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Schools Reform In Cross River: 20,000 To Be Recruited, Erring Principals

Cross River State Government has announced that it requires 20,000 teachers to address shortage in public schools in the State.

The Commissioner for Education, Stephen Odey, who disclosed this during a press briefing in Calabar on Tuesday, said that the Governor Bassey Otu-led administration has embarked on massive employment of teachers to bridge the gap.

He, however, noted that owing to paucity of funds, the employment would be carried out in phases.

The Commissioner further noted that there were several ongoing reforms to revamp the education sector in the state.

Odey said, “We are determined to reform the sector holistically because we want to make Cross River a reference point in education sector amongst comity of states.

“There is already a memo before the governor for us to start with the employment of 6,000 teachers. We discovered that many schools, especially in the rural area, had only two teachers and this is not how we intend to be the best in the country.

“The money the government paid as fee for West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) for students in the state will amount to nothing without teachers to teach them.”

Odey further disclosed that priority would be given to the employment of teachers in their catchment areas as the state was not buoyant enough to pay peculiar allowances to teachers in rural areas.

Speaking on the payment of WAEC fees, Odey explained that the 16,301 names on the list was padded saying “the list was not exhaustive as some schools that submitted late were not captured.

“The only issue that arose from the list was that we found out that some names were duplicated during compilation which brought the figure to about 16,287 students.

“Even at that, we had students from about 20 schools that were not included because of late submission.

“For instance, a particular school in Boki had over a thousand students not included. For the avoidance of doubt, those principals that were found not to have been diligent in their duty have been sanctioned.

“About 37 of them are in this category and are going to be demoted to the classrooms.”

The Commissioner further said part of the reform is to ensure uniformity in school system in the state as well as go after illegal schools.

“Upon resumption in office, I discovered that schools across the state, both public and private, operate different school calendars.

“We have been able to streamline this to a large extent and still working to ensure all around complaint across the state.”

By Ayodele Oni, The Source Magazine