Monday, 16 December 2019

Parents decry lack of science teachers, pleads Ayade over sacked 500 teachers

Prof Boniface Odeh State Chair of NAPTAN in Cross River

13 December 2019

Parents and teachers in Cross River State have raised alarm over shortage of qualified Science and Mathematics teachers in secondary schools in Cross River state, while calling on governor Ben Ayade to reconsider his position on the recently sacked 500 teachers in the state. 

The parents who made their views known to pressmen yesterday in Calabar, spoke under the auspices of The National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN which is the umbrella body of Parent Teachers Associations (PTA). Speaking to Newsmen, the state chairman of the body, Professor Boniface Odeh, disclosed that there are two hundred and seventy-six (276) public secondary schools in Cross River State with just five hundred science and Mathematics teachers who were engaged into the State Civil Service in the administration of former governor Liyel Imoke. 

He further explained that the incumbent  governor, Ben Ayade, in September this year reportedly terminated the services of these previously engaged 500 science and Mathematics teachers in the state. 

"In the last administration, that is, Liyel Imoke, they deemed it necessary to employ five hundred science teachers. Because there were no science teachers in Cross River State not even Mathematics teachers. They brought people from outside the country, not even Nigeria, to conduct the interview. Five hundred science teachers were employed. They were posted to various schools. Even with this number, it was still not enough"

"But, this helped Cross River State to come second in the whole thirty-six states when NECO examinations result came out. Before we use to be twenty six, twenty seven. We were surprised to hear that these five hundred science teachers were laid off. Until now, nobody knows' 

"we are pleading, we are not fighting. Ayade should look into these things as urgent as possible. We are not a pressure group, we are major stakeholders in the educational sector of the state, we are asking the state government to reinstate these five hundred science and Mathematics teachers'. 

Prof Odeh who faulted the governor's decision to expressly terminate the services of affected teachers argued that if the government was poised on fishing fraudulent and fake staff, government would have conducted her internal audit and set aside those identified. 

According to him "Under normal circumstances, you don't ask them to stop working. If you know that this people are not employed by you. Do your auditing, let them be working. At the end of the day, if you find out that this person is not my staff, you remove him. Not to ask all of them to stop working". 

The NAPTAN chief informed that WAEC and NECO examinations is at the corner whereas these students are not sufficiently knowledgeable in Science and Mathematics. Again, JAMB examinations will soon be due. He narrated the ugly scenario in public schools where in the state the practice is that if a student fails Mathematics and English, the affected student will not be promoted. Now, there are no Mathematics teachers ''so, how do these students learn? If these student fail to learn we blame them, but how do they learn without a teacher". Prof Odeh queried.

Disclosing further Prof Odeh observed that NAPTAN had made several  attempts to meet with the state authority in view of addressing the issues but, to no avail. According to him 'When this thing happened, I was told, I went to the Ministry of Education. Then, there was no Commissioner. I went to the Director of Administration, Secondary Education Board, he brought the letter they sent to him from Government House, he told me he was compiling the list of all the five hundred teachers to send to government. We went to the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education, he said he has no knowledge of what is happening to these teachers, that he cannot give me any information on what is happening to these teachers. I went to Government House, we couldn't see the governor until today'

See video of NAPTAN asking the State Government to reinstate the affected teachers.