September 11, 2013

20% of Kogi teachers speak bad English, can’t write own names

Lokoja –  Mr Ndamadu Ali, the Kogi Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs said on Wednesday that more than  20 per cent of public primary school teachers in the state speak bad English.

Ali made the disclosure while submitting the report of the Committee on biometric data and Certificate verification of the teaching and non-teaching staff to Gov. Idris Wada in Lokoja.

The commissioner, who also heads the committee, said the teachers could not also spell or write their names correctly.

He said the committee had established the actual number of teachers in the state to be 24, 335 and not 27, 639 as claimed by State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs).

On the teachers’ salaries, the committee chairman said the claim by the SUBEB and local education authorities as at May ending was wrong.

He said that, what government should be paying as the monthly salary of teachers’ should be N1.196 billion, and not N1. 320billion as claimed by SUBEB and LGEAs.

He said that, the committee discovered 3, 303 ghost workers that had been receiving N189 million as salaries every month for years.

“For six weeks that the committee sat, these people could not be found, and there was no excuse permit or medical report, so, we tagged them ghost workers,” Ali said.

He said the committee also discovered that some retired teachers in the state were still collecting salaries from government years after they had retired.

The committee chairman said they had compiled the names of the affected retirees and the amount collected individually, so that, it could be deducted from their gratuities.

He said the committee also observed that there were indiscriminate recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff by both SUBEB and local school authorities.

While calling for the total overhaul of the primary education sub-sector, Ali said the responsibility to recruit, promote and discipline teachers should be taken away from SUBEB and the local education authorities.

Doing this, he said would stem corruption and reduce the problem of ghost workers among other abuses in the system.

The committee suggested the training and re-training of teachers on regular basis to enhance their competence and capacities.

Ali thanked the leadership of the state chapter of the NUT for their understanding and cooperation throughout the sitting.

In his response, Gov. Wada said government would immediately set up a committee to implement the report.

He said that government would not delay the implementation so that schools that had been under lock and keys in the past five months could be re-opened.

He said that government was initially opposed to the implementation of the minimum wage, but the report would enhance the capacity of the government to pay the new wage.

The committee was inaugurated in May at the height of agitation for the payment of minimum wage by teachers in public primary schools. (NAN)