Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed the sacking of 21,000 teachers who failed a primary school examination.
President Buhari approved the dismissal despite strong opposition from labour unions.
The examination was conducted by the Kaduna State government for 33,000 teachers, as part of its education reform.
President Buhari endorsed the sacking at the opening of a special retreat of the Federal Executive Council on Education, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday.
Kaduna Governor Nasir El Rufa’i came under attacks recently, especially from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), over the action on the teachers, many of who are secondary school certificate holders.
The mass layoff prompted a protest on November 8.
However, President Buhari described the situation as "very, very serious’’ and said "it is bad that teachers cannot pass the exams that they are supposed to teach the children’’.
“Having been an orphan, I still feel that whatever I did in life so far was built by boarding school. For nine years, I was in a boarding school, three in primary and six in secondary school.
“In those days, teachers treated their students like their own children. If you did well, they told you, you did well, if you didn’t do well, they never spared the rod," he said.
The president said that with the rot in the education sector, drastic measures had become necessary to salvage the situation.
He said the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) was committed to all the electoral promises made to revamp the education sector.
The Nigerian leader also revealed that the current statistics of the out of school children stood at 13.2 million, up from the 10 million estimated by the United Nations a few years back.
“We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our launch-pad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future.
“This administration is committed to revitalising our education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive.”
He commended the Ministry of Education for setting the stage for the national conversation that aimed at refocusing the education sector.