The decision of the Federal Government to recruit 500,000 teachers as part of its plans to revamp the country’s education sector has continued to generate divergent views taking into cognizance workable modalities to realizing the plans. 

Over the years, stakeholders in the education sector in Nigeria have attributed the seemingly dysfunctional status of the country’s education sector to inadequate teachers and lack of qualified teaching professionals amongst other factors.
Following the glaring shortage of teachers in the national’s public schools, President Buhari has pledged his administration’s determination to embark on recruitment of about 500, 000 teachers to train and deploy them to teach in public schools, especially in the rural areas.

“We will devote a significant portion of our recurrent expenditure to institutions that provide critical government services. 

We will spend N369.6 billion in Education and in partner with the state government and local government areas, we shall recruit, train and deploy 500, 000 teachers…” President Buhari has said while presenting the 2016 appropriation bill to the National Assembly recently.

However, some analysts have described the determination of the Buhari led administration to overhauling the education sector by recruiting and injecting 500, 000 teaching professionals in 2016 as succour to the dying sector.

Meanwhile, while some Nigerians welcome the move by the federal government to kick start the process of employing education graduates and NCE holders to fast track the revival of the country’s education subsector, others with different school of thoughts said that besides allegedly rocking the recruitment process with corruption, there were other myriads of challenges militating the progressive growth of the country’s education subsector beyond recruitment of teaching personnel.

To some Nigerians who commended the federal government’s efforts, recruitment of 500, 000 teaching personnel will go a long way to reducing the rate of unemployment in the country and providing a platform where employable graduates parading the street will engage in productive adventures, a step they said will boost the nation’s economy and reduce the incidence of crimes.

To other analysts, the recruitment process may just be like every other recruitment exercise in Nigeria where most of the people who are qualified for the recruitment with superlative and excellent performances during the oral and written interviews would be ignored in favour of cronies of those in corridor of power, allowing nepotism and favoritism to hold sways.

Sometimes in 2013, a report from Teachers’ Verification Exercise as reported in some sections of the media revealed that, some primary school teachers in Kogi state did not know how to speak well

 English while a Female teacher in Edo state found it extremely difficult to read out the contents of her own Curriculum Vitae (C.V) after over 20 years of teaching experience. In the same year, primary four mathematics examinations were conducted for primary teachers in Kaduna state but only one of the teachers who sat for the exams was able to score 75% as others were reported to have allegedly scored between 0% to 25%.

While the leadership of National Union of Teachers (NUT), the umbrella that superintends over Nigerian teachers’ affairs, have on many occasions decried the opaque methods associating with teachers recruitment because in most cases, the problem of unqualified people teaching Nigerian children are caused by the people employing them as their appointments are always based on super-connection and not on personal competence, diligence and performance.

The union has also expressed fears over the government’s plan to recruit 500, 000 teachers as contained in a statement by its General Secretary, Ikpe Obong, NUT has alleged that, the process might be used as a means of political compensation especially after the recent general elections, and therefore called on the government to involving its leadership to forestall recruitment of quacks into the teaching profession.

In a chat with The Authority, Executive Director of Education for All and Career Foundation (EFACAF), a nongovernmental organization in Abuja, Mr. Akwu Success Salifu, who commended the efforts of the federal government to employing such a huge number of graduate teachers, also advised the government to look beyond recruiting personnel to providing other teaching and learning facilities to complement teachers’ efforts.

Mr. Akwu lamented the dearth of facilities such as libraries and laboratories in many public primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, explaining that, the cardinal aim for recruitment the teaching personnel would be trounced if they are not equipped with the 21st Century’s educational facilities.

“I must appreciate President Buhari and his team for the good plan to revive our education sector. The truth is, there are many challenges facing the education sector and recruitment of teaching personnel is just one out of a hundred of them. What becomes of a good farmer after employing him and you do not give him working implements, his skills and strength will find no expression,” Mr. Akwu averred.

He added: Besides, there are other issues associating with this recruitment: do they have a correct data of graduate teachers and NCE holders in Nigeria? 
What modalities are they going to use for this recruitment? Is it going to take similar trajectory that other recruitment exercises in the country have taken? Are they going use ‘Quota System’ which has killed merit and proficiency in our land?” Mr. Akwu argued.

On her part, Mrs. Akpede Bridget Elijah, an Abuja based Educationist said that, employing 500, 000 teachers will be a mile stone achievement by the present administration as it will reduce the rate of unemployment and get our teeming unemployed youth to work.

“If the federal government is able to partner with state government and local government to employ 500, 000 teachers, that to me, is a great achievement because they may also employ other people in other sectors of the economy which will reduce the rate of unemployment.”

“I am appealing to the government to make the recruitment exercise transparent to enable the qualified ones to be employed because if the recruitment of these 500, 000 teachers are left to job racketeers, qualified people without connection will be side-lined, Mrs. Bridget elucidated.

An Abuja based Political Scientist, Mr. Daniel Senusi Musa, who also spoke with the authority, said that, the recruitment of 500, 000 teachers will reduce the monopoly of private school and boost the efficiency of public schools, stressing that, the recruitment exercise will improve on the standard of living of the people that will be recruited.

“It is a good thing for this country. Sending 500, 000 qualified teachers to the public schools will boost the quality of our education and better the life of the people to be employed.”

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