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Foundation Moves To End Teachers Absenteeism In Public Schools

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A Non-Governmental organisation, (NGO) Wadata Media & Advocacy Centre (WAMAC) has organised Town Hall meeting with relevant stakeholders to address the issues teachers absenteeism in various public schools and other forms of corruption in Ebonyi State.

The group is working with the support of MacArthur Foundation. The foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.

The WAMAC Executive Director, Mr. Zubair Abdurra’uf Idris, said this while addressing the stakeholders during the Town Hall meeting, held in Abakaliki the State Capital.

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Mr Zubair said the interface between WAMAC and communities with the support from MacArthur Foundation in the fight against corruption and the promotion of Good Governance had the theme: “Teacher Absenteeism In Ebonyi State’s Public Schools: Roles of Communities in addressing the menace.”

According to him, “the project is specifically designed to create awareness and also dig into issues of alleged corruptions through Investigative Journalism reporting to mitigate on the endemic corruption in Nigeria.”

He said; “The choice of the theme was based on our team and partner radio station, Radio Nigeria, Unity Fm, Abakiliki’s results of investigative reports on corruption on the attitudes of some teachers collecting monthly salaries without going into classrooms to teach. The investigations prompted the State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) to step up monitoring and supervision of schools in all the local government areas in Ebonyi State.This attitudes of absenteeism is another twins to corruption issues at the grassroots or third tier of government.

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“Lack of accountability, misconduct and mistrust among citizens and their leaders whether politicians or traditional institutions has generated a lot of hardship, hunger, diseases and further insecurity in the country today. Multi-dimensional poverty in Nigeria has turned people to throng to the streets carrying placards for lack of basic necessities and hunger. Despite all these protests only few governments roll out palliative measures to ameliorate the suffering of the masses.”

“Our members of the legislative arm of ‘government both at the state and national level despite the economic meltdown are still conducting themselves in a flamboyant lifestyle that outstrip their earnings. These behaviors in the midst of economic reality have no doubt stimulated anger and disobedience by the larger society,”Zubair explained.

He said; “In the last five years, Wadata Media and Advocacy Centre (WAMAC) with the support of McArthur Foundation based in Chicago (USA) has embarked on advocacy through investigative reporting and programmes on alleged corruption and accountability and the promotion of Good Governance in partnership with 12 radio stations across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, in local languages. Today, we are here in Abakiliki, and our host and indeed partner radio station, radio Nigeria, Unity FM 101.5, Abakiliki has been producing investigative reports in their programme in local languages of lgbo and Pidgin.”

Zubair urged various communities to own the fight against corruption and demand for accountability from political leaders. In the same vein, communities and community leaders are expected to take the lead of sensitizing their respective domain on corruption and hold themselves accountable.

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“The task of fighting Corruption is not limited to anti-corruption bodies alone, civil societies as well as community organizations and individuals have greater role to play to minimize the cankerworm of corruption, either we do it or we perish.

“We, therefore, urge community leaders and Non-Governmental Organization’s (NGOs) to cooperate with these journalists in the production of investigative reports on the fight against corruption.

“Community members and radio listeners will be engaged in anti-corruption dialogue and discourse to achieve maximum result. While communities are obliged to own the fight against corruption. Equally, we urge the public, journalists and CSOs to make use of the Fol Act which ensures participatory democracy, promotion of Transparency and Accountability in the affairs of government.”

Let us join hands to fight and reduce the menace of corruption. This task is not limited to anti-Corruption agencies, we too can make the change to the ugly narratives for the benefit of the future generation,” Zubair added.

The State Director, National Orientation Agency NOA, Mr Theophilus Nwokpo said Government who own the public schools should inaugurate taskforce to ensure that the teachers come to teach, in order to avoid paying someone who is not working.

The Representative from Nigeria Police, Mr Uchenna Onugu urged the government to fix some of the structures in the public schools to a befitting one and as well make their remuneration enticing.

The Guest Lecturer from Ebonyi State College of Education Ikwo, Mr Gregory Esheye said the teachers’ absenteeism is worse in the rural areas.

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Esheye noted that absenteeism is a form of corruption and as well a sign of dissatisfaction from the work.

He urged the government to solve the physiological, Psychological and behavioural problems.

The President, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, Mr Emmanuel Chukwu urged students to always be in class to encourage teachers to teachers.

The Secretary of Universal Basic Education Board UBEB, Dr Livinus Ezeuwa, Mr Henry Nworie and Mr Haruna Aja commended Governor Francis Nwifuru commended for fixing the education sector in the state.

The Chairman of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Mr Moses Ogodoalinome said the Absenteeism would be curtailed by returning to table payment instead of e-payments, advocating for proper monitoring and supervision.

Students from Urban Model Secondary Schools, Amiara Christian and Abakaliki High school, Vivian Nwokporo urged Government to recruit more teachers as they don’t have teachers in various subjects.

The Town Hall meeting called for an Education Summit in the State.

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