Gombe — Despite Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo's effort in repositioning the educational sector in Gombe state with the employment of 1000 teachers every year and a popular slogan of the governor that education is the first, second and third priority of his administration, crisis of shortage of teaching staff.
This was contained in a request for teachers submitted to the governor by Yakubu Mohammed, recently in Birin Fulani area of Nafada local government area during the governor's constituency tour to the local government.
Mohammed said since the establishment of the school in 1980 as a community secondary school and ist subsequent takeover by government in 2005, the school has been under-staffed with only the principal as the Head and some people who volunteered to teach free of charge.
A senior secondary school with a population of 306 students has only three classrooms and is made up of 104 students in SS-1, 98 in SS-2 and 104 in SS-3.
According to the principal of the School, Mr. Maxwell Manga, the major problem of the school is that of inadequate and qualified staff. He said four staffers, two HND and two NCE holders are seconded to the school from Nafada local government area while the school also relies much on six National Youth Corp members who are posted to the school yearly.
Adding that, only he and one other are staff from the State Ministry of Education while the two persons who volunteered to teach in the school have gone for their National Youth Service scheme. He said however, that whenever they are around, the school enjoys the service of the two volunteers.
Manga said that since his assumption of duty as principal in the school on 4th October, 2012, the only staff from the ministry of education, Adamu Abubakar, has not been available. He said the record of Adamu was not in his handing over note but that when he asked his other colleagues; he got confirmation that Adamu was a staff.
He stated further that Adamu came once during staff verification, complained of sickness and never returned up to the time of writing this report, the principal lamented.
He said he had made several efforts to get more teachers from the state Ministry of Education but none of such efforts yielded any tangible results. According to him, when he complained in the early part of December 2012, he was even given a form to fill with a promise to get the teachers. Up till now, no one was sent to the school even with a follow up he made earlier this January, there is no remedy in sight.
Adamu Bappa, who is a staff of Local Education Authority on secondment to the school who doubles as a teacher and vice principal of the school, said since the establishment of the school in 1980 the school, has been under- staffed.
Bappa said they have written severally to the Gombe state ministry of education requesting for additional teaching staff, adding that in some cases the ministry responded to such request by sending youth service corps members.
The vice principal further stated that there are staff that are posted to the school but refused to show up and some would report and disappear.
Babawuro Biri Usman,a community leader, said the school had gone through a lot of ups and down since its establishment as a community school in 1982 and its subsequent taking over by the state government eight years ago.
He said through communal efforts, the community in 2011 and 2012 built one classroom and a hall for examinations in addition to the one block of two classrooms built by the state government long time ago. He commended the community for supporting the school and for making all efforts despite government neglect to ensuring that their wards and children go to school at all cost.
Usman said that, the community is currently working on another effort of building a science laboratory so that the school will be made a comprehensive secondary school.
Adding that cannot be possible unless there is a science laboratory and that is why "very soon, God's willing, we will have the laboratory.
He however lamented the lack of teachers in the school but expressed happiness over the interest of the students and parents in learning stressing that, "I can tell you that in all the rural villages in Nafada local government area, we are among the most serious people pursuing western education."
According to one of the students, Isah Adamu, the students are happy with the efforts of the corp members posted to the school, because of the open door policy and their positive interests towards the students. He said that they go to them whenever they have problems concerning academics or general moral advice.
He also expressed the wish of the students in having permanent teachers that could stay with them for longer time, adding that over 75 percent of children in the area are interested in going to school.
Some of the corp members who bared their minds on the situation in the school called for more attention to be given to the school by the government, especially the need for more teachers and learning materials.
Godwin Adey said he had to bring some of his textbooks from home to be able to help his students. While calling for better welfare for them and structures in the school, they said they are more or less offering humanitarian services for their father land.
On the performance of the students in external exams, the principal lamented the poor results of the students stating however that NECO results were better than the WAEC in last years' examinations. He said, "We had some passes in Mathematics with a few students having three, four or five credits in the NECO exams but WAEC was generally poor."
On their students gaining admission into tertiary institutions, he said though he could not be precise with their numbers and where they are admitted, but he said that few got admission into FCE (T) Gombe and School of Health Technology Kaltungo.
Education has been, and will continue to be the bedrock of any meaningful development. Realization of this important sector must have informed the setting up of a committee by Governor Dankwambo.
On assumption of office two years ago the inaugurated a very powerful Assessment Committee, comprising of sons and daughters of Gombe origin, to among other things find a way of addressing the failing standards of education in the state. And the committee has done an excellent job, and submitted very sound recommendations to the government which centred around raising standards, up grading facilities, provision of man power and encouraging both parents and students on education in the state.
On July 5, the Committee, headed by Prof. Abdulsalam Sambo, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, submitted its report to the state government, with findings that portrays an educational system that is in "great deterioration physically, intellectually and morally,c he said.
Sambo however said the problem in the state's education system began at the primary school level, where only 16,000 teachers were available to teach over 153,000 pupils enrolled. Of this number, 9,400 out of the teachers were unqualified, going by the national standard, adding: "Worse still, 3,783 of the unqualified teachers did not pass their secondary school examinations."
"The damage done to the psyche of the children by these unqualified teachers is simply unquantifiable. The result is that the school system produces children, who become social misfits, hooligans and thugs," he lamented.