EVALUATION OF THE ON-GOING LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT RECRUITMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICERS UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE LAGOS STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
Sharing a little and touching part of my job hunting experience.
The state government announced vacancies in the state for education officers in the month of July, 2016 which I did apply for as Education officer II on the 19th of July and the application which was to come to close on the 1st of August, 2016.
The qualities expected of every applicant was a degree in education or degree in any relevant subject plus a post graduate certificate of Education for those not originally in education line. The recruitment process continued the same week the online application closed which was on Friday 5th of August. On the 4th of August, a friend informed me that the Civil Service Commission have started inviting applicants for screening exercise through text messages and they’re to come along with original copies of the
- Birth certificate
- Degree certificate
- NYSC certificate
- O’level result
In addition to these were two passport photographs which I possess all.
Through this information, we both decided to be present at the screening even without invitation. That morning, one of the officers addressed all the applicants and instructed that if we didn’t get any invitation text message for screening, we should leave as the list of those invited was with them. During the screening, we noticed there were four categories of applicants;
- Applicants who were invited for screening and possess all the requirements for the exercise
- Applicants who were invited and do not possess all the requirements for the exercise
- Applicants who didn’t get any invitation text message and their names were on the list with the officers
- Applicants who didn’t get any invitation text message and their names wasn’t on the list with the officers.
Expect more episodes soonest………
Aside these categories of applicants, there were distractions like the insurance and pension companies who were busy distributing forms the above listed categories of applicants who are yet to know their fate after the on-going recruitment process. On that Friday, we were instructed by the officer that only mathematics and integrated science applicants were invited, so we left hoping to be invited the coming week.
On Monday 8th August, was the continuation of what they couldn’t complete on Friday as we were told since we know Fridays was always short working days. I stayed back home on that Monday still hoping for an invitation message as I checked my phone at every beep and vibration like someone who was expecting an August visitor. I was in this mood till the whole of Monday passed by without an invitation.
Other episodes will come in later…….
On Tuesday 9th of August, I set out as early as usual without breakfast with the zeal that this job opportunity wouldn’t pass me by. I was ready to spend every dime on me on transporting myself for the screening exercise knowing fully well that I still fall under category 4 as stated in episode 1 which only an invitation would make me be among category 1 applicants. From the first day when the screening started, I usually have a big question bothering me which I knew none of these officers were not ready to provide answers to.
I studied educational management with a teaching subject option in Economics. I graduated with a class of degree which was the best they could ever ask for. The big question was now, ‘ Will I be invited as an educational management applicant or I’ll be invited based on my subject area which was economics? ‘ this question keeps melting down my hopes as those in position to provide the answers will pursue anyone like a mad dog on sighting an applicant approach. I got to the screening centre on Tuesday and I met with my school colleagues during undergraduate days who were major economics students and were also here for the same purpose. So we sat together while they called the list for the day. Economics of course was called among other disciplines yet my name never surfaced under my teaching subject area, so I approached an officer who never gave me a listening hear only for him to ask if I received message and I gave him a response, he chased me out of sight as usual.
After listening to the list called for the day, I proceeded home on an empty stomach without achieving my objective that day still hoping to be invited as an educational management applicant since management will not be taught at secondary school level, I felt we could be in the administrative department of the education system as some people suggested. So I still exercised patience for educational management applicants to be invited as Wednesday came knocking in slowly. On my way home on Tuesday it was raining, I had to find a shade to stay till it was manageable for me to proceed on my journey home.
This paragraph brings me to connection, networking, long leg or whatever you could call it. As I was still under the shade, a colleague who we found ourselves in this same big question case called to find out the outcome of the day, though he didn’t study exactly the same course as I did. He studied educational guidance and counseling with social studies teaching option, as we were discussing on phone an elderly man also under the shade was silently listening to my conversation on phone. He then had a discussion with me after the phone call, he also said it could be possible that we were reserved for administrative positions in the education system after which he promised to help out and he gave me his number to call him once I get home that day. But before I left, I gave him a copy of my application slip as he requested that since we have exchanged numbers I could send to him my details through this medium once I get home, then a better idea came in that I should give him a copy of my online application slip which already contains all the needed details. The elderly man in question was a government official with the Lagos state government.
After little discussion, the tension of the rain had reduced to a manageable extent, so we both departed as I went home with better expectations for Wednesday. On getting home, I had to quickly settle for whatever I could eat, at least since morning after which I placed a call to Alhaji, the government official I exchanged numbers with earlier to be sure he had me in mind. During the phone call he told me that he had already given my application slip to his colleague in the education ministry, so I was happy to end the call on this note as Wednesday was fast approaching………..
Episode 3 continues
While the application was still on, I had two of my extended family members and an intimate friend who also applied for the job and they persuaded me to help them out with my link to also secure the job, I don’t just know how to tell them that the people I had depended on fell my hand at the time I needed them the most, in order to free myself from any negative thoughts, I had to tell them to forward their details even when I knew the links wouldn’t even work out for myself. I know they’ll find this difficult to believe but it’s just the reality because the words of Einstein answers it all ” When people refuse to help you, just thank them because of them you did it yourself ” this was just the condition I found myself, people you least expected to fall your hand will do at the point you needed them the most, I am not blaming Alhaji for this but my personal people that could have created time if only a day to go with me but they were no where to be found. Am sure those who depended on me are reading this, with my experience after service year, I have learnt that most of the unemployed youths have a race to run on their own and only very few get employment through sure networks and connections. The people who promised heaven and hell during your study and service year for a link up to a sure employment will start giving you cock and bull stories. The fact remains that people who were never part of your struggling history will show up during your abundance story wanting to be part of your success story. And by then if you show them attitude, they’ll look for all possible means to bring you down.
Episode 4 coming up….. Anticipate the most annoying episode
Episode 4 (The most annoying episode of all)
On 10th August, Wednesday morning we set out for a fresh day as usual, got to the screening center very early, sat with my colleagues two from guidance and counseling and the other five to six were for business education as we await the officers for the days challenge.
Not long as we waited the officers announced the subject areas to be treated for the day which includes guidance and counseling and business education, on hearing this I was at least happy for my colleagues and at the same time it boosted the hopes in me that educational management applicants will be called since guidance and counseling applicants were called. As the surprises continued to unfold, they read through business education as well as guidance and counseling only for my most expected colleagues were not called for screening, we still exercise patience as they called the list over again and the case was still the same as I also await the call for my department, to my greatest surprise the officers came with a list which was referred to as special list. This special list consists of contains the names of over seventy applicants, and they were all through one or two connection(s), network(s) or link(s) and some weren’t even in education line as the expected qualifications for the application requires. What surprised me most about the special list was to discover someone who studied law when we that had Bachelor degree in education weren’t given priorities over them. Out of curiosity and annoyance, I approached the officers in charge that I didn’t get any invitation message and that my department was yet to be called, possibly the message was sent and didn’t deliver. Then he replied annoyingly that the computer had shortlisted the qualified and applicants and only them were messaged, I began to ask myself what yardstick was used to shuffle me and my friends out of the whole process without checking our credentials as the recruitment process was becoming obvious that it wasn’t transparent and fair.
Then he replied again, ”is it everyone who applied that are expected to be invited?” then I knew am in for serious mess. Then I went back to my seat with a sober reflection on the special list and that feeling that I was unjustly treated.
The most annoying part of it was that, in other sensitive professions like medicine, law, pharmacy, maritime, dentistry etc. An educator cannot just gatecrash into their professions without their certifications but in the case of educational system the reverse is the case, you’ll find even someone who’s never educated establishing a school and taking up the affairs without consulting the educators who has gone through the proper training on the ethics of teaching and teaching as a profession.
This is a gross misconduct and fallacy in the educational system of the country that has to be corrected. If this isn’t done, I see no good reason why our educational system will not remain crippled and the system of Education of my dear country will keep dropping in standard.
Episode 5 on the way (the protest)
.Episode 5 (The protest)
Knowing fully well that employment opportunities like this comes once in every three to four years, so I gained some strength, courage and motivation as usual since I have every certifications needed for the desired vacant employment position than some applicants who got invited (category 2 applicants). Some of the applicants who were invited since on the 5th of August and after who never turned up through out the screening process for one or two reasons best known to them while others turned up without necessary or incomplete credentials.
Why can’t we at least be considered for some of these reasons? These were questions that keep bothering my gentle mind and none of these so called officers were worth approaching as they were never helping matters since day one. All these were in my mind when I got up from bed for the day’s hurdle and hustle.
Thursday 11th August was a bright day, I left for Lagos state Secretariat Alausa, Ikeja early enough. The officers were there on time as well to start their daily duties. What amazed me most was that all the disciplines/subject areas been called from day one were repeated today, so this was passing a message across to my number six that there’s a foul play going on here. Only for me to find out that the names were repeated to see if the absentees from previous screening exercise were present at the venue while we who were in category 4 applicants were anxiously waiting for the Civil Service Commission to pick up our calls.
When we were waiting I quickly placed a call through to the Guidance and counseling applicant that his department has another list not knowing that they were only calling to see if the absentees were present among us. He arrived there in no time as he joined me on the hot seat like we were taking part in who wants to be a millionaire.
After a while, a thought came to my mind to call Alhaji. After speaking with him, he said that I should keep listening that my department will still be called. So I concurred till the names finished. Then I called Alhaji again to request if he could show up there so that I will be considered since he works in the Secretariat though not in the civil service commission. To my greatest surprise, Alhaji who promised heaven and hell didn’t pick my calls after four times of dialing his number so I felt I’m now an unwanted pest on his precious farm.
I immediately erased his promises out of my mind and thought of the way forward. While were waiting an insult upon injury bestowed on me as I received a mail from ARM Pensions who had earlier cajoled me to register for pensions fund with their establishment for a yet to be certain job opportunity. I immediately it as well without caring about the contents of the mail. At this point, saying I was in a state of coma or trauma was an understatement while my heart beats faster cus I knew it was coming closer to the end.
Episode 5 continues
The heartbreak came in when I heard from an officer addressing an applicant that today was the final day for screening. Then I began to think of alternatives which could make my objective achieved before the deadline comes to pass. While all these was going on, another list was read and referred to as general list. This list was formulated between Wednesday and Thursday night as a result of more external influences yet I didn’t hear my name.
I summoned courage once again to approach two officers not minding whatever insults they want to pass on me, I asked if no educational management graduate applied for but he said educational management list had been called that day, this wasn’t true because I was always alert at every discipline/subject area’s list and never never took a break, why won’t I know when my department list was called?
To the second officer, I pleaded to her for help so she could check the list of educational management for my name, to cut the story short, she couldn’t find my name even after reading out the list over again. I knew they were obviously dubious set of criminals. What else could be done to secure a job that I haven’t done? More ideas keep coming in but I felt some could be funny at the same time questionable so I kept them unleashed in one corner of my brain. Then the guidance and counseling applicant brought up a better and accepted idea. We left the screening venue as we were mixed with both category 2 and 4 applicants proceeding to block 9,the Lagos state civil service commission block as I slightly read through their motto. Getting to their entrance, we were not granted entrance to the building, so we just started executing an unplanned peaceful protest and we weren’t ready to vacate the place until our requests were answered.
Stay tuned as the protest is about to start in the next episode, thanks for going through the genesis of the protest.
While we occupied the Lagos state civil service commission frontage, we noticed that a Nollywood actor now an Honourable member of the Lagos state House of Assembly, in person of Honourable Desmond Elliot as he approached the building, immediately I felt our saviour has arrived. Even before we could lay our complaints to him, he was already in the building. From his own initiative, sensitivity and observation, he noticed the faces of the set of people he passed by and he came back to ask us what the problem was. We were all happy and eager to see who could listen to our issues. After listening, he went back into the building to see the chairman of the Lagos state civil service commission on our behalf only to come back to give us stories that wasn’t relating to our requests, that 85,000 applied for the vacancy meant for just 500 applicants and he pleaded to us not to cause any harm as he left us and went his way.
After all these, we weren’t satisfied by his response. We increased in number as time passed by, thereafter the permanent secretary of the commission also appeared this time with the officers coming from the screening venue. We patiently await them as we show grievances on how they’ve unjustly treated us.
The permanent secretary first acted adamant, not wanting to listen to our proposals. She later succumbed to give us a listening ear. She instructed that the general list be read again as we calmly listened knowing fully well that our names were not there. Only category 2 members among us who their names appeared on the so called general list were called into the building for their screening immediately after which no questions were welcomed from us as the door to the block was slammed on our faces.
My request from the media, is to intervene in this issue in order to see that justice prevails. Thank you as I watch you take necessary actions