Delta community where a teacher teaches all classes, subjects

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Daugeregha Primary School, Igoba community

…I teach students in absence of textbooks – teacher

By Abai Francis

Igoba Federated Community in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, is one of the many riverine communities facing neglect of not only educational facilities but the dearth of teachers, a situation that has forced the community members to engage just one teacher to teach pupils from primary one to six.

On visiting the only school in the community, Daugeregha Primary School, founded in 1955 with a current population of 64 pupils, GbaramatuVoice noticed that the lack of teachers resulted in the grouping of the pupils into three classrooms of primary one and two, three and four, and five and six, with the teacher teaching both classes in a group at the same time.

It was also noticed that most classrooms were spacious for lack of desks and chairs. The students also lacked learning materials such as textbooks. In addition, some of the windows and doors were falling off their hinges.

According to Unuero Rita, the teacher, who spoke to GbaramatuVoice, “I’m not a government employed teacher; I’m a teacher engaged by the community. But the government employed teachers that we have here are five in numbers. One of the teachers left since on Saturday (October 13), and the Headmaster (HM) left last week Thursday (October 11).

“The first time they brought me here, they said I’m to take the lower classes, which are primary one and two. But gradually, I took note that the teachers that the government employed were not on ground, so I take all the classes,” she added.

On some of the challenges facing the pupils, she said the lack of textbooks made her to improvise on teaching the pupils, as she also lamented the absence of enough chairs and safe walk way for the students.

“What we are passing through here that is really affecting us is the lack of textbooks. We have no textbooks. The things I have been teaching them was the former things I have taught in my former school before coming here.

“Look at the time now, we are supposed to be on break; I just have to delay them so they can meet up before midterm break. Because according to the headmaster, he’s coming back after midterm break, so I need to teach some things before he comes back. “Also, the walk way is very bad as students usually fall down on their way to school. In addition, we lack chairs and you can see the windows and doors are already falling off,” she concluded.

Speaking on the issue, the community chairman, Mr John Telemone said the problem had been with them for a long time as he pleaded  with the relevant authorities to swing into action to solve the problem once and for all.

“It is education that attracts development to a community, likewise roads, power, and other things. Currently, we have five government employed teachers and one the community’s payroll.

“Some years back, sometimes in a full term you will not see any teacher. That is why the community brought in a teacher. Two years ago, we only had one teacher. Now, this headmaster was the one that brought other teachers. But presently, I cannot say we have teachers because at times in a full term some teachers only come around to teach for two weeks and then disappear.

“This community does not have oil wells unlike some other communities in the kingdom and so they do not give us much regard. We need teachers to help teach our children so that they can grow up and develop our community. We are appealing to the state government to give us more teachers, and to also provide us with concrete jetties and other basic infrastructure,” he pleaded.

When GbaramatuVoice contacted the Headmaster, Mr Peter Olori, on why teachers haven’t resumed, he explained that he met the situation of lack of teachers on ground but he was able to mobilize three more teachers to join the single teacher, stressing that the new teachers were yet to resume as they had to get some of their belongings. However, he assured that the teachers would likely resume after the midterm break.

In addition, he lamented the problem of accommodation for the teachers, while also hinting that the indigenes themselves have done much by getting some materials to fix the teachers’ quarters.

“What is happening is that I have just been transferred there and I have been there for the past five weeks. Only one teacher was in the school. Now, some teachers have been transferred and they will resume the first week after the midterm break. Three of them have just been transferred there.

“Accommodation for the teachers is another thing but the community is tackling them little by little. The community is doing their best. I will make sure that what I met there is not going to be the same. I will ensure that things improve gradually.”

When GbaramatuVoice contacted the Chief Inspector of Education (CIE) in the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Warri South West Local Government Area, Mrs Okerie Christy, she said one of the challenges facing her is the issue of transport to properly monitor teachers assigned to schools in the riverine areas.

“You know the challenge I have in my office is this. You know these communities they are far and I can’t be able to charter boat to go. If any community drops boat for me, I am ready to go anywhere. I wanted to even do inspection but the money to go round is the problem. No one naira is given to my office by the government. So most times it is through telephone I can talk to the headmasters.

“And being that we are not the one doing the transfer, I don’t know who is where. It is when they tell me. So you should talk to the LEA Secretary, he is the one that is in charge. Most times it is Ogbe-Ijoh, Nifor that I can frequent, almost every day. But the ones in the interior, I don’t even know where to pass to get there,” she lamented.

Speaking to the Secretary of the Local Education Authority (LEA), Mr. Godspower Uyabiribinde, he said the issue of lack of teachers had been resolved with the number of teachers newly assigned to the school.

“You see, you people should constantly be reporting this issue. The headmaster came to my office and I asked him and he said everything is in order. If the teachers are not going to work, the community people should be reporting regularly. Four teachers are enough to handle the school. I have done my part but I will call the headmaster to order,” he concluded.

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