The government of Oyo State, on Monday, kickstarted the oral interview exercise for some 7,000 applicants who scored 50 percent and above in the Computer Based Test (CBT) conducted by the state’s Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM).The chairman of TESCOM, Pastor Akinade Alamu, who briefed newsmen on the sidelines of the interview sessions, said that the successful candidates will receive their letters before the end of November.A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Alamu as saying that applicants will only be employed based on merit and competence.Alamu, who said the exercise started about seven months ago before the outbreak of COVID-19 in the state, following an approval given by Governor Seyi Makinde to recruit teachers, added that teaching and non-teaching staff would be recruited into the service of the state.He said: “When we complete the exercise for those we are interviewing today, they will resume work before the end of November.“I am delighted with today’s exercise. We started about seven months ago when the governor gave the approval to recruit seven thousand teachers and about 3,000 non-teaching staff. People applied, uploaded their credentials and we conducted the test for 67,000 applicants. “The results came out and 10 per cent of those people succeeded in scoring 50 per cent and above. So, this is why we are starting the interview today of about 7,000 applicants, which include the physically challenged.”According to Alamu, the general public has been commending the Makinde-led administration over the steps taken so far on the recruitment exercise.He added: “Generally speaking, people are satisfied with what we have done so far and everything has been transparent since we started. There might be pressure here and there but we will never succumb. We know what the governor wants and that is what we are doing. We know he is passionate about education and merit and we have to watch what he wants and comply accordingly.“Apart from the fact that we have our names to protect, what the Oyo State government wants is what we must do and abide by. So, we expect criticism here and there, but we are not guilty of any allegation and have nothing to fear.”The TESCOM boss further stated that teachers under the Parent Teachers Association (P.T.A), who have been interviewed, will be taken into consideration based on their performances.“The existing PTA teachers before this administration came in were employed from various sources we don’t know. We don’t know their qualifications and competence. But we requested that they apply and come for an interview. Once we know they are qualified and competent, we will take into consideration the fact that they have served, and this will give them the advantage. But we won’t be able to access the capability of someone who did not apply,” he said.Speaking further, he explained why the commission will not consider applicants that scored below 50 per cent in the last Computer Based Test, noting that over 6,000 applicants scored 50 per cent and above and that if the commission lowers that bar to 45 per cent, it will have about 10,000 applicants to interview for 7,000 openings.The TESCOM boss noted that the interview exercise for the non-teaching applicants will commence immediately after the ongoing interview for teaching staff applicants, adding that about 900 of the non-teaching staff, who have acquired additional qualifications and have applied to be converted to teaching staff, will be recruited along with the new teaching staff.In their separate remarks, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Administration, Reverend Ogedengbe Idowu and the Oyo State chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Adedoyin Samson admitted that the ongoing teachers’ recruitment exercise will ensure best hands are recruited into the teaching profession in the state. In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary of TESCOM, Mrs. Grace Olabisi Oderinde, who spoke while interacting with newsmen, appreciated the governor’s contributions towards improving the education sector. She urged people to expect the sincerity of purpose, merit, and objectivity in the recruitment exercise, while also assuring that only applicants with necessary intelligent quotients and passion will take the teaching jobs.SignedTaiwo AdisaChief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi MakindeSeptember 21, 2020.