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EBONYI STATE GOVERNMENT VOWS TO DEAL WITH ABSENTEE TEACHERS   

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EBONYI STATE GOVERNMENT VOWS TO DEAL WITH ABSENTEE TEACHERS                                                                     22-02-24

By Sadiq Aminu                                                    It is widely said that the foundation of education is at the primary and secondary levels and the epicenter of education is the teacher.

In the words of Campos and Pradhan, “teachers are the transmitters of knowledge who ensure that children learn.”

However, a significant problem affecting learning in Ebonyi State is the problem of absentee teachers.

Investigation shows that in Ebonyi State, there have been recurring allegations of teachers who absent themselves from duty especially in some government owned primary and secondary schools.

This set of teachers, mainly in rural schools, not only short-change the pupils and students, who they are supposed to teach, but also defraud the government by collecting salaries and not working to justify the payments.

Following the allegation, Africa 247 visited two schools in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and the observations confirmed that some teachers do not go to school.

One of them is Community Junior Secondary School Nkalagu, which has a total of eighteen teachers but a look at the time book reveals that the highest attendance they had recorded since the new term commenced on January 8, 2024 is nine teachers on a particular day but with an average attendance of five per day.

It was a similar scenario at Community Junior Secondary School Umuhali, which has a total of eight teachers but at the time Africa 247 visited, not all the teachers were in school, including the Principal who was said to be coming from nearby Enugu State.

One of the teachers we met, also tried to give reasons for the absence of some of his colleagues at the time of the visit, but later acknowledged that some of the teachers, particularly the English teacher seemed to have absconded from duty.

“As it is now, we have no English teacher. We have not seen the teacher for one year now and it is the Principal that should explain better.

It is the Igbo teacher that helps to teach the students English language,” the teacher said anonymously.

When Africa 247 approached the Executive Secretary, Ishielu Local Education Authority, Mr. Walter Ebeh, he affirmed that some teachers under his watch had poor attendance to work but said the issue would be addressed.

“We have issued a lot of queries because of what they have been doing. This time around, I have told them that it is not business as usual.

“We are going to stop the salaries of people that fail to go to work, those that abscond from duty; we can’t habour ghost workers,” he said.

Also, when contacted, the Chairman, Ishielu Local Government Area, Dr. John Onwe, who described absenteeism of teachers as corruption, said he had directed the Education Secretary to compile a list of such teachers for disciplinary action.

“Most of the complaints are that the teachers don’t come to work. I have directed the LEA Secretary to go to that place and look at the register and then, I will take it from there because he is the only one that can forward the report to me and based on the report, I will act,” the Chairman said.

In an interview, the Secretary, Ebonyi State Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), Dr. Livinus Ezeuwa, said he would direct the Education Secretaries of the Local Government to furnish him with the list of the affected teachers with an assurance that they would be disciplined strictly in line with the service rule.

“We will also use service rule to deal with them. Some we may drop from heading schools; some we may prevent from taking their salaries because they didn’t work for it; some we may deny what they may think is their entitlement for failure to work,” the UBEB Executive Secretary threatened.

Dr. Ezeuwa further denied the allegation that some of the absentee teachers give gratification to top members of the State Universal Basic Education Board, to remain untouchable.

He said if such happened, it was in the past as the leadership of the present board had zero tolerance for corrupt practices.

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