Dr. Stephen Odey, Chairman of the Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, has revealed that over 758 teachers who used fake certificates to gain employment into the service were uncovered during a recent screening by the board across the state alongside 700 ghost teachers.
In the course of the exercise, a Head Teacher was on Grade Level 13 was demoted to the post of a gateman on Grade Level 04, while 758 others were sent to lower grade levels.
“We got a lot of petitions from stakeholders intimating us about the presence of teachers in the system who are using fake certificates and we had to embark on a screening of the teachers across the state and what we saw was marvelous.”
According to Dr. Odey, the fake certificates have been seized from their owners.
He further said that even though no disciplinary measures, besides demotions and suspensions, would be applied on the culprits, measures have been put in place to see to it that recruitment into the state teaching service is entirely free from malpractices and fake certificate syndrome as in the past.
“If we sacked all the teachers with fake certificates, the crime rate in the state will increase and also the governor of the state believes that there should be food on the table of everyone in the state.
“So we had to mete out justice with mercy by only demoting them, which is quite traumatising”, he lamented.
Speaking further, Mr. Odey disclosed that those with genuine certificates are being promoted, while some who were employed as security men and caregivers, but have acquired additional qualifications, have been redeployed as class teachers.
This is not the first time an incident of this sort is happening in the education system of Nigeria.
In 2012, CITC, a firm of consultants recruited by the government of Ogun state to carry out an audit of all its teachers discovered that about 800 public school teachers in the state used fake certificates to secure their employment.
The state Commissioner for Education and Technology at the time, Segun Odubela, who made the revelation said;
“An alarming number of teachers have been discovered not only to possess fake certificates but also engaged in various irregularities with which they were offered jobs in the public schools throughout the 20 Local Government Areas of the state.”
The commissioner said apart from the 800 that may have used fake certificates, another 223 teachers did not show up for the screening.
“A total of 223 teachers failed to show up for the screening process, even as some hurriedly resigned. Also, cases of 21 birth certificate forgeries were detected just as a case of a teacher who gave four differing dates of birth, including one that showed that he would have commenced primary school four years before his birth were discovered”, he added.