The Chairman of the Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Alhaji Isah Adamu, has decried the low standard of education among primary and Junior Secondary School pupils in the state, saying recent findings have shown that some primary six pupils cannot read and write.
In a chat with newsmen in Minna on Tuesday, Adamu blamed the development on lack of seriousness on the part of the pupils, inadequate and proper supervision, idleness and truancy on the part of some pupils and teachers.
He disclosed that some teachers, especially those outside the state capital, have cultivated the habit of not coming to work except at the end of the month when they will show up for their salaries.
He said a recent visit to a local government area showed that as many as 21 teachers have not been reporting for duty for months yet evidence showed that they have been collecting
“We have to discipline these teachers by summarily dismissing them. The traditional ruler in the affected area supported our action because he believes the action of the teachers is a disservice to the community,” he said.
Similarly, Adamu said some education secretaries have been reprimanded for not being diligent in their duties, adding that some of them have been given the last warning else they will be removed from the position.
The chairman defended the non-payment “for some time” the 3,000 teachers recruited early in the year, pointing out that the Board discovered that some of them had secured jobs elsewhere “yet they want to be drawing salaries from the state”.
“We started paying them last month, we will continue to pay them this month but after verification that they are not engaged elsewhere,” he said.
Adamu said the Board cannot operate a three-stream system as being proposed by the Federal Ministry of Education for the reopening of schools in the country, insisting that: “We can only accommodate two streams.
“We cannot make these young ones to come to school in the night. It is dangerous, we cannot endanger the lives of our children.”
He proposed that the schools should be broken into two with each half attending classes for two months, while the other half will follow suit by so doing.
“We can have a maximum of 20 pupils in a class, but they will all go through the same syllabus and write the same examination.
“The schools can reopen if this my proposal is adopted. In Niger State, we are ready for the reopening of schools but on condition that the safety of teachers and pupils are taken into account,” he said.
Adamu called for a stakeholders’ meeting to iron out the grey areas in the proposed sending of the Almajiri in the country to conventional schools.
“There are many issues that have to be considered before the implementation of this policy. We should not just jump into it, we need to do a through home work and planning,” he said.