Prospect of early resumption for next academic session in public schools in Edo State is threatened, as the State Wing of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), has issued a three-week ultimatum to the government to meet certain demands or face strike.
The teachers’ demand are contained in a communique issued after its enlarged state executive council meeting in Benin City, signed by Fidelis Oigbochie and Moni Itua, chairman and secretary of NUT respectively, and executive leadership of its affiliate members.
They accused the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), of denying teachers who participated in a training program (EDO BEST) in 2018 and 2019, their stipends, despite budgetary provisions for the training by the government.
The union also decried the nonpayment of Primary School Teachers in Oredo and Uhunmwode local governments of their 2013, 2014 and 2015 promotion arrears by SUBEB.
The NUT members also bemoaned the non release of N60 million subvention for 2018/2019 third term to schools, as approved by the state government, a situation they said has forced heads of schools and teachers to procure instructional materials from their personal pockets.
Other contention by the teachers include an alleged plan by SUBEB to introduce competency test as measure to appoint heads of schools in the state, in contravention of an existing legal suit at the National Industrial Court, Enugu.
They lamented that the recent retirements from service, public primary and secondary schools have further suffered shortage of personnel.
According to them, “the leadership of SUBEB [under Dr. Joan Oviawe], has assumed the dimension of dictatorship and a sole administrator veiled with brazen intellectual and managerial arrogance, gross insensitivity to the plight of teachers and now uses intimidation as weapon to coerce teachers to do it’s biddings.”
To this end, the Union demanded that “all public primary schools substantive heads or acting heads and teachers should disregard any form of threat, either by SUBEB leadership, as well as agents and privies of the Board.”
It also warned it members to shun the re-evaluation (competency test) exercise for head teachers and prospective head teachers of public primary schools.
“The exercise is a mischief making one and an affront on the teaching profession in our state as well as a ploy to reintroduce competency test in the education sector,” the statement said.