Apparently learning from the electoral misfortune of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has soft-pedalled on the planned competency test for teachers in the state.
He has also recalled the 936 teachers suspended from the payroll over certificate discrepancies and age falsification.
In addition, the governor announced the immediate extention of the relativity pay to teachers in the state public schools.
Making the announcements today, Oshiomhole during a meeting with the teachers unions and the Nigeria Labour Congress said:
“On assumption of office, it was very clear to me and my colleagues that our future is defined by the level of investment in education and the quality of the basic education we provide for our children and that is why we have devoted resources to the rebuilding of our Primary Schools, Junior and Senior Secondary Schools.
“For me, it was clear coming from my own background, I had obligation to restore dignity to the educational sector in the state. Basic Education is like the foundation of a house. If the foundation is weak, the building will collapse but if the foundation be strong, it will withstand the test of time. It is easier to re roof than to re build a complete house”
The need to ensure the future of the state is not compromised by compromising the future of the Edo child necessitated the action to redefine the educational system in the state. State Government’s commitment to carry out competency test was informed by these broad facts having discovered that some of our teachers were not qualified or up to date with recent teaching methods. Our insistence on the fact that competency test must be seen in this light.
“However, having listened to all suggestions and consultations with various groups, Government has agreed to set aside the Competency or Assessment test in order to re assure Edo workers that government has no intention to sack anyone.”
The Governor said in place of the competency test, Government will introduce training and re-training for teachers and all others civil servants in the State, promising that welfare package will be provided during the training exercise.
According to him, “On the teachers with falsified age declaration with criminal intentions to cheat, government has resolved to pardon them and retire those whose records show that they are above 60 years while those below 60 years are to return to the classroom with their names returned to the payroll and will benefit from the training programme.
“Following investigation, the alleged Ghost Workers in Ovia North East Local Government Area who have been found to have actually been on ground will have their two months pending salary paid. I will discuss with the Local Government Chairman on how to effect their payments.”
Responding, the trio of the leadership of organised labour, NLC, TUC, and NUT expressed thanks to the Comrade Governor adding that the prolonged crisis faced by leadership of the organised labour as it affects teachers and workers in the state will now be a thing of the past.
They promised to continually give their full support and allegiance to the administration of the Comrade Governor stressing that teachers in the state will now sleep with both eyes closed.