Alexander Okere, Benin
As Nigeria marks the International Teachers Day, the Nigeria Union of Teachers has called on the Edo State Government to take urgent steps to fix the problems facing the education sub-sector.
The State Chairman of the NUT, Mr. Pius Okhueleigbe, made the call in a chat with our The PUNCH in Benin, on Thursday.
Okhueleigbe explained that while current efforts by Governor Godwin Obaseki to introduce technology in the education sub-sector were commendable, public schools in the state had allegedly been starved of subventions, which were last received in 2012.
He said, “As I speak with you, subventions are not sent to the schools. We plead with the government to do something in that area because the teachers run the schools with their money.”
He added, “The teachers on grade-level 15 to 16 are not getting their teachers’ special allowances because the position, “Assistant Director,” had been reflected in their promotion letters. We are saying that the governor should approve the new nomenclature so that teachers in that category will get their TSAs.”
The state chairman lamented that pupils were subjected to inappropriate learning conditions due dilapidated structures.
He also said most of the schools lacked adequate manpower to meet up with the increase in enrolments, just as he called for an end in deductions from teachers for the national housing scheme.
The Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Joan Oviawe, could not be reached for comments.
Calls put across to her mobile phone number rang out while she had yet to respond to a text message sent to her.
But Okhueleigbe said, “The schools are grossly understaffed. We are equally calling on the governor to use his good offices to ensure that something is done in that direction. Pupils are not learning in a conducive atmosphere.
“The deduction for the national housing scheme should be stopped forthwith. You cannot impose the payment of the money on the teachers; it should be voluntary.
While commending the state government for organising a training programme for teachers, under Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation, Okhueleigbe pointed out that the timing for teaching and learning under Edo-BEST was against established rules.
“The regulated time for resumption is 8am while the closing time is 1:45pm. Anything beyond that is not within the law and is unacceptable to the union. We have written to the board (SUBEB) and the governor should do something about it,” he added.
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