By Emeka Mamah, Chinedu Adonu & Ifunanya Ozougwu
ENUGU—The Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, in Enugu State, has condemned the state government for allegedly coercing school principals in the state to sit for promotional examinations saying that it would resist any attempt by the government to work with the outcome of the examinations.
Over 800 school principals in the state had been gripped with fear of uncertainty following attempts by the Post Primary Schools Management Board, PPSMB, to sack those who have either over-stayed in service or were due for retirement, using the outcome of the examinations set for them last week.
The PPSMB has said that those due for sack include principals who have attained the statutory retirement age of service or worked for 35 years or overstayed.
Sources told Vanguard that the principals took the examination with others who were on Teachers Salary Scale, TSS, Grade Level 16 and wished to head schools.
At the time of this report, school principals had been informed that they were no longer in charge of any school, pending the outcome of the qualifying examination.
Public Relations Office of the PPSMB, Mrs Amalu who confirmed the development said that three categories of principals would be sacked based on the result of the qualifying examination.
Amalu who spoke in a telephone interview with Vanguard shortly after the principals had sat for the examination at Queens School, Enugu, Tuesday, said that the PPSMB had discovered that some of the principals had either over-stayed in service through falsification of their particulars or service years adding that those affected would be fished out and sacked.
He said: “As we are speaking, there is no principal who is heading any school now. All of them were told that they were not in charge of any school now until after the outcome of the examination.
“When the result is released, those who would be successful will be posted to head schools, while principals who did not fail the examination and those who are not due for retirement would be posted to schools as class room teachers.
“They were all employed as teachers and as principals. Principals are just political appointees, so anybody fails in the examination will be posted back as classroom teachers,” she said.
The examination was the first of its kind since the history of the state.
However, in a swift reaction, the NUT Friday, summoned its executive committee members to a meeting in Enugu, where the members resolved the fight the government over the “bad and discriminative education policy in the state.”
The secretary of the union, Comrade Sam Umo-Inyang who spoke to Vanguard after the meeting said that they were in dialogue with the PPSMB on the matter, pointing out that drastic action would be taken if dialogue failed.
“We are in dialogue with the School authority hoping that they will respond positively but if failed to, we will take action,” he said.
The NUT had earlier dissociated itself from the action embarked upon by the PPSMB through radio paid advertisements, “ The NUT, Enugu State branch dissociates itself from the examination administered on principals of secondary schools in the state,” adding that the principals are supposed to be accorded the respect as their counterparts in ministries.
The NUT then asked the principals to keep calm, while discussions between the union and the government continued. It then asked the PPSMB to stop the embarrassment so far meted on the principals even as all executive committees of the union in the 17 local government area of the state had taken control of the situation.