The Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, Ebonyi State Chapter, Weekend stated that following the embargo placed on employment by the present administration, “teachers who have resigned, retired or left the service have not been replaced in Ebonyi State.
The Chairman of NUT, Ebonyi State, Comrade Francis Egwu stated this in Abakaliki during the formal presentation of the results of the completed baseline assessment of three hundred and twenty-seven primary schools to the State Government.
The baseline assessment of the public primary schools was done with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The NUT Chairman further explained that the inadequacy of teachers across the length and breadth of the State has “led to over-crowded classrooms and impaired the condition for effective learning” in the state.
“We must base reforms in basic education on facts. The fact remains that Ebonyi State has a gross inadequacy of teachers. With the current embargo on employment, teachers who have resigned, retired or left the service have not been replaced. This leads to over-crowded classrooms and impairs the condition for effective learning”.
While thanking the Governor for his efforts in improving the outcomes of the Ebonyi State education system, the Executive Director of Technology for Transformative Development Foundation (TTD), Ewah Otu Eleri stated that the baseline assessment will allow the state government and education stakeholders to identify priority areas for intervention.
“such priority areas include the improvement of learning capabilities, access to learning materials and the overall learning environment. Other areas include teacher recruitment, training and improved conditions of service”.
According to him, “key investments are needed to bring Ebonyi schools to the twenty-first century. This includes the scaling up of school infrastructure, improved supply of school furniture, more conducive classrooms, water and sanitation and electricity in schools”.
In his remarks, the Executive Chairman of the Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board, Chief Hyacinth Ikpor, thanked USAID for supporting the State in implementing the project.
Ikpor harped on the need for partnership between the government and teachers to ensure that educational reforms in the state becomes a success.
“Teachers must recommit themselves to improved standards of teaching, and rededicate themselves to their primary duties. On its part, the Government will continue to improve teacher capacity building, welfare and supervision”.
While making his contribution, one of the resource persons, Chief David Nwachukwu, stated that while the State Government has a primary responsibility, it is important for parents and host communities to step in and complement the efforts of the government.
According to him, “we must build a strong partnership between communities and the government in the management of public primary schools. Parents and communities must not only show more interest in the provision of amenities but must also ensure that teachers take their responsibilities seriously”, he added.
A Director in TTD, Eze Igweogbuoffia, encouraged stakeholders to use the baseline assessment as a launching pad for building consensus for the required reforms in basic education in Ebonyi State.
According to him, “a strong coalition is needed to drive forward the needed improvements in basic education. We call on key stakeholders, including the state government, the private sector, community associations, faith-based organisations and other NGOs to join hands with us to develop a strategic plan for reforming the education sector in Ebonyi State”, he concluded.
The State Coordinator for USAID’s State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness Project, Dr Sam Onyia thanked the Ebonyi State Universal Education Board and TTD for the effective delivery of the baseline assessment of primary schools in the Ebonyi State.
He encouraged education stakeholders to use the research for effective reforms of education service delivery.