|Prof Boniface Odey State Chair of NAPTAN in Cross River|
13 December 2019
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.
With the advent of the incumbent state governor Ben Ayade particularly in the second tenure, the state government since September 2019 reportedly terminated the services of these previously engaged 500 science and Mathematics teachers in the state.
The National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria NAPTAN which is the umbrella body of Parent Teachers Associations (PTA) on Thursday pleaded with the state government to reinstate these affected 500 science and Mathematics teachers to fill the gap of the absence of their educational services.
Nigerian parents resident in and indigenous to Cross River through the State Chair of NAPTAN, Professor Boniface Odey in Calabar the state capital said that ‘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’.
Speaking earlier to pressmen in Calabar, ‘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’
Disclosing further Prof Odey 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’.
Prof Odey faulted the express decision of the state government to terminate the services of affected teachers. He observed that if the government was poised on fishing fraudulent and fake staff, government would have conducted her internal audit and set aside those identified. His words, ‘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 Odey queried.
NAPTAN is asking the State Government to reinstate the affected teachers.