Abia and the Encumbrances of paying teachers' salaries

By Nwokoma Izuchukwu on 28/07/2017

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The level of reckless abandon with which Secondary School teachers in Abia State are treated has reached an alarming proportion. Seven months and still counting; two consecutive terms and no salary for motivation? 

Gone are the days when teaching was greeted with pomp and pageantry; enthusiasm and excitement, the days when teachers would gladly go to work and be on their desks before the start of teaching proper.

This is the last week of 2016/2017 school session and most teachers are yet to cover week three scheme of work. Yet, exams have been written. From which scheme were the questions manufactured, one wishes to ask?

On one of my visits to a venue where Secondary Schools were having one of their numerous “screening exercises”, I discovered that teachers are no longer motivated to continue in the vocation they gladly chose.

In an interview with Ukamaka Ebere, Chinonye Ukadike and Jacinta Uzoreji all teachers in Aba, they expressed anger, worry, frustration and disillusionment over the way they are treated in the State, they noted that the lackadaisical attitude to classes exhibited by teachers lately is a result of the unwholesome treatment meted to them by the government of the day, and hinted that in order to make ends meet, some of them now hawk in the market since their husbands cannot provide for the family due to the challenges encountered in the payment of backlog of pension arrears and gratuity.

They lamented that teachers no longer have a pride of place in the state and beyond.

Due to non-commitment of the government to clear backlog of salaries, the popular contribution that helped civil servants of old and teachers offset their bills has died a natural death. One is then forced to ask: what actually is the offence of Secondary School teachers in Abia State considering that other civil servants in the state are treated much fairly?

Despite the late payment of salaries, government still slashes when it is eventually paid without any reasons proffered. That has become a recurring decimal.

Image result for ikpeazu and teachersImage result for ikpeazu and teachersA class room Teacher and Abia state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

Education has gradually collapsed in the state. Abia can no longer boast of a safe landing and cannot compete favourably in academic matters with other States because teachers no longer have the moral capacity and financial wherewithal to impart knowledge.

In as much as the economic downturn in the country may have contributed to this nonpayment of secondary school teachers’ salaries, it should not be used as an excuse after all there are states in the country that pay salaries of workers with relative ease.

The system of sharing of cheques among teachers is not only an aberration, but a cajole of the School system as seen in the case of primary school teachers. How can officials of Government call names and issue cheques amidst commotion among teachers who deserve their wages? What happened to their account details? Indeed terrible things happen in Abia State.

A visit to Southeast States of Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi would reveal that there are good economic policies on ground to cushion the effect of the economic recession, while also acknowledging that their IGR's are properly accounted for. 

If States like Anambra and Ebonyi could pay salaries of teachers as and when due as well as embark on radical infrastructural development, then Abians need to ask some hard questions on  the place of Secondary School teachers in the State and the quality of education an hungry and angry teacher is expected to impart.

Faces of teachers in the on-going screening exercise at Abayi Girls Secondary School Aba depict dejection, humiliation, frustration, anguish, anger, total disillusionment and resignation to fate.

Suffice it to say that if our leaders and those at the helm of affairs were not properly tutored by these ones they so neglect today, would they have occupied these enviable positions let alone trample on the rights and privileges of Secondary School teachers? 

A word is enough for the wise.

 

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on July, 28 2017

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