Bayelsa State Government says it feels the pains of teachers in the state and that it remains committed to assuaging the plight of its workers.
The state Commissioner of Education Elder MarksonFefegha stated this in a meeting with the leadership of the state branch of Nigeria Union of Teachers in his office in Yenagoa.Assuring the teachers that the Governor will not renege on his promises, the Education
Commissioner said the Governor has set up a high powered committee headed by his Chief of Staff, HonourableTalfordOngolo to wade into the primary school teachers’ demands and called on the teachers to call off their strike.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Local Government Pastor (Mrs) Agatha Goma expressed
dissatisfaction that teachers went on strike even after a resolution was reached between them and the government barely two weeks ago.
She stated that the payment of primary school teachers is the responsibility of the Local Government Authority but problem arose in payment because the monthly allocations to the local government were not enough to pay workers’ salaries.
She disclosed that January salaries for local government workers had already been remitted to various council accounts since last week.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation Honourable Jonathan Oboebite who was also present at the meeting said a time frame had been given in an earlier meeting with the NUT to handle their grievances. He described the strike action embarked upon by the teachers as a breach of contract.
He however reiterated that it was a misplaced demand for the primary school teachers to ask the state government to pay them their arrears since it was the responsibility of the local government authorities to pay primary school teachers. The state government, he said can only intervene to augment the efforts of the local government authorities.
Restating their demands, the state Chairman of NUT Comrade Kala-amaTonpre bemoaned the plight of teachers in the state. He said the NUT is a pressure group and will continue to fight for the right of its members.
The NUT requested the Commissioners to prevail on the Governor to make a definite pronouncement to make the teachers go back to school.
Meanwhile a two-day workshop on payroll preparation is being organized for Headmasters of public primary schools in the state.
The workshop which is jointly organized by the state Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Local Government is intended to keep the head teachers abreast with the technicalities of voucher preparation in order to minimize payroll fraud in the state.
About 547 Headmasters across the state and treasurers of various local government councils in the state are participating in the two-day workshop which ends on Wednesday.
Commissioners of Education, Local Government, and that of Information who all spoke at the opening charged participants to take the training seriously as it will mark a new beginning in the administration of primary school system in the state.
They expressed optimism that the training will yield positive results as it did with the post primary school system.