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Cross River needs over 20,000 teachers to address manpower shortage, says commissioner

Stephen Odey, commissioner for education in Cross River, says over 20,000 teachers are required to address the shortage of teaching staff in public schools across the state.

Odey, who spoke in Calabar, the state capital, on Tuesday, said the Bassey Otu-led administration would embark on “massive” employment of teachers to bridge the gap.

He said the employment would be carried out in phases due to a paucity of funds.

The commissioner said there are several ongoing reforms to revamp the education sector in the state.

“We are determined to reform the sector holistically because we want to make Cross River a reference point in the education sector,” NAN quoted Odey as saying.

“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.

“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.”

Odey said priority would be given to the employment of teachers in their catchment areas, noting that the state is not buoyant enough to pay peculiar allowances to those in rural areas.

On the payment of the WAEC fee, Odey dispelled the rumour that a list of 16,301 beneficiaries being used by the state was padded.

“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,” he added.

“Even at that, we had students from about 20 schools that were not included because of late submission.”

The commissioner said part of the education reform in Cross River is to ensure uniformity in the school system.

He said the state ministry of education is also looking to go after illegal schools.

“Upon resumption in office, I discovered that schools across the state, both public and private, operate different school calendars,” he said.

“We have been able to streamline this to a large extent and work to ensure all-around complaint across the state.”

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