The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has raised concern over the appointment of tutor-generals and school principals in Lagos State, saying, qualified Muslim teachers on grade level 17 were allegedly being sidelined when appointing principals across the state public schools.
It explained that the need to ensure the government make the education sector a model of excellence in keeping with the status of Lagos as the centre of excellence necessitated the concerns.
The Islamic human rights organisation said that it was surprising that the state government that has always been in the forefront of liberal policies, improved workers’ welfare, modernisation and other forms of human progress would be caught up in the web of alleged religious biases in its appointments of administrators in its education sector.
MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, appealed to the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to revisit the education sector with a view to correcting alleged lop-sidedness in the appointment of tutor-generals and school principals across the state education district.
Through a statement released on Tuesday, Akintola said that it was disturbing that the state currently has no single Muslim tutor-general and that out of the 30 Head of Departments in the six education districts, only five Muslim were appointed HODs.
“There are six hundred and sixty-eight (668) principals in Lagos State public schools. Of this number, five hundred and sixty-five (565) are Christians while only one hundred and three (103) are Muslims. This implies that Christian principals are 84.6% while Muslim principals are 15. 4%. Like in the case of tutor-generals, some principals who have long converted to Christianity but who retained their Muslim names were made principals while the real Muslims are left to rot in the system.
“What is the implication of this imbalance? Firstly, tutor-generals influence the appointment of school principals but anybody can guess what will happen in a situation where all the tutor-generals are Christians. Again, the use of hijab in public schools is largely determined by the disposition of school principals. Since the ratio is 84:15, it becomes clear why majority of the school principals disallow the use of hijab in their schools despite a subsisting court judgement in favour of its use.
“MURIC calls for the appointment of more Muslims as school principals. We lay emphasis on the appointment of real Muslims and not Muslims who have converted but retained their Muslim names. This should not be difficult if the authorities consult leaders of the Muslim Teachers Association (MUTAN). We believe that our call is timely and it is more so particularly when the state government has recently invited applications into the position of TG/PS and it is poised to recruit more teachers.
“The question of nonavailability of qualified Muslims does not arise because Lagos is replete with hundreds of well qualified and competent Muslims who are yearning for the opportunity to exhibit their potentials. In addition, many Muslim teachers who are on grade level 17 appear to have been placed on redundancy as they are not appointed as principals or vice principals. Their list can easily be obtained from the leadership of MUTAN or that of the Lagos State Muslim Community,” the statement read.