By Felix Khanoba
No fewer than 17,141 teachers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, on Saturday sat for the professional qualifying examination, PQE, administered by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN.
While supervising the conduct of the exercise in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, noted that the move is to ensure professionalism in the teaching profession.
Echono warned that nobody should be employed as a teacher if he or she does not have a teaching qualification, adding that if you are not qualified as a teacher, you cannot teach.
“We have commenced the process of enforcing and implementing the policy of allowing only qualified teachers in all our schools across the country. We are starting with government schools and will thereafter move to private schools.
“We are already in good discussion with both states and private proprietors to ensure that this is done because this is the single largest investment you can make to your country, the future generation in ensuring that they get good quality education”, he said.
The permanent secretary added that the conduct of the examination has been encouraging due to some new IT features introduced to checkmate issues of malpractices.
“The process is seamless and with the introduction of technology, we are also improving efficiency and innovations. We believe that going forward, this is something that people can look up to in a regular calendar and as a prerequisite for you to become a teacher in this country. So if you do not have this certification, you are not a teacher; you do not have the right to practice.
Echono also disclosed that the ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Communication, National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, and other agencies that require data to have a situation where the identity of all primary school children will be stored as soon as a child registers in any primary school in the country.
“Our ultimate goal in the education sector is to be able to collaborate. We have been doing this with the Ministry of Communication, with NIMC and also with other agencies that require data.
“We want a situation where from the point where a child registers in any primary school in this country up to death, you have your records, you can update them as you move on but you cannot change your identity,” he said.
According to him, a database of all qualified teachers has been compiled, adding that the government will make available the database to states to facilitate employment of qualified teachers who are not currently engaged.
Earlier, Mrs Jacinta Ogboso, TRCN Acting Director, Specification and Licencing disclosed that about 17,141 were to participate in the batch ‘A’ examination nationwide.
While disclosing that Osun state has the highest number of candidates, she added that all teachers must sit and pass the examination before they would be considered as qualified teachers.