31 per cent of the state’s teachers are not qualified.
About 800 public school teachers in Ogun State used fake certificates to secure their employment, the Commissioner for Education and Technology, Segun Odubela, said in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Thursday.
Mr. Odubela said the state carried out an audit of all its teachers during which they were asked to come along with their certificates.
“An alarming number of teachers have been discovered not only to possess fake certificates but also engaged in various irregularities with which they were offered jobs in the public schools throughout the 20 Local Government Areas of the state,” Mr. Odubela emphasised.
Apart of the 800 that may have used fake certificates, another 223 teachers did not show up for the screening, the commissioner said. He said the fate of the affected teachers will be determined by the government on Monday.
“A total of 223 teachers failed to show up for the screening process, even as some hurriedly resigned,” the commissioner said. “Also, cases of 21 birth certificate forgeries were detected just as a case of a teacher who gave four differing dates of birth, including one that showed that he would have commenced primary school four years before his birth were discovered.”
He explained that the submission of the final report of the series of verification exercises carried out by the state government to identify unqualified and unscrupulous teachers in its public schools will on Monday be made by CITC, a firm of consultants recruited to carry out the exercise.
The commissioner explained that the exercise is in line with the government’s commitment to a truly affordable qualitative education, started in September, and aimed at tackling what appears to be an age-old problem that affects the future of an estimated 450 thousand students in its public schools.
Another 6 thousand not qualified
The commissioner also said an official of the state’s basic education board disclosed that of the 19, 146 teachers on its payroll, only 69 percent were able to prove their eligibility to teach during the verification exercise.
“The remaining 31 percent (5, 935 teachers) could not be confirmed. The latter category had presented statements of results and or letters of attestation, some of which were clear forgeries.
“These worrying statistics, which were unearthed during an exercise which was initially expected to be just for two weeks across only ten locations in the state had caused the state government to commission a secondary review which entailed contacting the institutions directly to confirm those who had indeed graduated as claimed,” he added.
He explained that, the review, which is being rounded off at the Abeokuta Grammar School caused the consultants to directly contact over 62 universities and colleges as far as Gombe, Ilorin, Abuja and Kaduna to confirm the validity of attestation letters and statements of results presented by the teachers.
“In one case, a list of 620 purported graduates from a single institution resulted in just 484 confirmations. This means that 136 teachers had presented dubious documents. Some were listed as ‘not known’ at the institutions whose letters of attestation they had submitted, (the letters) were identified as forgeries.
‘There is the case of a teacher who admitted amid tears, that in desperation, she paid N30, 000 to secure a forged certificate,” the commissioner said.
Culprits hide from verification
Mr. Odubela added further that many of the teachers with suspicious documents, knowing that their game is up, did not present themselves for the secondary screening.
“Some have stopped attending their respective schools for fear of arrest whilst others have already resigned,” he said.
The commissioner said the exercise is “about quality assurance of our human capital. All our investments to provide affordable quality education will only yield result if we have well qualified and motivated teachers in our classrooms”.
The Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Mufutau Ajibola, said the exercise will add impetus to the concerted efforts by the state government to rebuild the decayed education sector.
In his reaction, Sam Idowu, the state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) said the union is in support the government’s effort to sanitise the teaching profession, describing those who did not turn up for the screening as those who have been giving the profession a bad name.