Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka, has warned against fraudulent practices in the procurement, supply and distribution of free instructional materials to schools and pupils.
Anwuka, at an interaction with newsmen yesterday in Abuja, said that instructional materials at primary and junior school levels remained free.
He said that any irregularity observed in the process would be met with stiff penalties as the Federal Government attached importance to basic education.
The Universal Basic Education, UBE Act of 2004 provides for free, universal basic education for every Nigerian child of school age.
“Free instructional materials must remain free as directed by the Federal Government.
“If we find out anything otherwise, disciplinary measure will be taken; this government has zero tolerance for corruption.
“Basic education level ought to be the foundation upon which other levels of education are built on,’’ he said.
Anwuka pledged to make serious effort to improve the quality of teachers at the primary school level.
According to him, the Nigeria Certificate of Education, NCE, ought to be the minimum qualification for teaching in primary school but many teachers at that level fall short of the training.
Anwuka, a former vice-chancellor of Imo State University, said teachers’ demand at the primary education level must be addressed.
“Those we send for NCE training these days seem to be different from what we used to have at the primary level.
“These days, we hear about Education-Biology, Education-Physics, Education-Chemistry – these things are not in the primary school curriculum.
“What we do is to prepare NCE graduates to transit to the universities to acquire Bachelor of Education degree.
“Teaching must stop being an all-comer affair in this country; it must stop being a fall back platform for those who cannot find other jobs,’’ he said.
The minister said that the Teachers Registration Council must ensure that only those trained as teachers teach while those not trained as teachers must take a course in pedagogy before teaching.
He said that efforts were needed to re-position teaching and salvage education sector.
He assured that working condition of teachers would be reviewed in order to attract best brains into the profession. NAN

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