).”
Oladunjoye, while addressing the teachers last week, had said the assessment would be conducted within the state Teachers’ Competency Framework and the objective was to ensure teachers had the right competencies for optimum performance.
She said, “We are carrying out a competency assessment of our teachers to ascertain their skills and competencies and to see if such matches their job responsibilities.
“You see, the skills required to teach in a primary school are not the same skills required to teach in a secondary school; so we want our teachers to have the right skills, especially ICT skills.
“We want to ensure that the right people have the right responsibilities.”
She added that the exercise was not to weed out any teacher from the system as those found to be deficient would be properly trained.
Governor Babatunde Fashola, had also on the occasion, said quality education was a misnomer without teachers with right skills and competency levels.
Meanwhile, some academics have explained that primary and secondary school teachers in Lagos ought not to be worried about the competency test allegedly proposed by the state government, as such test is part of their professional assessment.
They gave this explanation on Wednesday in separate interviews.
According to Dr. Akeem Adekunle of the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, such test is a viable technique drawn up by every employer to determine those who are diligent in service, and deserve promotion, and those who are not.
“One of the conditions of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria is that there would be a continuous mandatory professional assessment.
“This is important because knowledge can be obsolete. Even in the academics, we have our periodic assessments without which no lecturer can be promoted.
“So I believe while government needs to improve on the facilities being supplied to schools, emphasis should also be laid on the quality of teachers, which starts from such competency test,” he said.
Another don, Dr. Bassey Ubangha, explained that competency test does not suggest dismissal of teachers, as some have misconstrued it.
Ubangha said, “Teachers who do not do well should be helped through re-training and workshops.
“This test seeks to achieve a major objective, which is to ensure that teachers are still qualified to impart knowledge to the pupils entrusted to them. That is done in almost every field of human endeavour. So, I don’t expect teachers to be jittery.”
“However, teachers who are found wanting consistently can be removed from service. That is the inevitable part of a competency test.”
For Ayinde Abimbola, an expert in Curriculum Studies, competency test for teachers is the only way to keep them abreast of new developments around the teaching profession; and he urges government to make such a regular feature of teachers’ monitoring and assessment.
Earlier in the week, the Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Lagos State Chapter, Mr. Segun Raheem, said the teachers’ competency assessment is an agreement between the government and other stakeholders.
He added that the competency test would replace the conventional promotion exams, and it would enhance professionalism among teachers in the state. (Punch)