Competency Test: Mixed Feelings for Edo Teachers

Secondary school teachers in Edo State on level 16 on Wednesday refused to participate in the competency test conducted by the Administrative College of Nigeria (ASCON) on behalf of the Edo State Government.
About 900 teachers and other civil servants in various ministries were expected to participate in the examination but only about 200 were present at the examination hall.
Some teachers had presented themselves for the examination but were chased away by the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Secondary School teachers.
The protesting teachers gathered outside the Imaguero College along Sapele Road, in the state capital, venue of the examination, protesting decision by the state government to conduct the examination.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as “To become Permanent Secretary is not by force”, “No training, no exams”, “This is an evil game”, “Let the sun first shine out the already selected”, “Train is to be competent if you think otherwise”, “There are better ways to make workers productive”, “Our neck cannot be used to test your new trap”.
Some of the teachers who spoke said explanation by the state government that the written test was for promotion to the position of a Permanent Secretary was a booby trap for them.
Secretary of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) Mr. John Omon Isibor, said the title ‘Invitation to write Competency Test’ of the letter inviting them for the examination made them worry about the true intention of the state government.
He said competency test was meant for new job seekers and not for old workers about to retire from service.
He said, “We know the implication of competency test. We suspect government has a hidden agenda.
“A test is to make sure you are competent. For them to make teachers write the test is to flout the court order that gave an injunction during Oshiomhole stopping the state government from conducting competency test for teachers.
“All secondary school teachers on level 16 were called to collect the letter. We are here to see the level of compliance. The teachers writing the examination now are those that want to become Permanent Secretaries.”
Inside the examination hall, many of the participants were seen writing the examination even as more persons were seen indicating interest to write the exams.
It was gathered that some teachers shunned directives of ASUSS and participated in the examination.
Speaking to newsmen after monitoring conduct of the examination, Governor Godwin Obaseki said it was not compulsory for the teachers.
Governor Obaseki stated that it was unfortunate that many teachers failed to understand details of the examination.
Obaseki ruled out any promotion for those who did no participate in the examination.
He said, “It is not competency test. It is part of strengthening the civil service. The test is part of promotion exercise. They are already competent and that is why they are working and in the service.
“What we want to do is to see which area they need to be strengthened. The first one we had was for level 16 and 17. From that examination, soem were very good and we used them to fill exiting vacancies of Directors and Permanent Secretaries.
“The test will be used to help us understand the kind of training and the kind of competency we need to build in certain areas of those that are not strong.
“We are not sacking anybody. We want civil servant to deliver services. It is not compulsory. If you want to be promoted you can write and if you don’t want to be promoted, sit back, don’t write. If you haven’t don’t the test, there would be no basis to promote you.
“In the last exercise, two teachers were promoted to Permanent Secretaries. We are giving everybody opportunity to excel”, he said.

Author: News Editor

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