Scarcity of UBE Teachers hits public schools, 28 states fail to recruit personnel
Many state governments have refused to employ teachers since 2015 despite an acute shortage of teaching personnel in public primary schools across the country, investigations by The PUNCH have shown.
Findings showed that some schools, particularly the ones in the rural areas, had as few as three teachers, who on many occasions absent themselves from work.
Teachers, who spoke with The PUNCH, bemoaned poor remuneration and non-payment of their salaries and allowances.
They said due to poor pay and unpaid wages, they had developed survival strategies including engagement in petty trading and other businesses to augment their incomes.
28 states haven’t employed teachers since 2015 –NUT
The Nigeria Union of Teachers on Monday confirmed The PUNCH’s findings, saying only eight states had employed primary school teachers since 2015.
The union’s National Publicity Secretary, Audu Amba, said apart from Gombe, Kaduna, Imo, Katsina, Kano, Lagos, Plateau and Sokoto states, other 28 states had not employed teachers in the last four years.
This, he said, had been affecting the quality of public primary education in the country.
He also said only 11 states namely Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Lagos, Plateau, Sokoto, Katsina, Yobe and the Federal Capital Territory had recruited secondary school teachers in the last four years.
Besides the non-recruitment of teachers, the NUT national publicity secretary said Abia State owed primary school teachers, five months’ salaries, while their counterparts in secondary schools were being owed 10 months’ salaries.
Amba said Benue State had not paid primary school teachers’ salaries in the last 10 months.
According to him, Kogi State owes teachers between 10 and 25 months’ salaries. He, however, explained that the amount being owed the workers was in percentage.
Amba said, “There is a global standard that a class should not have more 25 pupils per teacher. We can count the number of states that have recruited teachers. There are states that have not recruited teachers in the last three years. Meanwhile, teachers are retiring constantly with no commensurate replacement. When planning is not properly done, there will be problems.
“There is no state in this country that is not having an acute shortage of teachers in line with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s standard of 25 pupils per teacher. There are situations where a teacher handles as many as 100 pupils, that is grossly not ideal. Until the government begins to have a long term plan to fill the vacuum that the retired teachers have created, we will continue to lack teachers. All the states, including the FCT, do not have adequate teachers in their schools.”
Zamfara yet to implement N18,000 minimum wage – NUT
He said teachers in Ekiti State were being owed six months’ salary arrears from April to September 2018, adding that Zamfara State had not implemented the N18,000 minimum wage.
Amba said Ondo State teachers were being owed two months’ salaries.
He listed states where primary school teachers had not been promoted since 2015 as Adamawa, Edo, Kaduna, Plateau, Cross River, Rivers and Imo
Meanwhile, public school teachers across the country, who explained their ordeals to The PUNCH, said basic education delivery in the country would not grow until their welfare was taken seriously by the government at all levels.
A teacher in Ekiti State, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the schools in the in state needed more teachers.
“We cannot say we have job satisfaction with the development. We need more teachers as well. I don’t think there is a school around here that does not need at least two teachers,” she stated.
Primary schoolteachers employed six years ago – Ekiti NUT
The Chairman of the NUT in the state, Olusegun Olugbesan, said primary school teachers were last employed in the state about six years ago.
He said, “There is the issue of a shortage of teachers in our schools. There is an urgent need for government to look into this. But the main challenge of teachers is the issue of arrears of salaries left unpaid by the former government.”
But the Commissioner for Education, Foluso Daramola, attributed the problem to the alleged neglect of education by the immediate past government.
“But Governor Fayemi has made it a priority every month to pay full salaries and deductions unlike what operated before now,” he said.
Teachers lament unpaid salaries in Benue
In Benue State, the main complaint of teachers is the non-payment of their salaries. A class teacher at the LGEA Adaka along Naka Road in Makurdi, said primary school teachers in the state were being owed 11months’ salaries.
He said, “Is it when you are owed salaries that you will be dedicated to duty? Many of us do petty trading by the side to augment our salaries, if they come or not.”
The state Commissioner for Education, Prof Dennis Ityavyah, said government was making efforts to clear the salary arrears.
There is dearth of teachers in Ondo primary schools – NUT
Investigations in Ondo State by The PUNCH, who visited some schools, revealed a shortage of teachers.
Some of the schools visited by one of our correspondents included the Community Primary School, Ijare in Ifedore Local Government Area and Emmanuel Anglican Primary School, Ikota in Akure South Local Government Area, and the St. Paul Primary School, Akure.
Some of the teachers, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the schools had few pupils and teachers .
One of them said, “Here in our school, the teachers don’t come to school regularly. They come twice or thrice a week because none of us is living in this village.”
The state NUT chairman, Mr Victor Amoko, lamented that the state had inadequate teachers in the public primary schools.
Ondo public schools need 8,000 teachers, says NUT
The NUT chairman, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the telephone, said the state was in need of about 8, 000 teachers in its primary schools.
He revealed that the state government recruited teachers last in 2006 during the administration of the late Dr Olusegun Agagu.
He said, “We are supposed to have about 15,000 teachers in our primary schools in this state but we currently have 7,000.”
He stated, “ Although the state government is renovating many schools, what is the essence of having beautiful structures without pupils inside them? We are having a few pupils in our primary schools because there are no teachers. If we have enough teachers, parents will enrol their children in our schools.”
But when contacted, the state Chairman of SUBEB, Mrs Oladunni Odu, said, “We need like 8,000 teachers in our schools but we need money.”
She said the state government was working to employ teachers.
In Sokoto State, where there have been increase in enrolment, schools visited by one of our correspondents complained about inadequate teachers.
For instance, a teacher at the Rimawa Primary School in Goronyo, Goronyo Local Government Area, said the school with 1,170 pupils, had only 10 teachers.
In Gombe State, the Headmaster of Bubayero Primary School, Gombe, Kawu Muhammad, in an interview with The PUNCH, blamed some politicians for recruiting people based on political loyalty.
He stated, “I find it difficult to reprimand them (such teachers), especially when they do not attend their classes because I have had situations where they (teachers) would ask you if I knew who recommended them. People without passion for the job have overtime been employed maybe because they were jobless.”
But the Secretary of the Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board, Hajiya Zulaihatu Madugu, explained the efforts of the state government to lift the standard of education, adding the government was committed to teachers’ welfare.
Investigations in Enugu State also showed that public primary schools were battling with a shortage of teachers.
A teacher at the Carter Primary School, Ogui, located opposite Railway Main Gate by Ogui Police Station, who did not want his name mentioned, said, “We don’t have teachers. We have only five teachers including the headmistress.”
When contacted, the Commissioner for Education, Prof Uche Eze, said the state government had invested in education more than any other previous administration.”
Kwara owes teachers four months salaries, headmaster get N30,000 monthly
In Kwara State, the teachers were not being paid their salaries regularly. It was learnt that this had made many teachers, especially the female ones, to engage in petty trading such as selling puff-puff and buns unofficially to the pupils.
It was learnt that the primary school teachers were being owed four months’ salaries by the state government.
A female teacher, who spoke exclusively with The PUNCH, said she sold foodstuffs such as yam flour, rice, beans, maize and guinea corn because of payment of irregular salaries by the government.
She said, “Some of us do petty trading to augment our salaries. We received 80 per cent salaries in March and 60 per cent in April and sometimes the percentage is even lower than that.”
“Besides, the salary being paid to us by the state government is poor. Though a majority of us have NCE certificate and others have first degree but can you imagine a headmaster who is on level 14 salary scale and has spent 30 years on the job earning a little over N30, 000 as salary per month.”
The Chairman of the state wing of the NUT, Toyin Saliu, while lamenting poor condition of service of teachers in the state, confirmed that teachers in the state were owed four months’ salaries.
“Yes, teachers in primary and junior secondary schools are owed four months salaries. The government paid salaries in percentage, in March.”
In Ebonyi State, a teacher at Akanto Primary School, in Amasiri clan, Afikpo North Local Government Area, who spoke to The PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said the school had only three teachers.
He said, “Besides the headmaster, we are just two teachers in the school. No educationist can say this is normal.”
In Ndukwe Primary School, Ndukwe village in the Afikpo North Local Government Area of the state, a teacher said, “We are seven teachers here, including the headmaster. And we have School One and School Two.”
One of our correspondents, who visited Ihie Primary School , in the Amasiri clan also in Afikpo Local Government Area, observed that the school environment was muddy and overgrown with weed.
When one of our correspondents got to the school at 10.30am on Friday, there were no teachers, but nine pupils, who were seen playing in the corridors of a dilapidated classroom.
Asked in their dialect if their teachers would come to school that day, they unanimously, said, “One of our aunties said she would come, but from the look of things, they may not come today because of the rains.”
A lawyer and community leader, Francis Ogbonnaya, who hails from Ndukwe village, lamented the state of the schools.
He stated, “This is a call to the education ministry, because it is only proper education that can put an end to the many cult-related crises.
“How can you allow little children alone in the kind of schools we have here, without any adult with them? This is because, by being alone, they develop other types of violence and crimes. This is very unhealthy. Officials of education ministry are paid monthly and they should do their job.”
The state government denied knowledge of the situation in the schools. In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, the state Commissioner for Education, Sabinus Nwankwegu, said teachers should be blamed for not informing the government about inadequate teaching personnel in their schools.
He stated, “The teachers and their headmasters have not come up to complain about this, please. This is not what they should just be saying on the phone. Have they complained to the commissioner?”
Unpaid salaries forced teachers to take up odd jobs – NUT
Meanwhile, the NUT spokesman explained that teachers resorted to odd jobs to survive.
He said, “Teachers are not paid. You will not expect them to go into a classroom with an empty stomach. Those teachers are finding life very difficult.
“Whether one likes it or not, if one wants to survive, one must find a means to survive. If these teachers were adequately taken care of, they will not have the time to think of trading or picking up other odd jobs but their situation has forced them to take odd jobs to survive.
“In a situation where the salary that is the legitimate right of the worker is not given to him or her as and when due, I don’t think it is out of place if they have to take to trading and other menial jobs to survive.”
Repair public schools, pupils tell govts at Children’s Day event
In a related development, pupils in public schools across the country have appealed to various state governments to provide amenities for their schools.
The pupils, in separate interviews with The PUNCH as part of the Children’s Day celebration, said government should close the gap between the rich and the poor.
A primary 3 pupil of Raria Primary School, Bauchi, Abubakar Ahmed, “We don’t have enough desks and as a result, some of us sit on bare floor. I am not happy about that because other pupils sit on desks in their schools and we can’t.”
Another pupil, Amina Tafida of Kobi Primary School, Game Village, Bauchi, appealed to the state government to repair his school.
A primary four pupil of NKST Primary School, Makurdi, Audu Torkuma, urged the government to restore the school feeding programme which had been suspended in the state.
On her part, Excellence Attah of the RCM Primary School, Makurdi, appealed to the government to equip all public schools in the state.
In Ekiti State, a pupil of Emmanuel Anglican Nursery/Primary School, Okesa, Ado Ekiti, Favour Osuntoyinbo, said, “There is no space in our school. No space for sports and we also need additional classrooms.”
On his part, Isah Ayisat of Surajudeen Elementary, Ota Efun, Osogbo, urged government to provide notebooks and pencils for pupils.