From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has suspended the appointment of 100 newly employed teachers in the state due to economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor directed immediate refund of money paid by successful candidates in the recruitment exercise conducted by the State Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM).
Chairman of TESCOM, Mr Babatunde Abegunde, who made this known in Ado- Ekiti on Friday said the directive was due to the commitment of the governor to the general welfare of the people in the state and the need not to make new entrants into the public service suffer unduly.
Abegunde explained that monies to be refunded covered those paid by the candidates for the purchase of the Teaching Service Manual, Service Record and Job Cards among others during the documentation stage.
He said that contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the state government was very fair in the recruitment exercise, but regretted that the pandemic and the attendant economic downturn, as well as the ENDSARS protest stalled the process.
Abegunde recalled that the commission commenced the process by mid-2020, adding that the target could not be met because of the lockdown and other effects of the global pandemic and other reasons.
He explained that TESCOM projected the recruitment exercise which consisted of both written examination and interviews in phases for administrative and economic convenience.
According to him, the process of appointing the first batch of 400 teachers started in October, 2019 and was concluded in November, 2020.
He added that the process for recruiting the second batch of 100 teachers commenced immediately after the first set of appointees were posted to schools with the invitation of shortlisted candidates for documentation.
Abegunde explained further that the materials such as Teaching Service Manual, Service Record and Job Cards among others that the successful candidates purchased during the documentation exercise would remain their property.
The TESCOM chairman said that letters of appointment would have been issued immediately after documentation, stressing that it was however not feasible the reasons stated above.
He stressed that the governor would not subscribe to employing workers that the state would not be able to promptly pay their salaries.
He, however, assured that the recruitment process would continue as soon as the state finances improved, to accommodate new entrants into its workforce.