Governor Hope Uzodimma has told primary school teachers in Imo State that he shares in the challenges they face in the course of discharging their duties and assured them that together they will get the problems out of the way.
The Governor spoke weekend at a meeting he had with heads of primary schools, their teachers and staff of State Primary Education Board in Imo State, at the Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu Square in Owerri to find a lasting solution to the problems plaguing the sector.
The meeting was also an opportunity for the teachers and staff of IMSUBEB in the State to carry out their data and physical verification to enable the government implement reliable payment of salary, increment in salary, promotion and general welfare structure for the primary school teachers.
While addressing the teachers, Governor Uzodimma acknowledged that they needed to be properly paid and on time too, as well as being motivated by government, but regretted that the pupils who are on the receiving end of the teachers services are not getting quality education because of the attitude of their teachers.
Governor Uzodimma therefore promised to breach the gap by ensuring that the teachers are properly motivated with the provision of teaching materials, promoted as at when due among others as soon as the data verification is in place.
He urged all the teachers to submit themselves for the verification and assist the government to get rid of ghost teachers collecting salaries they do not deserve.
He promised that genuine teachers will continue to receive their pay and that with the verification, those who have been left out in the past two years will be paid, even their arrears, after confirmation of their proper verification.
Governor Uzodimma used the occasion to inform the teachers that government has decided to introduce the Clock-in and Clock-out System in the primary schools and offices as a way of monitoring truancy and commitment among the teachers.
The Governor emphasized that his administration is poised to make public schools better than private schools hence his determination to encourage the teachers and to provide them with teaching aids for proper teaching and learning.
Governor Uzodimma said he will not play politics with schools and education generally in Imo State because “the children are the future of the State, the politics of the APC, PDP or any other Party should not be there problem, we must give them the best they deserve.”
He reiterated that he has come to correct the bad state of things he met on ground on assumption of office which include: providing light, water, good roads and accessible healthcare facilities as indices of prosperity.
He said the ideology of his administration is based on the fear of God, aimed at making the people happy. “I will be happy when my people are happy and this is my mission and angry when they are angry.”
Governor Uzodimma assured the teachers that the verification will guide his government on how to raise their pay as a way of mitigating the hardship everyone goes through in the State and the country at large.
“Your problem is my problem and your happiness is my happiness. I have come to serve you and I will serve you well. And by the Grace of God the Egyptians you saw yesterday you will see them no more today.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Sylvester Okorondu, said the meeting was meant for data and physical verification capture for the teachers and staff of IMSUBEB aimed at ensuring that the State has “the right teachers in our schools so that they will enjoy smooth transition from salary payment of teachers to pensions payments when they retire.”
He informed that the exercise will go a long way in removing ghost teachers from the payroll of government “as government is making efforts to ensure that her teachers are made comfortable through prompt payment of salaries, procurement of teaching materials as well as sufficient books for schools in the State.”
In her address at the occasion, the Executive Chairman of Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB), Her Excellency, Dr. Ada Okwuonu, thanked the Governor for assisting IMSUBEB to wear a new look.
She said the Governor provided them with funds that made it possible for the establishment to come back to life through the restoration power supply, water supply and renovation of the entire structures and offices of the Board.
She also applauded the Governor for providing education materials to all schools including private ones in the State.
She informed that under Governor Uzodimma, the State Government will soon commission nine ICT Centres in the three zones of the State for digital and E-Learning of Imo children, and acknowledged that the Governor had continuously approved counterpart funds to attract external funding from UBEC to Imo State.
The Chairman however appealed to the Governor to have compassion on genuine teachers who have been omitted in the salary payment for the past two years and bring them in and accommodate them in the monthly salary payment of the State.
The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, the Chief of Staff, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie, and other top government functionaries joined the Governor in supervising the verification.