Paul Osuyi, Asaba
About 208 principals in Delta State-owned secondary schools are billed to retire before the end of the year, thereby, creating additional vacancies in the civil service.
But, Daily Sun learnt that the development may lead to administrative crisis in some schools within the state’s education sector, as the state government seems not to be in hurry to fill the impending voids.
Addressing newsmen, yesterday, in Asaba, during the ongoing ministerial briefing, Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, confirmed the development.
Ebie said the administration came on board in 2015, and was confronted with an over-bloated work force which it has been trying hard to stabilise.
Last week, Secretary to the State Government, Ovie Festus Agas, said various measures put in place to sanitise the civil service were yielding fruits, as the work force has been reduced from over 65,000 to 45,000.
Ebie, while responding to questions from newsmen, confirmed that, “208 principals are retiring this year. There is a large number of retirement. You must also appreciate what we met on ground in the civil service, when we came on board in 2015.
“We met an over-bloated work force. So, we are working hard to stabilise the situation. The state wage bill was over N7.5 billion monthly, and this was taking a huge toll on the state finances because of the recession. There is no point recruiting teachers when we have not finished dealing with the situation, in terms of huge wage bill.
“But, there is a stop gap measure. We are engaging ad-hoc approach, which includes deploying teachers recruited from the Federal Government N-Power scheme; youth corps members and teachers from Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC),” Ebie explained.
On the issue of truancy, Ebie said the abolition of Edu Marshal has not increased the problem and insisted that the anti-truancy task force was structurally defective.
Edu Marshal was initiated by the immediate past administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, to ensure students and pupils are off the streets during school hours.
On achievements of the ministry since 2015, Ebie said the administration places high premium on technical and vocation studies, noting that over N2.5 billion has been injected into the sub-sector to develop infrastructure, refurbish and supply equipment to the six technical colleges across the state.