From Nwogha Ndubuisi, Abakaliki
There is a rising concern over the acute shortage of teachers in primary schools in Ebonyi State among stakeholders in educational sector and Non Governmental Organizations during the policy dialogue on improving primary schools in the state.
Speaking during the USAID State Accountability, Transparency, and Effectiveness-State2States Programme in collaboration with Ebonyi State Universal Education Board and Technology for Transformative Development Foundation (TTD) held in Abakaliki,the chairman of the National Union of Teachers,(NUT) in Ebonyi State, Comrade Francis Elechi Egwu, hinted that there is an acute shortage of teachers in basic education in the state.
According to him, “Over several years, teachers that left the service, retired or died have not been replaced. The result is overcrowded classrooms and poor learning outcomes by pupils”, he asserted.
Corroborating the NUT state chairman, the Principal Secretary to the Governor, Chief Emmanuel Obasi, noted that the issue is not the number of teachers, emphasizing that ” it is the allocation of teachers between urban and rural schools.”
“Ebonyi has an acceptable pupil to teacher ratio, the challenge is the allocation of these teachers to urban and rural schools.
“While some schools have more than enough teachers, others are grossly understaffed”, he stressed.
In his contribution, the Deputy Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Honourable Kingsley Ikoro lauded the state Governor for declaring a state of emergency on educational sector in the state.
“What is required is a basic education sector strategy that sets clear targets for the ambition of the state on education. Such a roadmap should have clear indicators for measuring success in its implementation, and I can assure you that the Ebonyi State House of Assembly will back this up with increased funding to the education sector”, he noted.
While making her contribution, Dr Rita-mary Okoro, Head of Service emphasized the importance of teacher supervision and added that adopting the measures would help curtail teachers absence from work.
“corruption is the bane of teacher supervision. We must be courageous enough to address the challenges of corruption in teacher supervision.
” When the integrity of school supervisors is compromised, no credible monitoring of schools can take place, she stressed”.
Earlier, while presenting a summary of the baseline assessment, Ewah Eleri, the Executive Director of TTD, identified some of the challenges hindering the quality of primary schools education in the state to include teacher recruitment, school supervision, the provision of learning materials and the need for a basic education strategy in Ebonyi State.
Others who spoke including His Royal Highness, Eze Dominic Alo, of Amagu Ikwo Autonomous Community and Eze Sunday Oketa, of Nkaleke Echara Autonomous community emphasized the importance of involving traditional institutions in monitoring schools.
The event were in attendance, the chairman of the Ebonyi State Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Charles Nkpuma, the former president of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey, among several high-level dignitaries