From Aniekan Aniekan, Calabar

Cross River State Education Commissioner Dr Stephen Odey says the state needs at least 20,000 teachers in its public schools.

Dr. Odey disclosed this in his office while speaking on efforts undertaken by the present administration to reform the education sector of the state.

He said to fill this gap, the ministry has decided to employ the teachers in phases commencing with 6,000 teachers and a memo is presently before the governor in this regard.

“We need at least 20,000 teachers to get it right in this sector.

“After spending over N400 million naira to pay WAEC fees and you have no Physics or Maths teacher what are you expecting?

“That’s why we requested the employment of 6,000 teachers during the first phase of employment”, he said.

He said to boost the morale of the teachers his ministry has sought the approval of the governor for the promotion of teachers.

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Dr Odey also debunked the alleged padding of names in the list of Cross River State indigenes to benefit from the WAEC fees payment by the State government.

Rejecting the allegation, he said “I debunk in totality that the WAEC list was padded.

“The list was not padded and will never be padded under my watch. This position was given to me in trust otherwise I will not accept the offer to be a commissioner”, he said.

He said some principals failed to meet the stipulated guidelines for submitting names to the ministry in this regard and are presently facing disciplinary actions.

He also said schools that failed to meet the deadline for submitting their students will not be accommodated and their principals will also face sanctions.

On other reforms undertaken by the ministry, he said there was no uniformity in the school system in the state and the ministry has issued a circular to foster uniformity and schools are now 90% compliant.

He also disclosed that the government will no longer encourage unlimited tenure for school principals and will henceforth ensure there is a term limit for principals in the state in line with what obtains at the federal level.

Dr. Odey also said illegal schools exist in the state and the ministry will soon go after them as there are conditions for establishing and managing schools in the state.