The Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN says about 46,000 aspiring teachers wrote its Professional Qualifications Examination PQE across 35 states of the federation in 2020.
According to the Registrar TRCN, Professor Josiah Ajiboye, the Council, successfully conducted a batch by batch Computer Based Test in July, despite the threat of COVID-19 and the prevailing social distancing rules.
Professor Josiah Ajiboye who disclosed this to newsmen during a press event on teachers training, however, explained that the examination was conducted in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.
He said “After we successfully conducted the 2020 PQE July exams across the 35 states including the Federal Capital Territory, the Hon. Ministers of Education felt confident that if we were able to carry out this exam in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines, then basic schools could also be re-opened for exit classes to sit for their examinations”.
He, however, explained that Kaduna State was exempted from the examination because of the relatively high rate of the coronavirus infection at the time in the state.
‘‘The Council wrote to the Governor of the state, seeking permission to conduct the exams in July, but could not secure approval of the state government.
“We believe the state was not too comfortable with the idea because there were worrisome figures of COVID-19 cases in the state, this may be part of their reasons, but we are ready as soon as they are ready,” Ajiboye explained.
Meanwhile, the TRCN boss has also decried the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the teaching profession across Nigeria and tasked state governments to include teachers in its pandemic education responses.
Stressing that the outbreak has adversely affected the livelihoods of 63 million primary and secondary school teachers, the TRCN boss urged the government to preserve the employment and wages of teachers as the Coronavirus crisis has placed pressure on public budgets and finances.
While noting that the continuous closure of schools poses a challenge for the education sector in Nigeria, he said the council was proud of Nigerian teachers who have been on the frontlines, ensuring that learning continues despite the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 global health crisis threatens to significantly slow progress towards many of the global goals, in particular, the Sustainable Development Goals, it is also likely to exacerbate the global learning crisis and global education inequalities as the impact will fall disproportionately on the poorest”.
“Around the world teachers and school leaders have been rapidly mobilising and innovating to facilitate quality distance learning for students in confinement with and without the use of digital technologies.
“There is also the need to prioritize teachers and learners’ health, safety and well-being as schools are gradually being reopened to learners, “he stated.