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Cross River state announces shortage of 20,000 teachers in public schools

Cross River State, in the South-South region of Nigeria, has announced it has a deficit of 20,000 teachers in its public school system.

The Education Commissioner in Cross River, Sen. Stephen Odey announced this during a press briefing in Calabar, where he revealed that the administration under Sen. Bassey Otu has initiated extensive teacher hiring to fill this void.

However, he mentioned that due to financial constraints, the recruitment process would occur in stages.

Additionally, the commissioner highlighted various reforms underway to rejuvenate the educational landscape in the state.

What he said

Odey expressed a strong commitment to overhauling the education sector comprehensively, aiming to set Cross River as a benchmark in the educational field among other states. He mentioned that a proposal was pending before the governor to start employing 6,000 teachers.

  • “We are determined to reform the sector holistically because we want to make Cross River a reference point in the education sector amongst the comity of states.
  • “There is already a memo before the governor for us to start with the employment of 6,000 teachers.
  • “We discovered that many schools, especially in the rural area, had only two teachers and this is not how we intend to be the best in the country.
  • “The money the government paid as a fee for West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) for students in the state will amount to nothing without teachers to teach them”, he said.

Odey stated that teacher recruitment would focus on local areas, given the state’s limited funds for special rural allowances.

Regarding WAEC fee payments, Odey refuted claims of a padded 16,301-name list, explaining that it was incomplete because late-submitting schools were omitted.

  • “The only issue that arose from the list was that we found out that some names were duplicated during compilation which brought the figure to about 16,287 students.
  • “Even at that, we had students from about 20 schools that were not included because of late submission; for instance, particular schooling in Boki had over a thousand students not included.
  • “For the avoidance of doubt, those principals that were found not to have been diligent in their duty have been sanctioned.
  • “About 37 of them are in this category and are going to be demoted to the classrooms,” he said.

The Commissioner further said part of the reform is to ensure uniformity in the school system in the state as well as go after illegal schools.

On school uniformity, he explained that upon taking office, he found that schools throughout the state, including both public and private institutions, were following different academic calendars. He stated that they have largely managed to standardize these calendars and are continuing efforts to achieve complete compliance across the state.

  • “Upon resumption in office, I discovered that schools across the state, both public and private, operate different school calendars.
  • “We have been able to streamline this to a large extent and still working to ensure all-around complaint across the state,” he explained.

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