The Ijaw communities in Delta State have protested the shortage of teachers in their community schools, calling on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to as a matter of urgency absorb community teachers.
The protesters who carried placards of different inscriptions barricaded the Government House’s gate and urged the government to incorporate the community teachers into the state workforce
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the President of Ijaw Elite Forum, Mr Ganagana Francis, stated that the reason for the peaceful demonstration was to set the educational standards in riverine communities.
Ganagana decried the dearth of teaching staff in riverine communities, saying that in most schools in urban areas there were over 130 teachers in a school but only a principal and a teacher could be seen in riverine areas.
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.