By Ime Silas
Ongoing spotlight on education sector in Akwa Ibom state by The Profile Newspaper has further revealed allegedly, that it became worst during the current administration of His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.
Our last series which focused on the West Itam Secondary School, opposite NNPC filling Station, Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo, divulged how the school, with over four thousand (4,000) students, has only four (4) Mathematics teachers.
Since the beginning of the series, school principals, teachers, as well as indigenes residing within and outside the state, have expressed their disappointments, blaming the rots in the state’s education sector on the governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.
One of our respondents, a teacher, who preferred not to be mentioned in this report regretted that the education sector in Akwa Ibom has “…collapsed, irredeemably”, under the incumbent administration.
He cited non-employment of teachers as one of the many causes of the collapse, decrying what he termed as “insensitive refusal of Gov. Udom to employ teachers…” to take over from the retiring ones.
Our respondent, a teacher at the Community Secondary Commercial School, Ikot Nte, Etinan local government area, said “…at times I sit down and wonder whether we still have a government in this state. I can’t imagine that a sector as critically important as education could be ignored to this extent. This is worst, ever.
“I read a report recently that a school in Uyo (West Itam Secondary School) has just four Mathematics teachers for over four thousand students. I think theirs is even better because my school is worse”.
Asked what could be responsible for the shortage in number of teachers in the state, he continued “Everyday, our teachers are retiring. Some have, unfortunately, died. Some have switched from teaching, and so forth. But the state government is not doing anything to ensure replacements.
“The last time the state government attempted to employ teachers, they were either ill-advised or they ignored advice, or both. They wanted to employ five thousand teachers at once; that was wrong. Although the exercise was marred by irregularities and controversies and that number were never employed. Even if they had employed them, it will still not help because they all would retire same time”
He called on the state government to consider employing more teachers based on advice from stakeholders in the sector.
When our correspondent visited the State Ministry of Education for clarification on the alleged shortfall of workforce, the newly appointed Commissioner for Education, Dr. (Mrs.) Enobong Mbobo was said to be having inaugural consultations with the top echelon of her ministry.