Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye, Benin
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Edo State wing, yesterday, rejected plans by the state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to carry out competency test for headteachers and prospective headteachers in public primary schools in the state. describing it as unacceptable.
The Union in a statement jointly signed by the state chairman, Pius Okhueleigbe and Assistant Secretary General, Mike Itua, described the plan as unacceptable and threatened to resist any attempt by Edo SUBEB to post junior officers to head schools over and above their colleagues.
“SUBEB under the leadership of Dr. Joan Oviawe has surreptitiously devised a competency test mechanism for the determination of who becomes a head of school in Edo State in contravention of an existing legal suit No. NICN/AK/10/2014 in the case of Nigeria Union of Teachers vs Edo State Government and 7 others instituted at the National Industrial Court, Enugu; and the established service practice of Headship by Seniority”, the Union said.
It called on well meaning citizens of the state to prevail on the leadership of SUBEB to desist from the plan, alleging that the plan is aimed at inflicting injuries on the excellent relationship that exists between the state government and teachers in the state.
The Union in its resolution at the end of an enlarged meeting, asked all public primary schools substantive heads or acting heads and teachers to disregard any form of threat either from SUBEB leadership, agents and privies of the board.
“All our members should braze up and be prepared for further action as may be deemed necessary and directed by the union should the relevant government board and agent refuse to positively address the issues raised in this communiqué not later than 5th September, 2019. School heads and acting heads are advised to continue to carry out their lawful assignments and must not handover to anybody as illegally directed by SUBEB.
“That the union would resist any attempt by Edo SUBEB to post junior officers to head schools over and above their colleagues as headship should be strictly on seniority”.
The NUT accused the leadership of Edo SUBEB of assuming the dimension of dictatorship and sole administrator veiled with brazen intellectual and managerial arrogance, gross insensitivity to the plight of teachers, alleging that the agency now uses intimidation as a weapon to coerce teachers to do its bidings.
It disclosed that the primary school teachers and their heads are still responsible for the provision of instructional materials like chalk, markers, diaries and others in the day-to-day teaching and learning that take place in all public primary schools in the state in spite of the fact that the executive Chairman of SUBEB announced the approval of N60 million as termly subvention to schools since April, of which no dime has been released to schools till now.
Besides, the Union contended that by denying primary school teachers in Oredo and Uhunmwode local government areas of the payment of their 2013 to 2015 promotion arrears, Edo SUBEB has refused to live up to one of its responsibilities.
In a related development, the Association of Primary School Head Teachers of Nigeria (AOPSHON), has advised the Edo State SUBEB not to continue with the planned exercise in order to allow the prevailing peace in the education sector to continue to thrive.
In a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Fidis Oigbochie and Secretary, Aigberomwan Agho, the Association said it remain resolute with the earlier decisions of the state wing executive council of NUT.
“We wish to inform all primary school teachers and head teachers in Edo State that the proposed 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 education sector”, the statement said.