Extortion in Cross River State Education Sector is heartbreakingly Pathetic

Dr Godwin Amanke the Commissioner for Education in Cross River
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Dr Godwin Amanke the Commissioner for Education in Cross River

How a noble profession as teaching is now done out of the need to be employed rather than in commitment to passing knowledge is indeed, worrisome. However, numerous factors can be pointed out to be responsible for this broad challenge which births several other challenges but the root factor is the negligence of Government. Like other crucial sectors of Government; health and information, education is a sector where exceptional career quality must be taken into consideration when appointing a head, not politics.

The imposition of laptops on teachers WITHOUT necessary training/workshop on its usage and proper feasibility study of its usefulness to the learning environment and the long term sustainability of such policy is an error that ought to have been stopped. Errors are meant to be corrected but it is quite convenient for people particularly in government to progress in it until such abnormality becomes normal probably due to some pecuniary benefits.

Government valued the 2GB laptop at One hundred and fifteen thousand naira (115,000) to be deducted from the teachers’ salary for a period of 24 months, whereas the market value of same brand new 2GB laptop is about Eighty thousand naira (80,000), Ninety at best. The quality of what was collected is lower than the ones in the market expectedly due to mass production and maybe cheaper rate for such volume of demand.

In an interaction with some teachers, it was discovered that there are inconsistencies in their monthly deductions. It flunctuates between 5,700 – 7,000. At 5,700 monthly, the total amount deducted =136,800 in 24 months and at 7,000 monthly, the total amount deducted =168,000. A few teachers alleged that their salaries have been deducted for more than 24 months and are yet to get their laptops. One of them confirmed that although no refund was made, he had complained about the continuous deductions from his salary after 24 months and the illegality was stopped. Others have resigned to fate till whenever those in charge of such deductions deems it fit to stop.

Commissioner for Education, Amanke Ebunshua (PhD) should interface with the public, operate on constructive opinions and note the implications of kid gloves approach to issues concerning the Ministry which includes but not restricted to;
1) Exploitation of Students by Teachers to make up for what is taken monthly from their already low income.

2) Low motivation and commitment to impact knowledge as expected of every teacher.

3) The deliberate undermining of the ethics of Teaching is unhealthy for the intellectual competence of Students in the State when compared to their contemporaries from other A1 States.

4) Examination malpractices at elementary level is alarming in the State.

I recommend the immediate stop of imposition and the deductions made for so-called laptops. There should be an investigation panel into this fraudulent act and those responsible should be brought to book. There should be periodic vocational training and behavioural seminars for teachers. Importantly, a supervision team of trustworthy, uncompromising, professionals in academics should be sent to every Local Government occasionally and unannounced so as to effect disciplinary actions on defaulting teachers.

Indiscipline is what results to a Maths teacher asking students to join in breaking melon in the classroom or picking pumpkin leaves when they should be learning Arithmetics and Quadratic equations. A Principal who is in position to caution teachers goes to school half drunk and poor parents are made to pay for unexplainable things for their children/wards in schools with structures that looks like a mismanaged poultry house.

As we await an immediate response, Mr. Amanke Ebunshua should be reminded of the State Library which he boasted a few months ago to do when his attention was drawn to it on social media. The media is only a watchdog, he should not be uncomfortable with journalists if there is indeed nothing to hide. As a public servant, he has our best wishes.

Modlin Odu.