Delta State’s Ijaw communities have protested a teacher shortage in their community schools, urging Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to absorb community teachers as soon as possible.
Protesters carrying placards with various inscriptions barricaded the Government House gate, urging the government to integrate community teachers into the state workforce.
Mr Ganagana Francis, President of the Ijaw Elite Forum, spoke on behalf of the protesters, stating that the peaceful demonstration was held to establish educational standards in riverine communities.
Ganagana bemoaned the scarcity of teaching staff in riverine communities, claiming that while most urban schools had over 130 teachers, only a principal and a teacher could be seen in riverine communities.
He called on the government to employ the community teachers that were being paid by the PTA in order to improve the standard of education in the areas.
Other representatives of the various concerned riverine communities who spoke at the protest said many schools in the riverine areas do not have more than two or three teachers who were employed by the state government.
The representatives include; chairman of Tamigbe community, Mr. Stephen Akameyai; the chairman of Esanma community in the Bomadi Local Government Area, Barr. Theophilus Omoro and their counterpart in charge of Bulu-Elebiri community, Patani LGA, Derek Edih.
“We are calling on the state government to consider our community teachers and ensure they are incorporated into the state workforce.
“For the state government to impact positively on the children of riverine communities in the area of driving its educational policy, government needed to employ the community teachers, since they understood the terrain much better,” the representatives said.
Addressing the protesters, the state Chairman of Post-Primary Education Board, Mrs. Christiana Etaluku, said she had already informed the State Governor on the importance of considering community teachers in the recruitment exercise.
She assured the community that the board would intensify monitoring of teachers in riverine areas as part of strategy to ensure that teachers in the areas took their job seriously.