Teacher’s Impasse Will Soon Be Over — Kogi SUBEB

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Disturbed by their prolonged stay at home as a result of the six-month old strike by their teachers, the pupils in the public primary and junior secondary schools in Kogi State and their parents have appealed to the state government to wade into the crisis between the striking teachers and the state Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) for normalcy to return to schools.

They said the continuous staying at home of the pupils when they are supposed to be in schools was already having grave consequences not only on the students and their parents but also on the society and the future of the state.

It will be recalled that the teachers from primary to junior secondary schools across the 21 local government council areas have boycotted classrooms since six months ago over what they called non-payment of their accumulated salary arrears and allowances.

The development has since paralysed academic activities in all the affected schools and subjected the pupils to idleness while some are engaging in menial jobs.

One of them, a primary five pupil, Ibrahim Bala, who now hawks groundnut on the street told National Mirror that he wished to go back to school and continue with his studies rather than selling groundnut.

Similarly, a parent, Mallam Gimba Adamu whose children attend Kabawa Primary School, Lokoja decried the development, saying it is becoming unbearable for many parents to continue feeding their children day-in, day-out without doing anything positively.

He used the medium to call on the government to pay the teachers so that they would be able to return to their duty posts.

Some of the striking teachers who spoke to National Mirror over the matter explained that the government does not give due regard to teachers, especially about their plights and that such treatment can no longer be tolerated by them.

According to one of them who preferred to remain anonymous, “apart from the fact that teachers are subjected to irregular payment of salaries, there is also a wide margin between our salaries and other civil servants across cadres in the state.”

He argued that both teachers and their counterparts in other ministries and departments who have started enjoying minimum wage go to the same market to buy things and that traders would not ask for a teacher to sell at a lesser price.

However, the teachers under the umbrella of Basic Education Staff Association of Nigeria (BESAN) have vowed not to return to classrooms until their demands are fully met. In a statement signed by their Chairman, Mr. Suleiman Adomu, they argued that their grievances preceded the outbreak of Ebola virus in the country and the government should therefore not use that as an excuse for their returning to classrooms.

While maintaining that the devastating effects of infrastructural decay and the unresolved issues of their welfare have made nonsense of basic education in the state, they directed their over 1,500 members to remain at home until further notice.

But the Chairman of Interim Committee of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Stephen Akwu said that the government was looking into a way of resolving the issue permanently.

He explained that the paucity of funds in the hand of the local government councils which control basic education coupled with the overloaded bill as a result of ‘ghost workers’ were the reasons for the delay in the payment of the salaries and allowances.

He however pointed out that the matter would soon be resolved while appealing to the teachers to resume in the interest of the pupils who are at the receiving end.

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