By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – THE Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, the Association of Primary School Head Teachers of Nigeria, AOPSHON, are at loggerheads with the state government over plans to conduct tests for potential heads of primary schools which the unions have described as competency test but the state government has denied saying it was committed to repositioning primary education and that it wanted to replace retiring school heads.
A statement jointly signed by the state chairman, Pius Okhueleigbe and Assistant Secretary-General, Mike Itua said the union would resist any attempt by Edo SUBEB to post junior officers to head schools over and above their colleagues.
The teachers said SUBEB by the planned test wants to sour the relationship that is existing teachers and the state government.
Chairman of Edo SUBEB, Dr Joan Oviawe, said it was not a competency test but to have strong leadership at the schools.
Oviawe said the test was for teachers for grade 12 and above and for those having three years to serve.
She stated that it involves writing of letter introducing themselves to the community where the school is located and oral interview with a panel.
She said the state government has done a lot to lift teachers in the state and that the two unions should collaborate with the state government to reposition primary education
In its resolution at the end of an enlarged meeting of the union, all public primary schools substantive heads or acting heads and teachers were asked to disregard any form of threat either from SUBEB leadership, agents and privies of the board.
The statement said “All our members should braze up and be prepared for further action as may be deemed necessary and directed by the union should the relevant government board and agent refuse to positively address the issues raised in this communiqué not later than 5th September, 2019. School head and acting heads are advised to continue to carry out their lawful assignments and must not handover to anybody as illegally directed by SUBEB.
“That the union would resist any attempt by Edo SUBEB to post junior officers to head schools over and above their colleagues as headship should be strictly on seniority.”
The teachers accused SUBEB leadership of becoming dictatorial adding that “SUBEB under the leadership of Dr. Joan Oviawe has surreptitiously devised a competency test mechanism for the determination of who becomes a head of school in Edo state in contravention of an existing legal suit No. NICN/AK/10/2014 in the case of Nigeria Union of Teachers Vs Edo State Government and 7ors instituted at the National Industrial Court, Enugu; and the established service practice of school Headship by Seniority.”
On its part AOPSHON advised the Edo state SUBEB not to continue with the planned exercise in order to allow the prevailing peace in the education sector to continue to thrive.
The association in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Fidis Oigbochie and Secretary, Aigberomwan Agho it remain resolute with the earlier decisions of of the state wing executive council of NUT.