By Ikeugonna Eleke
Schools in Anambra on Monday resumed without students, causing teachers in various schools in the state to protest the rationale behind government mandating them to come to school without their students.
The state had directed schools to resume last Monday with only teachers, while students and pupils are to resume on 1st February.
A visit to schools across the state however showed that there was poor attendance by the teachers, while those who came protested what they called government’s wickedness towards them.
At Iyiagu Primary School, Fides observed that at 12pm on Monday, teachers had quickly locked up their offices and left, but at Igwebuike Grammar School, Awka, some of the teachers who were still in their offices sat idly and chatted away with colleagues.
Fides also visited St John of God Secondary School and National High School, both in Awka, where even though it was close to 4pm, the teachers were still seen in their classes, though sitting idly too.
Most of the teachers said it was useless for government to ask them to come to school without their students. When reminded that the idea was for them to come and prepare the school for students to be able to observe the COVID-19 protocol, the teachers said that had been done in the previous session.
The teachers from different schools who spoke on condition of anonymity, especially from public schools, complained that the Anambra State Government was yet to pay them their leave allowances for last year, and despite the harsh economic condition, government wanted them to be spending scarce resources to come to school to sit idly.
The principal of one of the schools visited in the capital city of Awka, who opted to speak anonymously, said, ‘Okay, we are in school now, what will we be doing here? We do not deal with files; our job is to impact students with knowledge. So, what are we doing here without our students?
‘This policy by the Anambra State Government is wicked. We have not been paid our leave allowances, yet they want us to spend money to come to school every day to sit idly. They should ask the students to join us. The students they are keeping away from school are either in the market or in other places where they can still contract COVID-19. It is better for them to be in school here, or is government trying to tell us that COVID-19 only lives in schools?’
Another teacher at Igwebuike Grammar School, Awka, told Fides that bringing teachers to school without students was meaningless.
‘Most of the teachers did not obey the instruction to resume today, and the ones who came have all left. What will they be doing here?’ she queried.
Prof Omenugha, Commissioner for Education, while reacting, said she had received reports that compliance to school resumption order was high. She however could not say what could be achieved by bringing teachers to school without students as she cut off her phone.
‘I can tell you that the compliance was very high. We have received reports to this effect. That is what I can say for now,’ she quipped.