AHEAD of a new academic session in September, the Delta State Government has put necessary machinery in motion to effect a mass transfer of teachers in public schools.
According to the Commissioner for Education (Basic and Secondary), Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, the exercise which is coming on the heels of a similar one involving the mass transfer/deployment of principals of secondary schools in the state, is aimed at checking the imbalance in the number of teachers in the rural and urban areas and, also, ensuring an equitable distribution of teachers in public schools in the state.
We commend the state government for identifying the obvious and insidious imbalance in the public school system and mustering the political will to address it.
Over the years, government’s well-thought out policies in education have not yielded the desired results at the grassroot, because the ultimate implementers, teachers, who ought to drive them at that level, are largely concentrated in the urban areas, leaving the schools in the hitherlands, particularly riverine communities largely unmanned.
Sadly, too, some or few teachers who operate in these rural areas are either guilty of absenteeism or lackluster approach to their jobs due to poor supervision.
In the light of the above, we suggest that the government’s laudable move to ensure equitable distribution of teachers in public schools across the state should be holistic. For this to be achieved, each school, irrespective of location, should have enough teachers to drive government’s educational policies at that level. A situation where some schools in the cities, particularly the capital, are over-filled with teachers which is disproportionate wih the number in rural schools as they hardly have enough hands, is unhealth for the growth of the school system.
Again, there is the urgent need to re-invigorate the Inspectorate Department of the Ministry of Education to monitor and supervise the compliance of postings. No doubt, some high-heeled teachers are wont to resist postings to rural areas, preferring the urban setting for obvious reasons. But with an active and functional inspectorate, the ministry would be able to ensure that such teachers either comply with the postings which the commissioner says will begin in September or be shown the way out of service. After all, they had signed an undertaking to serve in any part of the state at the time they were being engaged.
One of the ways that government can make postings to rural communities attractive is to introduce special allowances by way of incentives and motivation for teachers serving in such areas, especially the riverine communities.
For a state government that is clearly ahead of others in terms of investment in the education sector, having human capital development as one of its care programmes and religiously committed to the even and equitable development of every part of the state, the proposed mass transfer of teachers is considered appropriate, needful and long overdue.
Just like the deployment of principals which took place recently, Deltans expect that the exercise would give no room for sacred cows and favouritism. Only then would it achieve its purpose: addressing the imbalance in the number of teachers in the rural and urban areas.