Twenty-two states have not recruited teachers for primary or secondary schools in the last five to 10 years, data from the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) have shown.
The figures showed that some states last recruited primary and secondary school teachers in 2002.
For example, Taraba, Niger, Adamawa, Ondo, Ogun and Delta states last held teachers recruitment for primary and secondary schools in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010. Other states where teacher recruitment has not taken place for over five years include Benue (2008), for primary and secondary; Nasarawa (2010), primary school; Bayelsa (2012); Ebonyi (2012); Rivers (2013), primary and secondary and Oyo (2014).
The last recruitment of teachers for primary and secondary schools in Kogi was in 2011, the data showed. NUT National President Muhammed Idris said the union was not happy with this development, adding that classrooms in most states were almost empty.
Idris said the inability of some states to recruit teachers could create additional workload for the few on the ground, create overcrowded classrooms and lead to poor academic performance among the pupils.The union leader also said the poor treatment of teachers in the country may result to Nigeria not meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on education. Idris said: “We teachers have so many problems. We always tell government to address these problems so that Nigerian teachers will be happy. But, honestly, our teachers are not happy. That is why we insist on the extension of years of service for Nigerian teachers.
“In most states, our classrooms are almost empty. About 22 states have not recruited teachers for four to five years and teachers are retiring by the day. That is our main concern. “You will go to classrooms and you will see almost 70 pupils inside without a teacher. Most of the states are running away from the cost of employing teachers. “The remaining teachers on the ground are manning the schools. One teacher will attend three classes in a day. You will go to class five, four to do your work.”
The NUT president decried the poor conditions of teachers in some states. According to him, this would impart negatively on the quality of education in the country. “There is also the challenge of infrastructural decay in most of our schools. Our teachers teach under the shades. There are no classrooms; even in places where there are classrooms, there are no tables and chairs. How do you expect them to improve their productivity?
“Our teachers are ready to teach but the government is demoralising us. Majority of state governments are demoralising us as far as this profession is concerned. That is why we said let them address these issues and recruit more teachers to manage these schools,” Idris said.