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Teacher Shortage: 18 States Fail To Recruit Teachers In Five Years

Teacher Shortage: 18 States Fail To Recruit Teachers In Five Years

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Summary : Eighteen states of the federation have failed to recruit teachers in five years, data exclusively obtained by our correspondent from the National Union of Teachers in Abuja has revealed. This comes amidst the outcry over the shortage of teachers across the country. Recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission lamented the shortage of teachers in public schools. Sunday PUNCH reports that over 47 million pupils are currently enrolled in 171,027 private and public primary and junior secondary schools in the country. UBEC puts the total number of public schools at 79,775, while private schools currently stand at 91,252. Regarding teachers, the commission stated that 354,651 teachers were currently teaching in early childhood facilities, while 915,593 were employed in primary schools, and 416,291 working in junior secondary schools. Similarly, the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria recently raised concerns over what it described as the shortage of qualified teachers in the country. It said the shortage was more pronounced in rural areas, exacerbating educational inequality. The Registrar of TRCN, Prof Josiah Ajiboye, disclosed this in an interview with Sunday PUNCH. Ajiboye said, “The surge in the population of school children, and the increase in the number of schools in Nigeria, both government and private, present a complex challenge for the education system. “The availability and quality of qualified teachers are crucial factors in ensuring students receive quality education. However, the shortage of qualified teachers is a concerning issue in Nigeria for several reasons.” He explained that with a growing population of school children and insufficient recruitment of new teachers, the teacher-pupil ratio in many schools had become unfavourable. The data from the NUT revealed that states such as Abia, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kogi, Ogun, Plateau, Rivers, Taraba, and Zamfara failed to conduct recruitment between 2018 and 2022. The data also revealed that only the FCT, Lagos, and Katsina conducted recruitment during the period under review. However, Niger State recruited 186 teachers in 2022 according to the data, while Akwa Ibom recruited 3,500 teachers in 2018, and 1,000 in 2022. Teacher shortages concerning – TCN The National President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mr Titus Amba, also expressed concern about the shortage of teachers, adding that many governors ignored the advice of the union, which pleaded that retired teachers should be replaced with new ones. In an interview with Sunday PUNCH, Amba said, “Recruitment of teachers lies in the hands of the state governments. A significant number of teachers have left the service, and till now, there is no plan to replace them.” Why Bayelsa did not employ teachers Findings by our correspondent revealed that the Bayelsa State Government did not employ teachers from 2018 to 2022 due to an embargo placed on the employment of civil servants by former Governor Seriake Dickson. At that time, the state government reportedly said the public service was bloated, adding that the monthly wage bill was too high. Sunday PUNCH also gathered that some unofficial employments were conducted into the public service in the final weeks of the Dickson administration. However, it was unclear if teachers were among those engaged. Our correspondent’s findings, however, revealed that during the first tenure of the incumbent governor, Douye Diri, the embargo was lifted, and 2,000 teachers were employed to teach in primary and secondary schools across the state. Efforts to speak with the Commissioner for Education, Gentle Emelah, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Information, Orientation and Strategy, Ebiowou Koku-Obiyal, proved abortive as they were said to be on official engagements. However, an impeccable source at the state’s Ministry of Information, Orientation and Strategy told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that people who studied Education were among those employed in the last days of the Dickson administration. Another source at the Ministry of Education, who did not want his name in print, said the employment of teachers suffered a setback due to the undue influence of politicians. He stated that if everything had gone according to plan, the employment of teachers would have been done since October 2023. Kano recruits 5,632 teachers – Commissioner Meanwhile, the Kano State Government says it has offered full-time employment to 5,632 voluntary teachers who were under the Better Education Service Delivery for All programme. The state Commissioner of Education, Alhaji Umar Doguwa, disclosed this in a telephone interview with Sunday PUNCH. Doguwa, who spoke through the Public Relations Officer of the state Ministry of Education, Balarabe Kiru, said the Governor, Abba Yusuf, recently approved the conversion of BESDA teachers to permanent and pensionable appointments. “The state government has offered full-time employment to 5,632 teachers previously working under temporary arrangements. “The BESDA teachers, who have been working as voluntary teachers, were being paid a monthly allowance by an international NGO since the tenure of the past administration. However, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf decided to give them full employment,” he said. He also stated that the state government had paid the outstanding allowances of N450m owed by the state government for the services the BESDA teachers had rendered in the past. “The governor has also approved the recruitment of an additional 10,000 teachers with intensified efforts for the continuous periodic training and retraining of teachers,” he added. Ogun recruited 5,000 teachers – Commissioner When contacted by our correspondent, the Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Prof Abayomi Arigbabu, said that Governor Dapo Abiodun’s administration had recruited 5,000 teachers into primary, secondary, and technical colleges in the state since he took office in 2019. Arigbabu said, “From 2019 to date, the government has recruited 1,700 primary school teachers, 3,000 secondary school teachers, and 300 teachers into our technical colleges.” ‘Plateau plans teachers’ recruitment’ The Plateau State Government says it is planning to recruit new primary and secondary school teachers. The State Chairman of SUPEB, Sunday Manu, disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent in Jos. He said that the board had already submitted a report to the 17 local government chairmen across the state, and was awaiting approval before commencing the recruitment exercise. When asked why there had been no recruitment of teachers in the state since 2018, Manu said, “I don’t know the reason. I was only appointed into office about a year ago, so I can only account for the period I have been in office. If you ask me why we have not done any recruitment in the past year, I will tell you that it is because the verification we started on the needs in those schools has not been concluded. However, the process is ongoing. “This morning, we submitted our report to the LGA chairmen on what should be done. We are waiting for their approval, and I can tell you that as soon as that is done, the recruitment of new teachers will begin.” Gombe refutes NUT’s claim However, speaking with Sunday PUNCH, the Gombe State Commissioner for Education, Dr Aishatu Maigari, insisted that the state recruited teachers in 2018 and 2022. Maigari stated this while reacting to the NUT’s statement in Gombe. She said, “Gombe recruited 1,000 teachers in 2022, and converted over 200 Local Education Authority teachers to state government workers. Also, in 2018, teachers were recruited.” ‘Zamfara did not recruit teachers for four years’ The Zamfara State Government, however, confirmed that it did not recruit teachers in the last four years. Speaking with Sunday PUNCH, the Commissioner of Information, Alhaji Manir Haidara, said the state government under the leadership of Governor Dauda Lawal inherited the problem from the former Governor, Bello Mattawalle. According to the commissioner, the former governor did not recruit teachers during his tenure, and he also did not promote any teacher to the next grade during his four-year tenure. He added that Governor Lawal’s administration had announced a state of emergency on education, noting that more teachers would soon be recruited. He added that others who had not been promoted would receive their promotion soon. Haidara said, “We inherited problems in all sectors, especially in education where teachers have not been promoted for many years. Based on this, Governor Lawal has directed the state Ministry of Education to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the number of teachers in both primary and secondary schools. After the exercise, more teachers will be recruited, and those teachers who have been on the same level for many years will be promoted.” ‘Nasarawa has employed over 10,000 teachers’ Also responding, the Nasarawa State government says it has employed no fewer than 10,000 teachers for primary and secondary schools to enhance manpower in the education sector of the state. The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdullahi Sule on Public Affairs, Peter Ahemba, while speaking with our correspondent in Lafia, said that apart from the over 10,000 teachers recruited for both primary and secondary schools, an unspecified number of lecturers had also been employed in tertiary institutions in the state. He said, “Concerning the employment of teachers in primary and secondary schools in Nasarawa State, the story has been very positive. When Governor Sule came on board in 2019, he met a category of teachers called ‘engaged staff’ by the previous administration, about 1,500 of them. He immediately gave them permanent and pensionable jobs. “He further announced the recruitment of 2,000 teachers who also received permanent jobs. After a while, an additional 2,500 secondary school teachers were employed by the state government to ensure that we have sufficient teachers in the state. “As I speak with you now, we have just concluded the recruitment exercise of 4,700 teachers for our primary schools. Very soon, the names of the successful candidates will be released, and they will be issued their appointment letters, and posted to their various primary schools to enhance manpower at that level of education.”

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